Oh Hi, I didn't see you there...
Note: Don't feel like reading? Click on the image and watch the TouchCast review of TouchCast.
However, I consider myself a pragmatist, it's what helps me decide what to actually work on/prepare when I'm looking at 5-8 hours of prep per week. So If you're looking to hit every possibility for differentiation and learning style... I would go with Touchcast.
- Touchcast is as easy to embed as a Youtube video
- It's interactive, which is way more engaging than a Youtube video
- You can draw on the screen and include video/image "Vapps" To show students what you're talking about
- It's a closed community, so you don't have to worry about running into inappropriate ads
- You can embed videos inside of other Videos to address follow up questions
So that pretty much covers all of the features of the other pieces of software. Now, don't get me wrong, If you're looking to throw a lesson plan together in a few minutes, there is no substitute for Blendspace. But, that's another article.
"Mr. B, I don't like being on camera..."
Well, you don't have to be... you can import video from Youtube or if you're feeling saucy you could make an assignment out of it and have the students do it themselves. (After some modeling of course)
So how do I use this thing?
First off, you're going to have to download the app on your iPad or PC. That's right... there is no version for the Mac YET. Please keep in mind that when I started using the software last year they only had an iPad version. So the Mac version is inevitable. Also, most schools still use Windows-based PC's. (Or at least mine does.) We also have iPads though, so for me, this isn't an issue. But keep it in mind if you're looking to start using it.
Alright, once you've got the thing downloaded you record like a regular video, but before recording you load which Vapps you're going to use. So if you're going to display a Twitter Feed, which is an awesome tool for teaching, you would load it first with this trending topic you want to display or which @username you're going to display and then while your recording you would tap on it and POOF there ya go. Easy. Seriously, I'm not going to explain how to use all of the Vapps, just play with them for a bit and you'll figure out which ones your going to use, and which ones you aren't.
Alright Rob, what are the issues with this tech?
- It's heavy. Not like a Cinderblock, but if Youtube was a 5 pound weight, Touchcast would be a 20 pound weight. Not unbearable... your iPad will run it ok. But it will struggle sometimes.
- Loading is an issue. Again, the Touchcasts are heavy. If you have a crumby internet connection, it's going to hiccup.
- No Mac support. However, you can view them on Mac's. Just not make them.
- The Green screen feature is neat, but tough to pull off in a non-campy way.
- The "On Screen Drawing" is not as good as educreations, but it's ok.
- There is a limit to the amount of video you can record at a time (5 minutes) and there is a limit that you can have on your free account (1 hour)
So there it is, Touchcast is awesome if you're looking to make a dynamic, video-based lesson. Or maybe you want to get the kids up and walking around, they'll love experimenting with Touchcast. They might create a news program, a presentation on endangered species, or whatever they can imagine (inside of 5 minutes). It's a great, relatively new program, with a lot of promise. I know that I've been using it, and I suggest you do too.