by Lindsay Frankenfeld

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My mission is to help humans make technology work FOR us instead of against us. So here is a walk through of Screencastify, with some tips to ensure the tool is useful for you, then we’ll take a moment to consider how to practice not letting tech consume or hurt us. I focus on technology that is accessible, user friendly, and that is quick to learn. It’s important to me that we use tech tools not simply as a substitute for manual or analog tools like pen and paper. To make tech work FOR us, we can use it to augment, automate, scale, reimagine or transform. Most importantly, let’s use it to help us live our best lives – whether that means giving us more time with loved ones, helping us to reach a broader audience than we imagined possible, growing our businesses so that we become employers and create new jobs, or transforming education so that students are empowered to master content and feel agency in their own learning.

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Screencasting means a video recording of your computer screen. Sometimes it may also include a live video of yourself in the corner, like you see if you are watching this as a Videocast.

There are many screencasting tools out there, and while I’m going to demonstrate Screencastify, you may prefer one of the others like Flipgrid, Loom, Screencast-o-matic or many others. The navigation and general features will still be relevant. It’s about the strategy and purpose as much as it is about the tool itself. For this walkthrough you’ll need to be using a Google Chrome browser.

First, it will save time in the long run if you plan out a basic outline of the screencast. What are your objectives, and what is essential to demonstrate?

Once you have your outline, you might practice once or twice – while recording! Maybe you won’t need to re-record, and you can always delete it. Practicing with the tool is important because it will help you to anticipate any clicks or movements you’ll need to make during the recording. After you have recorded a few you may not need to practice at all.

Next, install the Screencastify chrome extension.

Then, you’ll see it in your browser extensions list, and you can pin it so that it shows up at the top of your browser menu.

Now find the content you want to record, whether it’s a document, a website page, or another application on your computer.

Click the extension, and you’ll see a pop up window. You can choose “browser tab,’ ‘desktop’ (if it is an application other than your browser), or ‘webcam only,’ if you want to simply record yourself speaking. Select the microphone, and whether you’d like your webcam to show up along with any screen (if you are choosing the browser tab or desktop options).

Now pick the application window if you want to show only that in your recording, and click ‘Record.’ Now test it out and talk while you demonstrate on your screen. Try out the pointer and highlighter tools. Press pause at any time, or stop. Then you can save it, or delete and re-record.

Don’t worry about being perfect! Humans aren’t perfect, and you’ll be more relatable if there are a few flaws.

The video will save to your Google Drive, and you can share the link, download the video, or publish to Youtube, and voila – there is your screencast.

Use it for asynchronous (not live) presentations, flipped learning (where the content is presented through a video then the instructor supports students while they practice or apply what they are learning), or casual conversations that may be better expressed through video than by email.

Now let’s take a moment to consider something non-tech. We need to balance our technology use out with time away from screens. So here is my non-tech-tip for this episode: if you find yourself feeling anxious or nervous at any time during the day, take one minute to pause, breathe, and notice how that anxiety or nervousness feels. Let it be there and see what happens when you stop resisting it. It might just dissipate, or if it remains it’s likely to feel less severe once the resistance goes away.