I decided to play around with a video recording tool called Educreations. I had never even heard of this tool before so I was excited to try it out and see what potentials it had in store for me. I am currently looking for a solid video recording tool to use for my own modules in this course and for my flipped lessons in my AP Calc course. This tool was not it. So, without further ado, here is my official review of Educreations!
The tool is a screen recording tool, much like Screencastify but more focused to a small area of the screen. You essentially have a white board which you can pull up pictures on and draw all over the screen and them. You can record your voice while you draw or type as well, which I thought was pretty cool. It also allowed me to connect to my google account which is very slick! I love when apps and websites do that! There are different coloured markers, and an eraser as well. You can even switch screens and load more pictures and diagrams while the recorder just pauses, waiting for you to continue with your lesson. In theory, I think this is a great tool for quick little lessons, for student projects, or for digital storytelling. I managed to find very few examples of quick lessons from students on Youtube.
Here is one example a student created:
Most of what I found were tutorials on how to use the website but I figured it would be better to make my own shorter one to give you an idea!
It is very easy to use! Within a matter of minutes of creating an account, I had access to the whiteboard and tools needed to create some simple videos. You can also share the videos with students and upload items to the elusive “Cloud.” There is the option to share videos on Facebook and Twitter but you cannot export them, which is probably why there are almost none on Youtube. This would be a very easy tool for students to use and show their understanding of information in a creative way. It works with iPads as well, giving more control and diversity to the writing technique. I loved how easy it was to record, pause, and continue with your lesson, but there are also some things that just wouldn’t really work for me.
I found there were more weaknesses in this tool than strengths. For example, there is a fee for more tools. In order to upload documents (which I need for my lessons), there is a monthly fee for a classroom, and then a higher fee for a school subscription. I was limited to drawing on pictures that I had uploaded instead of writing or even scrolling through documents on the whiteboard. Price is of course, another downfall, as not many of us would be able to access the full potential of this tool without paying for it, and not many of us would have the funding to access this tool.
There is also a limited storage space of 50 MB which would be small if you wanted to create a lot of videos. As I was playing with it, some of the pictures I uploaded were too large for the whiteboard and wouldn’t allow an upload. There was also not a plethora of examples to look at online, as I only found tutorials on youtube as I mentioned before. There wasn’t a dashboard on the website and you cannot share videos with other teachers on the website or app. I thought this was a mistake, and I think the app would be a lot more successful with this application added. It would be awesome to view other teachers videos and lessons, and have some examples to look at and share with others. I’m curious what it would be like to record longer videos, say 15 minutes on it. Would I run out of space before I get to the end of my lesson?
Overall, I think this is a very neat tool. I’m just not sure it would work for my needs with a needing more academic writing and explaining, and more time for videos. I think this tool has a lot of potential to be very useful for teachers of younger aged students. It would be especially useful for me to explain quick examples to students that are having difficulty, but again I need pictures of everything in order to actually use it. I would love to try and use it with my English classes and see if they can use it to showcase some of their learning on it but some of them may feel it is more elementary. I think my math students would find tremendous benefits of using this to help each other with problems and questions they have, I’m just not sure how it would work with daily creations and lessons. If some of the features for the “Pro Classroom” were available, I would be all for using this program. Give it a try and let me know what you think!