App Review
TouchCast

Cool tool takes videos to next level, but some privacy concerns

  • Creating an account is encouraged, but not required.

  • Front page is busy and advertises latest developer promotions.

  • TouchFeeds let users view work by others which could spark creativity.

  • Choose a template or create one of your own.

  • TouchCasts can be locked to keep the public from viewing them.

Quick Take
Pros: Professional video templates incorporate elements from multiple sources, and creative features enhance the video's content.
Cons: Some video components may contain inappropriate content.
Bottom Line: TouchCast is a creative tool for students to use to present information, but teachers should monitor use.
Learning Scores
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

So many cool features, such as teleprompting, sound effects, customized feeds, and a whiteboard, turn these videos into professional productions.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

The amount of creative control the app gives teens is empowering. Special themes encourage teens to incorporate current events, and social sharing is a large part of the experience.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Sample videos, video tutorials, and on-screen instructions guide users as they create their videos.

Our Review
What's It Like?

Sample videos and tutorials help you see what formats and features are available with TouchCastIf you want to get started right away, you can simply choose a template and press Record. However, virtually any video recording and editing app can create that kind of video. Instead of recording right away, take some time to explore the features. For example, maybe you want to add a Google newsreel or a Twitter feed related to the theme of your video. Perhaps you want to pre-write a script and use the teleprompter to guide you as you read it on the screen. If you're going for a specific feel, you might want to play around with the video filters or add in a few funky sound effects. Then, when you're ready, you can record and edit your video. Once finished, save the video privately or opt to make it public and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. 

The app requires users to be at least 13 years old, and teens under 18 need a parent's permission to use the app. Other TouchCast users can view and leave comments on videos not marked as "local," so there are some privacy concerns. There's also the potential for students to encounter iffy content using the app, but TouchCast's community guidelines discourage sexually explicit content, violence, and hate speech.

Is It Good For Learning?

When it comes to sharing what they've learned, students need to think beyond the traditional essay, research paper, poster, or slideshow presentation. TouchCast helps students take their projects further. Not only can they create their own videos, they can also extend their videos by adding current events, social networking feeds, and other apps to make their videos more comprehensive and much more interesting. Students will also learn to think critically about their videos; instead of adding in as many special effects as they can, they'll learn to choose the effects wisely and only add apps and content that enhance their presentations.

How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers in nearly every subject area can have students create a video to complement or, in some cases, replace a research paper or other project. For example, students in social studies may use the breaking news template to create a newscast about a current event or an important event in history. In language arts, students may create videos to summarize what's going on in a book, modernize scenes, or give book reviews. Science and math teachers may have students use the how-to template to describe important skills and concepts, or use some of the news headlines to present real-world examples of what they're learning in class.

 

This review of TouchCast was written by

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