[DISCLOSURE: I am not being paid to promote these products. These are simply products that I have researched and used myself, and I want to share them with you.]
Teaching remotely made all of us learn new tricks and technologies. I daresay that slide presentations with PowerPoint and now Google Slides has become a staple in our classrooms. But teaching from home has required some adaptations. I had to find some other way to use those slides.
There are a number of apps that allow us to add audio to slide presentations. Screencastify, Screencast-o-matic, and Loom are three such apps that integrate well with Google Slides. And now, PearDeck has an audio feature as well. If you are not familiar with PearDeck, it is a Google Slides add-on.
I used Loom for most of my screencasting. They offered at the time I signed up a free Pro for educators. The Pro Plan is $5.00 per month ordinarily. I am not sure if Loom will continue the free educator’s PRO accounts after the pandemic. Still, at $5.00 a month (the cost of a Starbucks venti latte!), it is a good expenditure. It includes the following:
- Screen & cam recording
- Comments & reactions
- Viewer Insights
- Drawing Tool
- Custom Recording Dimensions
In the free BASIC plan, you are limited to 25 videos. Loom videos can be as long as you like. However, general recommendations are that screencasts should be about one minute per grade level. So, my videos for the sixth-grade class should be approximately six minutes or so. Most of my instructional videos were more like ten to fifteen minutes.
Screencastify is probably the most well-known of the screencasting apps for Google Slides. It is a Chrome extension and is easy to add. Like Loom, it comes in both a free version and a paid version. The paid version is $29.00 per year for educators. Schools can also request a quote so that all teachers have access.
The free version has the following features:
- 📹Record screen and webcam
- ✂️Trim your videos
- 💾Autosave to Google Drive
- 👩🏫Share to Google Classroom
- 📤Export as MP4, GIF, and MP3
- 🖥Full HD resolution
- 💧No watermark
- ✏️Annotation tools
- 🔺Publish to YouTube
The drawback to the free version is the videos are limited to approximately five minutes. The paid version has all the features of the free version and the following:
- 🎥Unlimited recording length
- 🔁Merge videos and reorder clips
- 🖼Crop your recordings
- 🔤Add text over clips
- 👋Priority support
At $29.00 per year, this app is a bargain as well.
Screencast-o-matic is another popular screencasting app that adds to Chrome easily with a click and a short setup. There are three “versions”: Free, Deluxe, and Premium. The Deluxe version is $1.65 per month (billed annually), and the Premium is $4.00 per month (also billed annually). The Deluxe version features include
- Advanced recorder and video editing.