Tech Thursday–Screencasting

[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:

BASIC (free)

  • Screen & cam recording
  • Comments & reactions
  • Viewer Insights
  • Drawing Tool
  • Custom Recording Dimensions
  • Calls-to-Action

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.
  •  Easy video editor
  •  Record computer audio
  •  Import narration and music
  •  Scripted recordings
  •  Draw and zoom
  •  Screenshot tool
  •  Create captions with Speech-to-Text
  •  Green Screen Filter

The Premium version adds the following

  •  NEW! Stock Library BETA
  •  Transfer iPhone/iPad & Android Videos to Editor
  •  Secure backup for recordings
  •  Branded ad-free site
  •  Advanced sharing and collaboration
  •  Video playlists using channels
  •  Add password and set visibility
  •  Extra bandwidth

Honestly, each version is good.  I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these three.  All three work well with Google Slides and Google Classroom.  I used Loom simply because I could get the advanced features for free when they offered the advanced versions to educators at the beginning of the pandemic in March.  However, I do have a paid subscription to Screencastify at $29.00, and I do use it.  I have not used Screencast-o-matic.

While I used Loom and screencasting during the pandemic, I see how these apps can create instruction during the school year.  When we give that BIG project to students, we can make a screencast to post in Google Classroom to help students remember when we went over in class.  We can post videos of instruction for those students who have been absent.  My school will be scheduling two “eLearning days,” one per semester, during which students are expected to complete assignments at home.  I will be able to present the lesson on those days for students to access when they choose.

How will you incorporate screencasting apps into your “new” normal instruction in the coming school year?

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