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9 Screencastify Tips and Tricks Every Teacher Should Apply

Whether you’re a teacher, an employer, or a trainer, you can use Screencastify to create instructional videos. Screencastify is a versatile screen-recording tool that you can use in several things—be it in school, work, or family. 

Screencastify has been incredibly helpful during these times, where most countries implement distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators use Screencastify to provide step-by-step instructions, show math solutions, and so much more. 

If you haven’t used this tool yet, don’t worry. It’s as easy as pie! 

Below, we listed our 9 favorite Screencastify tips and tricks every teacher should apply. But first, why choose Screencastify?

[Interesting: 10 User-Friendly Tools That Low Tech And No Tech Teachers Can Use]

Why Use Screencastify

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Teaching in an online setting, while feasible, is not entirely as easy as doing it in a face-to-face setting. Communication gaps are highly likely to happen, and when they do, the recipients might not fully understand the instructions you give.

Screencastify is an excellent tool that lets you record what’s on your screen and, at the same time, narrate the actions you take. The great thing about it is that you can record your screen, voice, and webcam simultaneously. 

Screencastify is a Chrome extension, meaning if you use Google Chrome as your browser, you can access it easily while browsing. And after recording your video, this tool allows you to upload it directly on YouTube. 

This tool helps teachers and educators save time when giving directions. And because the instructions are being narrated, it makes learning more fun and interactive. 

[Related: Low Tech Assistive Technology: 21 Tools All Teachers Must Use]

9 Screencastify Tips and Tricks for Teachers

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Image source: Chrome Store

Create an outline

There’s no faster way to lose your audience than to go back and forth with your thoughts and repeating the things you say. So keep your audience engaged in your video by narrating your ideas and instructions smoothly and properly. Creating an outline will help you do just that. 

An outline helps you organize your thoughts. By making a script, you help your audience to understand the instructions or the goals of the video. 

Tell your viewers what you will cover

Before you dive into your presentation, it’s best to give your audience an idea of what they will learn in your recording. This will orient your viewers, so they’ll know what they will be listening to. 

If you don’t do this, your viewers will not know where you’re going or what they will learn in the video. Eventually, they might drift away. 

[Must Read: Student Learning Outcomes: Why You’re Not Achieving Them Well Online]

Close other tabs and apps

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When recording, make sure to exit all the other apps or tabs you won’t need. By doing this, you free up computer processing power and remove things on your screen that might distract you or your audience. 

Only record the things that you need. If all your needed content is in one tab, you don’t need to record the entire desktop.

Use the drawing tool wisely

Screencastify is equipped with drawing tools. Use the drawing tools to emphasize key items on your screen. For example, use the pen to circle a specific button or image that you want to highlight. You can change the pen color using the color menu just above the pen icon. 

Use the eraser tool to delete your scribbles. The spotlight tool is another useful tool to draw your viewer’s attention to your pointer. That way, you can show them what exactly they need to see or click. 

If you don’t want the drawing tool showing on your screen, simply click the X button to hide it. Click Alt/Option + T to bring back the toolbar. 

[Read: Defy Online Teaching: Creative Ways To Keep Students Engaged]

Use the Pause button to gather your thoughts

Let’s say you’ve prepared an outline and you’ve rehearsed your recording. But at some point in your presentation, you lost your words, and you need to regather your thoughts. 

The Pause button is a great tool that enables you to pause your recording. It doesn’t stop your video, but what it does is give you time to think of the best words or gather your ideas. Once you’re back on track, you can hit the Resume button to continue your recording.

While you’re at pause, you can also take a quick break, grab a glass of water to keep your mouth hydrated (this is especially important if you’re speaking during recording), or do a pee break.

The Stop button, just beside the Pause button, will officially end your Screencastify recording. 

