By Andy Tharby
Loom is a really useful tool that allows teachers to create pre-recorded video content for online and remote learning. It is free, easy to set up and works for Mac, Windows, and Chromebooks. Essentially it works by doing three things simultaneously: it records the screen in real time; it records audio narration; and it films the speaker.
A small, round video recording of the speaker is played in the corner of the screen. The great thing about Loom is that it is remarkably user-friendly and intuitive. I discovered it just over twenty-four hours ago and have already recorded lesson content that my students have accessed through Google Classroom. I was off and running almost immediately: it took me twenty minutes or so to get the hang of it.
Here is a simple tutorial video you may find useful:
Things I’ve learnt about Loom already:
1. It is really easy to use. Trust me on this. I’ve used recorders and podcasting software before and have really struggled. Not this time.
2. It is very time efficient. Set up time is minimal and the video is ready in minutes. You receive a link you can share with others and also an option to download.
3. It feels authentic. There is no need to create seamless, glitch-free videos. Just load up a resource or presentation, switch it on and get going. There are a number of gaffes and clumsy segues in my recordings (scroll to the bottom) but that makes it feel very human – just like real teaching.
4. Go with what you have got. The current predicament means that there is no need to created wonderfully professional ‘dual-coded’ PowerPoints or slideshows. We need to get things out quickly and accept that they will not be flawless.
5. Use it to provide instructions and advice. I have used it twice already to give colleagues advice on how to use Google Forms – I was able to WhatsApp the video to them in a matter of minutes. I can see how it could be also used to give a class live whole-class feedback during a lesson: notice a common misconception, record the video and send the link. All this can be done within five minutes.
6. It can support metacognition. We aim to use it to provide live modelling opportunities to students online. By placing a visualiser next to a laptop, you can live-model by hand and also record your thoughts out loud.
7. Think of the future. The videos that are put together now can be re-used to provide revision and out-of-school opportunities in the future. I am hoping that ours can be used to support students who have missed lessons and to support the families of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Finally, and most crucially, our students are isolated from friends, family and school. A friendly, familiar face is what they need most of all at the moment. Click below for the video on ‘Hawk Roosting’ that I recorded earlier today, glitches, rambling and all.