Finding a screencasting tool that can get the job done in your school or classroom is as simple as a quick Google search 🔍. But finding the right tool? That can be a little more complicated.
There are numerous screencasting tools on the market, including some general-market solutions and others that are tailor-made for education 🧑🏫. We’ve outlined the high-level pros and cons of all the top solutions in a previous post, but we know you might want to dive deeper into some of the top solutions.
Below, we’ll compare two tools in greater depth. Let’s take a closer look 👀 at how Canvas Studio’s video capture tool stacks up against Screencastify.
An overview of Screencastify
Screencastify is a suite of tools designed by educators, for educators, that enables teachers and students to quickly and easily create, edit, and submit screencast video content.
There are three tools in the Screencastify family:
- Record: Lightweight Chrome browser extension that lets anyone using Chrome’s desktop browser start screen recordings in just a few clicks
- Edit: Browser-based video editing platform with all the editing tools teachers and students need (without a bunch of extra clutter)
- Submit: This powerful tool lets educators assign and collect video submissions, evaluate student reflection, and facilitate video feedback between students
Screencastify boasts a privacy focus and lets you keep any video content you create. All videos upload to your Google Drive automatically, and from there you can move them wherever you’d like.
Because Screencastify is a lightweight 🪶 tool with no apps to install, users enjoy a consistent interface across devices. Setup is nearly instant, so users can start creating almost immediately. Learn more about Screencastify's mission in this episode of EdTech Heroes!
An overview of Canvas Studio
Canvas is a learning management system (LMS), first and foremost; a classroom management ecosystem that’s typically implemented at a school-wide or districtwide level. Within the Canvas platform is Canvas Studio, a media creation tool that can also create screencast videos.
Canvas Studio has recording and editing tools and is primarily aimed at creating collaborative materials, audio, and video files that can be shared and discussed among classmates or between students and instructors.
It’s important to note that Canvas Studio is not a freestanding product. If you don’t have access to Canvas, you cannot get Canvas Studio as a separate tool. This means that if you’re an educator at a school that isn’t using Canvas as its LMS, you’ll need to choose Screencastify or another open-market solution.
For those teachers and schools already using Canvas, it’s certainly worth taking a look to see whether Canvas Studio can do everything you need it to, or whether you need a better tool for your screencasting and video editing.
Canvas Studio vs. Screencastify: Comparing video capture tools and features
Now that we’ve covered what both of these tools are at a high level, let’s break down five specific categories to see how a Screencastify vs. Canvas Studio matchup plays out:
- Video quality, features, and user-friendliness
- Video editing options
- Video sharing, exporting, and integrations
- Video security and privacy
Video quality, features, and user-friendliness
For Canvas Studio, you first have to log into the primary Canvas system, then navigate to the Studio tools and find the functions you need. Because Canvas Studio exists only within Canvas, you’ll automatically add several steps to the process every time you’re ready to start recording.
Video quality is identical between the two tools — both apps record full HD video of the user’s webcam and the user’s screen, along with quality audio from the microphone.
Both apps also allow educators to embed questions into the video content and solicit student responses. On this point, Canvas Studio has a few more options than Screencastify, but again, you can embed questions using either tool.
Video editing options
Both Screencastify and Canvas Studio allow you to edit the videos you create, which is a crucial function if you aren’t as smooth as a TV news anchor 📹 (and who is, really?)
Editing is more than just eliminating pauses and verbal clutter. You might need to obscure something that was inadvertently left open on your screen, like a grade book or other student data. Or you might need to correct or edit out some unintentionally incorrect information.
Both tools offer a solid suite of editing tools, and give you access to all the stuff you’re likely going to want to use, without the bulk of professional tools that most educators won’t need.
That said, there’s one massive difference between how the two brands approach editing videos: timing.
With Canvas Studio, you have one (and only one) chance to edit your video, which is as soon as you finish recording. But if you don’t, you’ll never be able to get that video open in the Canvas Studio editor again.
This limitation is surprising, given how most teachers use such tools. If you’re screen recording during a hybrid class session (where you have in-person students to worry about), you can't just drop everything and spend 15 minutes polishing up the video the moment you stop recording.
Screencastify takes a much more sensible approach.💡Because Screencastify’s Editor is a separate tool, you can open up any video at any time and edit to your heart’s content. You have the freedom to record content in batches or as you teach live, then circle back during a prep period (or even from home) to finish up the editing.
In terms of editing features, the two tools both have all the following functions:
- Trim and crop video
- Give clips a title
- Zoom in or out
- Blur areas
- Add text
One last thing to mention: According to Emory University, Canvas Studio’s editor isn’t a Canvas built product. It’s the editor from Screencast-O-Matic (another screencasting tool), licensed and skinned into the Canvas platform.
