Reflections on Creating and Managing Student Videos

Remember when our students could create their own Youtube channels and had access to the YouTube Creator Studio? Unfortunately, a subtle change at YouTube required G+ to create a Channel, and because my school district will not give our students G+ accounts, they are no longer able to activate their YouTube Channel (note – students who activated their Channel with their District Google account before the change did not lose access). Fortunately, teachers are a creative bunch and have come up with some new solutions. Ron Ceilin and Stephanie Jackson our two EPSB teachers who have some good thoughts and solutions. Read through them if you are looking for way for students to create and manage videos.

Stephanie Jackson’s Reflection

I thought I would give you all a quick update about the video sharing adventure I’ve been on. I learned A LOT doing this lip sync project…On YouTube, students can’t upload, webcam record, or use video editor (except the 1 or 2 students in each class who had previously created a channel with their school account). They can sign up with their personal emails, but this creates problems when they are signed into a ChromeBook at school. This was the most annoying glitch.

  • The easiest solution was to encourage everyone to use their phones to record, then use iMovie or something similar to edit. Student scan export it to their personal YouTube account and share the link with the teacher easily via a Google Doc/Sheet (run a PT class list report, save as PDF, select whole column and copy/paste into Google Doc or Sheet. The extra step of saving in PDF makes the names paste in one per column). Students upload their videos as unlisted and paste the video link next to their name. The teacher opens each link and adds the video to a playlist.
  • The mobile upload via email to the teacher YouTube Channel was awesome, for the few times it worked. Unfortunately, most of the videos were way over 25MB. This means that Gmail wouldn’t send them as an attachment, and the Google Drive version doesn’t work with YouTube.
  • A non-YouTube solution…I created a folder in Drive called Hand In Box and shared the link via Classroom (anyone with the link can edit). Students open the link, click Add to drive, Open in drive, then they can upload their video to the folder (on mobile devices, they have to switch to the desktop version). The teacher could use this folder as their playlist inste
  • ad of YouTube, or download each video and upload it to YouTube (This was loooooong. And isn’t it weird that YouTube won’t let you upload directly from Google Drive?!).
  • Students can attach their video to a Google Classroom assignment and it will show up in the project folder in Drive. However, this gets glitchy from a mobile device.

I think a lot of this would’ve been much easier if Google and YouTube would just talk more. If you could upload videos to YT directly from your Drive, it would’ve made this project so much easier. Anyways, there you have it! I hope this long email wasn’t a total waste of your time, and that someone somewhere is saved some trouble knowing all this.

Ron Ceilin has been using Screencastify with his students to capture videos with a Chromebook. He has been using this with his music class, but there are lots of opportunities do use a similar process in Second Languages and ELL.

Ron Ceilin’s note on Screencastify:

What is Screencastify?

Initially, I was using video to create a document of science student presentations that science students could review and critique. It eventually came to mind that I could use video as an assessment tool in my music class. The problem was that I can’t be in several places at one time. My music classroom has a wide swath of abilities and attitudes so when I was assessing one person utilizing video, several others were either off-task or demanding my attention. As I was attempting to figure out how I could assess the various levels of competence, I started to outline my requirements. There are several different approaches to learning a piece of music or gaining ground in musicianship and I wanted students to be able to present the way that suited them best:

  • If a student wanted to present me with an emulation of a song that they had audiated and/or transcribed, I wanted them to be able to show me that process in its entirety.
  • If they were sight-reading a piece of music, I wanted them to be able to present their performance with the sheet of music that they were sight-reading.
  • If the student had composed a piece of music, I wanted them to be able to provide me with the entire performance.
  • If it was a collaboration, I wanted students to be able to present me with the ensemble.
  • If the student was simply showing me how their technique or retention of a particular scale had developed, I wanted them to be able to present this to me too.

I wanted to incorporate many criteria: groove, expression, technique


  • First and foremost, I needed to see the students technique on their instrument – I needed to incorporate a webcam video of the students hands and/or embouchure.
  • I needed to utilize the technology that students had access to whenever they needed it – our class set of Chromebooks were the best solution.
  • Background audio would be required if a student was playing along with a piece of music. This could be presented by a video as well.
  • A screencast would be necessary to show the piece that the student is sight-reading.
  • A full screen webcam video would be required for students to present a collaboration.

Screencastify fulfilled these needs and was free!


  1. I have found that I have better student engagement.

  2. Students are able to reflect on their progress more concretely by comparing to past performances.

  3. Students have more freedom to engage in music in the way that suits them best. I have actually provided students with the assessment criteria based on the Alberta Programs of Study for music and allowed students to choose a project based on Singing/Playing (performing), Listening (audiating), Reading (sight-reading), or Creating (composing or arranging) – I have assessed them on Valuing based on how engaged they are in the process.

  4. I am now able to interact with individual students that are having trouble and help guide them to success while other students are working on their projects/presentations.

  5. I am able to share performances with parents, students, and even other subject teachers (we are presently doing a collaboration with French after a group of students did a “rendition” of Frere Jaques)

  6. I am able to be more precise with my assessment of student’s progress.

  7. One student actually incorporated a title screen into their performance using Google Docs. He used two screens and toggled between the two as he presented each performance. This was a great blend of technology and learning.

  8. The downloads are extremely fast within Chrome


  • I am still working out some kinks that have to do with feedback loops on play-along screencasts with embedded webcam video.
  • Students need to review their work prior to sharing it with me as there are audio feedback and “clipping” issues that they need to address – this will require teaching some techniques.
  • Students also need to prepare their performances thoroughly and know that they will be assessed. Students will tend to share as soon as they have recorded it rather than review, critique, and perfect before sharing.
  • You will need to set up electronic portfolios for your students (or have them set up their own).
  • The files are BIG. Make sure you have enough room on your Google Drive if you are going to download them. Otherwise, students can create their own portfolio by sharing the “Screencastify” folder that is set up in their Google Drive with you.
  • Isolation from other students working on their projects is difficult. I have students in the instrument storage room, my office, the hallway, even the boys bathroom!

You can see more of his insights as well as “How-To” instructions on his web site “Assessment Strategies Using Screencastify

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