Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2017

Screencastify

Easy screen-recording tool facilitates outside-the-box teaching

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Teachers say (7 Reviews)
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Grades
3-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: This simple browser extension is easy to use and very versatile.

Cons: Only works with Chrome browser and devices.

Bottom Line: If you're able to access a Chrome product, Screencastify lets teachers and kids communicate in new and creative ways.

As with most teaching tools, the success of using Screencastify in a classroom depends on how well teachers harness its potential to match their particular needs. There's a significant amount of support and lots of suggestions for use on the web, both on the developer's own site and through independent reviews and YouTube videos. Teachers may want to explore some of that support to help with their brainstorming for how best to use Screencastify in their classrooms.

There are creative uses for both teachers and kids: Teachers can record themselves to create a flipped classroom, explain difficult concepts, demonstrate an idea, or give kids audio feedback on their work. Kids can use Screencastify to demonstrate what they've learned or how they solved a problem, give presentations, make and read ebooks, or practice reading aloud in a foreign-language class.

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Screencastify is an extension for the Chrome web browser or Chrome devices that records your screen, voice, and more. Both the Chrome browser and the Screencastify extension are free downloads available for all operating systems. To use Screencastify, find its icon in the browser's toolbar and choose among the recording options. Record what you're doing on a single tab in your web browser, record all activity on your screen, or add a video insert to include video of yourself using your webcam. While recording, use the drawing tool to write directly on the screen or the spotlight tool to highlight certain sections.

Completed videos are saved locally in your Screencastify account and can be uploaded to your Google Drive account or YouTube or downloaded to your computer. The free version allows up to 50 recordings, each up to 10 minutes long, per month. The premium paid version has unlimited recording and includes post-recording video-editing tools.

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Screencastify makes screen recording easily accessible for teachers and kids alike. The available tools, recording options, and functionality strike a nice balance between giving options but not going overboard and being confusing. And, as it's a browser extension, so long as users can download Chrome, Screencastify works seamlessly while navigating the web or the computer.

Though the free version does come with some limitations, it still offers enough to make simple short recordings. And if users want to do some post-recording editing -- such as crop portions of the video -- there are other video-editing tools they could use. For light use, teachers can certainly get away with sticking to the basic, free download. However, teachers who foresee making lots of videos or assigning kids to make their own videos may want to look into the premium or organization account options. With this versatile tool, the possibilities for making screen recordings useful for learning are limited mainly by the creativity of the user.

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Overall Rating
5

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

Used well, screencasts can be a fun way to communicate with students and expand the learning environment beyond the classroom.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Learning potential depends on how teachers use this tool to connect with students. Because it's easy to use, Screencastify lends itself well to many contexts.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
5

The developer's support section covers lots of ground to get teachers started. Plus, independently produced videos and tips offer new ideas for how to integrate screencasting into your teaching.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Keith G. , Other
Other
ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Montgomery, AL
5
The quickest & easiest screen recording tool available! A chrome extension that works on PC or Mac! Publish straight to YouTube/Google Drive.

There is no better tool for quickly creating screencasts. The free version allows recordings up to 10 minutes in length, but the paid version is very affordable, less than $20 a year. It is perfect for the creation of Flipped Learning videos, additional tutorials, or great instructions for your centers. You can even opt to have yourself added as a "talking head" (a picture in picture that shows your webcam as a small insert in the corner of what is shown on the screen). It is so easy to use that I have a general rule, as soon as I have to explain something a second time, I record it! How to create a table in Word? Record it! How to log in to your Google Drive? Record it. It really is that easy and, as a teacher or technology coach, it makes you look like a techno-expert.

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