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As we finish out July and get ready to head into a busy August month preparing for day 1 of 13-14, now is a great time to re-connect with students, families and teachers on what’s been happening at their school over the past month. Many of our schools have renovations, major projects, cleaning and other work happening at a rapid pace during the 60+ days of summer. Some are even lucky enough to be building a new school!
At any rate, putting out a communication is well-received by those in your learning community, and offers a proactive momentum builder for getting back to school. Typically, we post several short Audioboo podcasts during the summer months, but just a few nights ago I was on Twitter chatting with some edupals and saw that Wisconsin Lead Learner Curt Rees posted his first ever TouchCast using his iPad. I was impressed at the picture quality, professional looking titles, picture embeds and personal message it provided versus the audio only piece I had been putting out in years past.
TouchCast is a mobile video authoring tool that allows creators to build a new video web experience. Viewers (in our case students, families, teachers and the community), can experience the web through on-screen browseable and interactive video apps (vApps) without leaving the video. You can even upload these videos to Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, email and other places. Best of all, the app is currently FREE in the App store.
Some Touchcast features I can see being used for home-school communications:
- Embedding website directly into the video while keeping it fully functional and navigable while being displayed.
- Over 15 vApps to add photos, videos, maps, polls, news feeds, and more directly into the video.
- Two-Way Communication tie-in —> Encouraging viewers to give feedback while they watch by creating engaging polls, ratings, and comments.
Below, is my first ever video upload using TouchCast. It is not great quality but that is due to the speaker not the tool. I’ve posted it on our school’s Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as the Summer Knappmodo our students are accessing while school is out.