Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Four Tools for Creating Screencasts on Chromebooks - A Comparison

In response to my latest Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week I received a bunch of requests for comparisons of screencasting tools that work on Chromebooks. So yesterday I made three screencast videos using three different screencasting tools. Add that to the one that I made on Friday with another screencast tool and you have four options for creating screencasts on a Chromebook. The four options are Nimbus Screenshot, TechSmith Snagit, CaptureCast, and Screencastify. My comments on each are listed below. The list is ranked according to my preference.

Nimbus Screenshot:
Nimbus Screenshot is my favorite tool on this list because of its ease of installation and it is the only tool on this list that provided a customizable countdown timer. I like the countdown timer because it gives me a few seconds to prepare to start talking over my screencast. The other tools just started recording the second that I hit the record button. Nimbus Screenshot was also the easiest to install and configure on my Chromebook.

Screencasts recorded with Nimbus Screenshot can be saved to your local drive or to an online Nimbus account. I chose to save to my local drive then upload to my YouTube channel. You could also save to your local drive then share to Google Drive or another online storage service.

Take a look at the video I created with Nimbus Screenshot.

TechSmith Snagit:
TechSmith's Snagit tool is a close second to Nimbus Screenshot. The only reason that I ranked it slightly lower is that it takes a bit of reading to understand how all of the features work, but that is to be expected when a tool has lots of options. The advantage of Snagit is that you can save your recordings directly to your Google Drive account or YouTube account. Snagit also benefits from being backed by TechSmith who is arguably the leader in screencasting tool development.

From a recording standpoint, I wish that Snagit would include a countdown timer before I started to record. Check out my screencast made with Snagit for Chrome.

CaptureCast is the tool that I featured in a post last week. I put it on the same level as Snagit. CaptureCast was rather easy to install. Your recording length is unlimited. You can record your webcam while recording your screen which you cannot do with the Nimbus tool or Snagit. Set-up of CaptureCast is easy too. For folks who don't want to use YouTube to share recordings, CaptureCast lets you share directly to a Vimeo account. See my CaptureCast sample in this post.

Screencastify might have the most name recognition in this list, but I like it the least of the four tools in this list. In fact, it's definitely the last one that I'd recommend to new Chromebook users. The set-up process asks a lot questions that could confuse new users. The free version limits recordings to ten minutes and puts a watermark on the recording. I was also not impressed with quality of the video recording. See my Screencastify sample to see the watermark and recording quality.

Come to the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp to take a deep dive into creating videos on Chromebooks. Discounted registration is available through the end of the month.

Monday, April 25, 2016

How to Add Label Clouds to Blogger Blogs

Adding a label cloud or tag cloud to your blog can provide visitors with a convenient way to search for older content within your blog. Rather than scrolling through your archives or performing a keyword search, visitors simply click on a label in the label cloud to find all of the posts related to that label. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to add a label cloud to a Blogger blog.

Applications for Education
If you regularly label your the posts on your classroom blog, your students will thank you for adding a label cloud. When they're reviewing for final exams they will be able to simply click on a label for the topic they're studying and find all of the resources that you posted on that topic. That's much easier than trying to search through the blog archives for the month or day that you posted that handy review guide on the War of 1812 or the Pythagorean theorem.

How to Add Word Art to Google Slides

Google's gallery of fonts provides a lot of style flexibility in Google Slides. Even more flexibility is available if you use the word art options in Google Slides. In the video embedded below I demonstrate the differences between using fonts and word art in Google Slides as well has how to customize your word art.

Learn many more features of Google Slides and ideas for use in your classroom in my online course Getting Going With GAFE. You can even earn graduate credits through the course.

How to Create a Google+ Hangout On Air

Thanks to everyone who joined me last night for the Google+ Hangout on Air about ed tech blogging. I appreciated the questions and comments that came in through Google+ and Twitter during the Hangout. Some people have emailed me asking how I set it up and how I got the recording posted so quickly last night. In the video below I demonstrate how to create a Google+ Hangout on Air. (The volume is a bit loud in this recording so you may want to turn your volume down before you hit play).

Applications for Education
Hosting a Google+ Hangout on Air can be a good way to host an informal professional development Q&A session. Google+ Hangouts themselves can be a good way to connect classrooms who have been blogging buddies.

Collaborative Book Publishing with Google Slides & Issuu

EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site, has launched a new FREE video series called #ETTchat. Each week, one of their instructors posts a new video with ideas using technology in the service of learning. 

Collaborative Book Publishing

Google Slides has become a universal tool for students to use on any device. In this video, Greg Kulowiec (@gregkulowiec) shows how students could collaboratively design a book using Google Slides and then publish it with the digital publishing platform, Issuu

Learn more about collaborative tools and ePub creation on the EdTechTeacher web site.