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Loom - Lightning Quick Video Communication Tool

Loom (formerly OpenTest) co-founder Joe Thomas describes Loom this way.


Loom is a lightening quick, super simple video communication tool that allows you to share knowledge more effectively than ever before. ​


Based on my use of Loom, I would have to agree. I love simple tools and Loom certainly fits the bill. I am often asked about free or cheap tools for video creation. We all know how difficult video can be due to file sizes, and hosting of the videos. Loom offers an alternative that is pretty attractive. While you won't be able to edit your videos in Loom, you can easily click on the extension, and be up and running with a completed video in no time, and with no hassle.

Video example and explanation created with Loom


So what exactly is Loom?


Loom is a Chrome Extension that can be found here. Additional developer information can be found on the Loom website. The video that you see here was created with Loom. Loom hosts the videos so you have several sharing options. You can easily get a link to your video, share on Facebook or Twitter. The embed code is also available, which is how our video is shared here. It will also download the video in MP4 format if you need.


Once you have the extension installed all you need to do is click it to get started. Once you do, you are faced with a simple interface that allows you to decide what you want to capture, current tab, desktop, or cam only. You can also select your Microphone and Camera. The advanced setting link allows you to flip your camera, use the 3 second countdown feature, show or hide the camera menu, and to show the expanded camera menu. In the same screen your camera inset also appears. You can change the size or turn it off completely if you prefer. That's it. Simple and straightforward. Exactly what busy educators need. When ready, simply hit the Start Recording button.



During video recording, you can cancel the video, pause the video, change camera settings, or finish the video. Finishing the video will take you to the video details screen. This is where the lightning quick part takes place. This process allows you to very quickly create a video and get it shared out to the public right away via a link or social media. 


Easily add info to the description of your finished videos, and share out in several ways.


One of the best parts about Loom in my opinion is the ability to allow for comments on your video. These comments are time stamped which also enables users to comment on specific pieces of the video for clearer communication by all. When a new viewer first attempts to leave a comment, they are asked if they want to sign up, sign in, or just post the comment as a guest. This allows for various levels of interaction, but it also ensures that your viewers can leave comments without a forced sign up. This can be good or bad, but I like having that option. All videos can also be password protected which combined with the guest option gives you some control over who comments and also what information is shared publicly. For students this is always important.


So what are some ways that Loom could be used in Education? Let's take a look at a few options.


Administrators

  • Online faculty meetings - save face to face meetings for truly important things. The camera inset makes it a little more personal, and all questions that are asked in the comments, can be discussed openly by all viewers.
  • Parent weekly updates - share out a quick video discussing what is happening on your campus. Parents, teachers, students, and all community members can see the news YOU want to share.
  • Student voice/feedback videos - Discuss ideas with students via a video prompt and give them a platform for communicating their thoughts about things.
  • Informal teacher observations - Have a teacher record a video of their teaching, and with the timestamp feature, you can easily make comments and discuss things you see, at the exact moment in the video where they are happening.

Teachers

  • Classroom updates - Share updates of what is happening in your class.
  • Self / Peer to Peer observations - Record lessons and review those lessons or work with a peer and share suggestions, ideas, and thoughts about what you see in the video.
  • Classroom discussions - Share a video explanation or idea with your students, and have them comment, answer questions, or simply ask each other questions about the assignment or activity.
  • Flipped classroom / Blended learning - Use of video in these scenarios is necessary, Loom offers the platform to host those videos for you, along with the comment feature that can be embedded on many platforms.
  • Teaser videos - use this in creative ways to create teaser videos about upcoming topics, then get your students discussing what they already know, what they think the teaser will be leading too, or anything you can dream up to get students excited about what is yet to come.
  • Review sessions - this may not be the greatest platform, but create quick question review videos where you review material, and have students discuss what they remember about it.

Students - Signing up with Google accounts is an option. Depending on your district set up with outside sources, this may or may not be an option. Please note that I have not investigated privacy policies with this site, and always encourage you to be sure you know all the details before having students create videos with this or any platform.

  • Project reports - Allow students to create videos that replace the traditional stand in front of the class and share a report. Students will impress you with how creative they can get with even the simplest of tools like Loom.
  • Student News - have students create their own news cast about current classroom or school events. Can be shared publicly or within the school only.
  • Student Voice - I always recommend an adult actively monitor something like this, but students can ask a question or start a discussion on an important topic, then students can respond via comment section to share their views.
  • Student tech support - let students create "How To" or "explainer" videos on certain tech (or any subject) help videos. Monitoring the comments allows for a bit of back and forth with viewers as well, helping students continue to refine the information they are sharing about a subject.



There are many other ways video can be used in education. Have other ideas, be sure to share them and let me know how Loom is or isn't meeting your video communication needs. Have a comment leave it below, or share it on the video I created for this blog. When it comes to simple video creation tools, consider Loom as a possible addition to your tool box.

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