[Must Read: 15 Resources To Boost Teacher ICT Skills For Better Learning]

Embed your camera

Switching on your camera and embedding it in your Screencastify recording is the best way to make your video more personal and interactive. However, while it is helpful, it can easily be overdone. 

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Take note that your viewers are highly likely to watch your face whenever they see it. So, use the camera wisely. When giving instructions, conclusions, or feedback, express your thoughts with facial expressions and gestures. This is ideal, especially when there isn’t much action going on on your screen. 

However, when you’re currently presenting something on your screen, unnecessary actions may draw your viewer’s attention away.

If you record your browser tab, you can toggle your camera on and off during recording. 

[Interesting: Should Teachers Plan Lessons For Online Classes?]

Keep your Screencastify recording short

The length of your videos impacts your viewership and engagement. And more often than not, lengthy videos don’t get that much engagement, especially when there is no interaction between you and your audience.

Nowadays, our attention spans drop off after two to three minutes. If you’re recording longer Screencastify, we suggest breaking your video into segments. 

Scroll smoothly

Watching someone scroll up and down haphazardly can make you dizzy and disoriented. When recording, it’s best to practice scrolling up and down smoothly. We recommend using tools such as Logitech Smooth Scrolling or SmoothScroll.

Share your Screencastify recording

Screencastify automatically saves your recording on your Google Drive. And from there, you can choose with whom you’d like to share your recording. You can change your share link setting without having to open your Google Drive in another tab.

You may share the link within your organization, to the public, or keep it private. There is also a Share to Classroom option that lets you share your Screencastify recording to your Google Classroom—a feature perfect for teachers. 

If you want to upload your recording on YouTube, click the Publish to YouTube button, and then Screencastify instantly uploads your content. Or, you may also embed your video on your website. Simply select the Get embed code

[Interesting: How To Be More Supportive Of Your Kids With Online Learning]

More Screencastify Tips

Here are more tips that can help you pull off a perfect Screencastify recording.

Drink water

Your mouth will quickly dry when you speak for a long time. And when that happens, your viewers will notice. Yes, they do. So, make sure to drink lots of water before recording. It also helps if you have a flask or glass of water within reach. Use the Pause button every time you need to rehydrate. 

Speak slowly

Speak consciously than you regularly do. We suggest rehearsing your outline before starting your official recording. Record yourself and assess your modulation and speed. 

Remember, we are all inclined to speak faster when we are presenting something. So, speak slowly and practice pausing between sentences. 

Use a high-quality microphone

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You want your audience to hear your instructions clearly. The good news is that you don’t have to invest in expensive microphones. A basic headphone with a built-in microphone will work just fine. Something with a noise-canceling feature is better. Having basic headphones is much better than just using your computer’s built-in mic.

[Must Read: Teachers’ Guide On How To Prepare For Online Teaching In 2020]

Conclusion

Screencastify is a powerful tool for all teachers, instructors, and employers. With it, you can deliver clear step-by-step instructions, feedback, and presentations. Maximize Screencastify by using its toolbars and exploring its features. 

Related Questions

What Screencastify alternatives do you recommend?

Screencastify is a free Chrome extension. But if you want another option, we recommend Screencast-O-Matic. It is a screencast tool and video editor in one. The free version allows you to record up to 10 minutes. The Deluxe version costs $1.65 per month, while the Premier version costs $4 per month.

How long can you record with Screencastify?

The free version allows you to record up to 5 minutes. The good news is that you can record as much as you like, and you can also enjoy all the features. 

Is Screencastify safe?

Yes. Screencastify is a COPPA, FERPA, SOPIPA, and California Education Code 49073.1 compliant and has received full certification from iKeepSafe.org. 

[Must Read: Internet Safety For Students: Teach Your Children About Internet Security]

Do you have any more Screencastify tips?

Have you been using Screencastify? What do you think about it? And what other tips can you share with us? All Digital School has a community of educators. By joining our community, you will get access to our forum where you can share ideas, ask or answer questions, or tell stories.

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