Cast for Education is in its early stage of use in my classroom. In saying that, this tool has worked without a glitch on my 1st full class sharing use. This is not always the case when rolling new technology out into the wild with students.
Setup was surprisingly simple, as I found the app in the Web Store and then installed. I opened the app to find settings popped up from the initial start-up, giving my cast window a name. It was easy. The final setup step was to click on the “Share” icon to share the cast feature with my science class sections in Google Classroom.
It was time for the test drive with one of my classes. Students created videos with their device that demonstrate their understanding of the 3 phases of matter and 3 forms of heat transfer. After capturing and editing their videos, they would submit in G-classroom. Then one by one I would click to share with the class. The old presenting model works, but it always felt like I was separated from the class at my work station. Often I would have a “Sign-Up” list on my whiteboard, as many were really excited to share and others wanting to avoid sharing.
My instructions for students to present was to open their video presentation, then go to settings in the Chrome browser and click on “Cast”. An extension type dropdown will appear and after a short wait, my share window name will appear. I named my Cast share window “MD” for Mr. Dahl. This was the only time where students got anxious and borderline impatient when they had to wait 5-10 seconds for the “MD” name to appear.
The first student request to share appeared in a pop-up icon in the lower right corner of my Cast presentation window on the classroom projector. I accepted and the student was in control of their presentation, expanding to full screen viewing and playing their video. After a student finished, they just clicked on “Stop Casting” and they were disconnected. The next student requested access and so on.
The beauty of this tool was how easy it was to use. Rather than signing up on the whiteboard, students were initiating their spot by requesting access on their own. Since the student was presenting and sharing their project, they could start and stop to explain if needed. The presentation quality was very good, with no more lag than when I would share on my teacher machine.
I know there are more uses for this tool down the road. This tool speaks to a something a colleague shared with me earlier this school year. She said that we need to keep looking for ways to empower students to take more ownership of their learning, instead of just doing it for them, as we have for years and years. Cast for Education looks to be one of those tools and KIDS LOVE IT.