In a recent post we discussed the challenges of running synchronous lessons over video, where the classroom experience would be replicated in real-time as far as possible using webcams and video-conferencing tools. This is possible in a small number of schools that have adopted digital classroom offerings.
Our blog also covers asynchronous learning, where the teacher might post materials to an online platform, for children to access from home at a time that works for them. One of the drawbacks of this approach is how impersonal it could become if all communication was text based. For younger children or those with additional needs, this may especially be the case, and they may not be at the stage where they can independently read a teacher’s posts.
Today’s blog therefore looks at options for recording videos that can be shared with pupils to give a personal touch. The wellbeing of pupils is key at this unprecedented time. Recording a video of yourself saying hello, reading a story, telling a joke, suggesting ideas for fun activities and, of course, setting work will brighten up the day of your pupils and support the wellbeing of your class.
We will be sharing through blogs quick and easy solutions to making and posting videos this week. We have deliberately chosen to share technologies that are intuitive and that all teachers will be able to use no matter how tech savvy they consider themselves to be.
The right solution for schools is often dependent on the technologies used within the school, the equipment available and level of technical experience staff have. With this in mind, we aren’t intending to be prescriptive about the technologies to use but will highlight the technology that provides the easiest solution that anyone can engage with and deliver.
You could just use a phone to video yourself talking. However, depending on the sharing platform you are using and how easy it is to upload from a phone, you may find it easier to record straight to your laptop using the built-in webcam (or a separate webcam if you don’t have one built in or are using a PC.)
Easiest technology to access for all:
One of the easiest ways to record video is with the online Cam-Recorder app. When you launch the website you will be asked to grant access to your camera and microphone, and then you use the simple controls to record your video. This uses the .webm file format, which is used for delivering online videos, and works with Google Classroom, YouTube and other online platforms. In the video below we take you step-by-step through recording a simple video and publishing it to YouTube.
Other user friendly technologies
Screencastify is a Chrome extension that will both record directly from your webcam, or allow you to create screencasts where you record your computer screen whilst providing a voice-over. You will need a Google account to use this extension.
Clicking on this icon for the first time will ask you to log-in with your Google account and will then open a window from which you can select what you want to record. This may be your webcam, a tab in your browser or your desktop. You can also choose to turn your microphone on or off from here.
Having used the Record button to capture your video clip (limited to 5 minutes in the free version), it will automatically save to your Google Drive and you can also export your clip to MP4 and download it to your computer, ready for sharing on your chosen platform / blog. You can also upload directly to Google Classroom or YouTube from within the app.
One of the quickest, simplest ways to record your voice is using an online tool such as the suitably titled Online Voice Recorder. With no software to install it’s as simple as clicking the record button, granting permission to your microphone if requested, and clicking stop when you’ve finished. You can then trim and save your recording, which will be downloaded as an MP3 to your default downloads folder.
If you want something with more editing features, including effects, then Twisted Wave features a freely accessible online recorder (limited to 5 minutes recording). Click on the New Document button to open the recorder/editor and use the File menu to download your recording as an MP3.
If you want even more features and multi-track recording, then the free Audacity software for Windows and Mac is still a favourite of many.
We’ve read about authors offering free videos and recordings of their stories, teachers doing daily recorded readings, even assembly content being planned by pre-recorded video. With these simple tools, you can move beyond the sending of text-based messages and bring personal, multimedia content to your communications.
Further blogs to read