Want to go even deeper? Learn more about everything the Screencastify editor can do.
Video sharing, exporting, and integrations
Another area that’s crucial to examine is how easily each tool will allow you to share or export video content, along with what kinds of integrations exist for the tool. After all, a great video isn’t worth much if you can’t manage to get it where you need it to be.
In this respect, Screencastify has a clear and significant advantage. Screencastify users have 100% ownership of the videos they create. Screencastify will automatically upload each video to the user’s Google Drive. From there, you can move your videos wherever they need to go, such as another cloud service, into an LMS, Google Classroom, etc.
Screencastify also has a wide range of integration options built in, including but not limited to:
- Google Classroom
- YouTube (direct publishing)
- Twitter (link posting)
- Canvas/Canvas Studio or Edpuzzle
If you’re using a tool you don’t see listed here, that’s OK — you can create video links and share them via email or any other communication tool. Learn more about additional integrations to Screencastify.
Videos created in Canvas Studio are a little different. Canvas is obviously invested in its own ecosystem, so the company has made it very difficult (and potentially impossible) to get Canvas Studio content out of the Canvas platform.
If you’re OK with that limitation, then it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. If your school is already using Canvas for everything, this limitation likely won’t affect you very much.
But consider what could happen if your school or district switches to a new tool down the road. If all that content remains stuck in Canvas, you run into the possibility of losing it and having to start over.
It appears that Canvas is aware of this limitation and has no plans to change it.
Video security and privacy
When you’re working with students, privacy becomes paramount. So of course you’ll want a screencasting tool that takes student privacy seriously, too. What does video security and privacy look like in an educational setting? At a minimum, it should include the appropriate certifications.
Screencastify has taken the time to get the following privacy and education-related certifications: FERPA, COPPA and CSPC. Screencastify takes a minimalistic approach to user data as well, collecting the bare minimum necessary to operate.
Canvas has a COPPA compliance policy and is certainly well aware of FERPA, though the nature of an LMS requires teachers to essentially self-police these privacy guidelines. If the company has achieved certifications from any of the above organizations, they don’t make it easy to find.
Find out more about how seriously Screencastify takes student privacy in our Privacy FAQs.
It’s a little tough to do a direct Screencastify vs. Canvas Studio price comparison because of how the two solutions are packaged and sold.
Canvas Studio isn’t available for purchase anywhere — it’s only available as part of a full Canvas license, which is typically not the sort of thing that an individual teacher or student would want to purchase.
Canvas is implemented at the school or district level using customized pricing that varies depending on numerous factors, and you won’t find any hint of pricing information on parent company Instructure’s website (if you’re assuming that Canvas probably isn’t cheap 💸 based on this, you’re on the right track).
Screencastify offers customized school-wide or districtwide licenses at a much lower rate, given the narrower scope of Screencastify’s offerings. Individual teachers also have the option to purchase their own licenses. There’s even a free tier that anyone can use, and students can respond using the Submit tool without paying.
Screencastify’s paid plans for teachers cost $107 per year for all three tools combined (Record, Edit, and Submit). Be on the lookout for specials that take your first-year price even lower.
Which tool is right for you? Screencastify or Canvas Studio’s video toolset?
So, after considering each of these tools in greater detail, which one is the better choice for you and your school? Screencastify or Canvas Studio?
For starters, Canvas Studio is only an option if your school is already using the Canvas LMS. If your school is using something else, Screencastify wins by default.
Canvas Studio is an effective tool within the Canvas ecosystem. Its collaborative features are noteworthy, especially for high school and university-level classrooms.
Just remember that using Canvas Studio locks you into the Canvas ecosystem 🔐. Videos aren’t intended for sharing outside of Canvas, and there’s no way to do so (at least without significant skill and effort 🦹 ).
If you’re already using Canvas Studio and you don’t see a reason to share videos outside of that platform, then it’ll likely be easiest for you to use the video capture tools within Canvas Studio.
But if you’re looking for a more robust and flexible tool for recording, editing, and sharing your own educational content, one that lets you share your content wherever you want, Screencastify is a fantastic choice.
Screencastify is also perfect for students 🧑🎓, allowing them to create and submit video assignments just as easily as you can. Screencastify also has a large library of support materials, including a deep knowledge base and Screencastify University, where people can take short courses to increase their skills 📈 with Screencastify’s tools.
Find out why school districts love using Screencastify ❤️
Screencastify is a fantastic tool for individual teachers and classrooms, but it’s even better when implemented school-wide, or even at the district level. Once all teachers within a school or district are trained in using the same tool, you’ll be amazed at the synergy that happens!
To see how powerful Screencastify can be when implemented at the district level, check out Screencastify for Districts.