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Jul 23, 2019

A Beginner's Guide to Screencastify for Educators

Nefertiti Dukes
Professional Development Manager

Welcome to the #communityofcasters! We're excited that you're joining our vibrant, creative group of educators. Here's a quick guide to help you get started with Screencastify. Don't worry - it won't take long! (Update 09/24/2021: Listen below to learn about Screencastify's newest features!)

Set up the extension

Once you've installed the extension, you'll need to go through a three step setup process. You'll only need to complete these steps the first time you use the extension.

  1. Log in to the extension: Use your Google account to log in. We strongly recommend that you automatically save videos to your Google Drive (thank us later!)
  2. Accept the permissions: Chrome will ask for a few permissions for the extension to run optimally. In a nutshell, these permissions allow us to create a folder in your Google Drive account entitled "Screencastify", access your webcam and microphone, record your screen, and display our annotation tools.
  3. Introduce yourself: You'll then be presented with a 2-question survey. Let us know you're an educator - every once in a while we'll send a notification through the extension that you may find helpful.

Record a video

Now that the extension is fully set up, you're ready to start recording ⏺. There are a few options that you should familiarize yourself with.

  1. Record your browser tab: This option is perfect if you only want to show your viewers what's happening on one specific tab in Chrome. We use this option most when we want to record over a Google Slides presentation, for example.
  2. Record your desktop: Use this option when you want to show your viewer something outside Chrome (like a PowerPoint) or if you think you'll switch between multiple tabs and/or programs.
  3. Record your webcam: This option is perfect when you just want to speak directly to students, no screen involved.
Note: It's possible to capture the audio from a webpage or computer program (for example the audio from a YouTube video on screen). To do that, you'll need to enable tab audio (in a tab recording) or system audio (in a desktop recording). Both options are available under "Show More Options" before you begin a recording.

Edit a video

Sometimes, you need your recording to be perfect! For those instances, you may want to check out our editing options which are always available to our Premium subscribers. On our Lite plan? No problem! You can start a free trial at edit.screencastify.com (no credit card required).

  1. Access the editor: There are two ways to access the Screencastify browser-based editor. You can click the scissors icon from any recording which will automatically load in your recording. Alternatively, you can navigate straight to the editor by entering edit.screencastify.com into your address bar. From there, you can use the blue "+" button on the bottom right to add videos into timeline (You can add non-Screencastify videos into the editor too!)
  2. Crop, trim, and add text: Use the options on the bottom left to make your video perfect. Crop the video to show only a certain portion of the screen. Use the trim tool to cut out that unfortunate few seconds. Add text to make your videos even more engaging.

Share your video

Once your video is perfect, there are tons of ways to share your recording with students, parents, or anyone else with an internet connection. The folks who view your videos do not need their own Screencastify account.

  1. Share a Google Drive link: Once you're done recording, the video will pop out in a new tab. To share the Google Drive link, just click the "Copy Link" button on the left. This will automatically update sharing settings so that anyone with the link can view the video - magic!
  2. Share on Google Classroom: To share to Google Classroom, you'll first need to generate a link from YouTube or Google Drive. Once you've done that, select the class you'd like to share to and the action you'd like to take and you're all set!
  3. Share on YouTube: Once you have a channel, you can share Screencastify videos on YouTube by clicking the share icon and then selecting your preferred privacy settings. Then, your video is live on YouTube for all to see (or maybe just you).
  4. Export your recording: If you'd prefer to download your recording, we've got options for that too. Simply click the download icon and then select how you'd like to export the recording. You can export just the audio as an mp3, the images as an animated GIF, or the whole video as an mp4 or webm.

That's it! You've installed the extension, created a recording, edited it, and shared it with your audience. If you want to dive deeper, check out our Master Screencaster course taught by the amazing Matt Miller. Upon passing the course, you'll earn a snazzy certificate and badge to flaunt! You might also find our classroom resources helpful.

When you start using Screencastify in your classroom, we'd love to hear about it on Twitter.

Nefertiti Dukes
Professional Development Manager

Traveling the country in my brand new RV!