3-12, Apps, Education, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Videos

Revisiting TouchCast

Two students present their TouchCast on 5 Strange Animals
Two students present their TouchCast on 5 Strange Animals

Last August, I did a post on a new, promising iPad app (also available for use on PC) called, “TouchCast.”  In my post, I offered some possible uses for the app, which allows you to create videos with special interactive features, in classrooms.  I’ve been noting mentions of it on social media, and gauging the interest in the world of education.  Slowly, I’ve observed educators beginning to use it.  Users seem to be very happy with its added features, which you can read about on my previous post.

I recently received an e-mail from TouchCast that showed that it has definitely ramped up support for teachers since the last time I reviewed it.  You can download a PDF of a training presentation for teachers from their website here. You can also e-mail the Touchcast crew at edu@TouchCast.com if you are interested in participating in one of their pilot programs.  In addition, TouchCast is looking for great examples of educators who use the app, offering EduCast Pioneer badges to those who create exemplary TouchCasts. (E-mail them if you know of an educational TouchCast that should be considered.)

There are two main uses that I see for TouchCast in schools.  One is to use it for “flipping” the classroom.  Here is a great example, by Packwoman, that was featured in the recent TouchCast e-mail I received.  Here is another teacher video on Bloom’s Taxonomy.  The other educational use of TouchCast is for student-created videos.  Many are using it for student newscasts, as it has a green screen feature.  But other students, like this one, are using it to present research or field trip information.  You can see more educational examples on the Educast Channel on TouchCast.

If you have iPads in the classroom, and students who are ready for something a bit more advanced then using the native Camera app for making videos, you should definitely investigate the free TouchCast app!

3-12, Apps, Education, Independent Study, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Videos, Web 2.0


Screen Shot from Professor How's TouchCast
Screen Shot from Professor How’s TouchCast.  The video is in the corner of the web site page they are referencing.

TouchCast is a new, revolutionary iTunes app that has huge potential for the classroom and beyond.  It allows you to create interactive videos.

I’m not talking about the kind of videos you see on YouTube that have links that lead you to other sites or videos, though you could certainly do that with TouchCast.

I am talking about videos that include live, interactive versions of sites, Twitter feeds, polls, tickers, etc…


So, let’s say I include my Twitter feed in my video.  When you watch the video on my TouchCast channel, you will see my Twitter feed – but not what was on the feed when I recorded the video.  You will see the exact feed that is available at the moment you are watching the video.

You might be thinking, “How is that helpful in an educational setting?” – especially if you don’t use Twitter.

But imagine placing a poll on your video about recycling, and asking what students think they can do to make the biggest positive environmental impact.  Or, adding the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s web page featuring the painting, “Cypresses” to your video about Van Gogh?

You can add all of these interactive functions using TouchCast‘s vApps – and they plan to add more.

TouchCast's vApp Screen
TouchCast’s vApp Screen

In addition, the recorder includes a green screen option.  I have been looking for a free one to use on the iPad, and now my wish has been granted!  You can see the fun use of the green screen as well as some of the vApps, in this video by “Professor How.”

I’ve been talking how teachers can use TouchCast – but think about how motivating this will be for students working on presentations!  This will definitely help to make their projects much more dynamic.  For Genius Hour, or any time students get the chance to share what they have learned, TouchCast could add so much more.  

Some caveats:  TouchCasts really need to be storyboarded ahead of time if you plan to use the vApps.  TouchCasts can be exported to YouTube, but they will lose their “interactive” ability if they are not viewed within the app or on the TouchCast site.  Also, at this time, you cannot import a video creation into a TouchCast (if, for example, you are like me – and prefer to use something like Tellagami‘s fabulous animation app to share your message instead of your own face and voice) – but I did receive an e-mail from their Customer Support that they are looking into adding this feature.  Last caveat – as with all apps, this may perform differently in your classroom than it does at home, due to district site-blocking.

For more about TouchCast – and a great presentation on Aurasma – check out this post from Thrasymakos!