The ABCs of Providing CI Through Remote Learning: L is for Loom

When I was teaching in a physical classroom, one way I often provided my classes with comprehensible input (CI) was by projecting a PowerPoint or Google Slide presentation and talking to the class about what was on each slide (just like many other CI teachers do, I’m sure!). Once we transitioned to remote learning, I wanted to be able to replicate that on video, so I started looking for a technology to help me do that. The one I like the most is called Loom (Shoutout to Annabelle Williamson for turning me on to this fantastic resource!).

Disclosure: I have no affiliations with Loom. I just like sharing tools that help World Language teachers provide more CI to their students. 

Loom can be accessed in three different ways: in your browser, via a Chrome Extension, or through an app. I recommend that you try all three ways, because the one that works the best for you may depend on what kind of device you are using. My friends with MacBooks prefer to download the app, and the app lets you record using an iPad or iPhone too, which is nice. Colleagues I know with Chromebooks or other brands of laptops prefer the Chrome Extension. Regardless of how you access Loom, the recording mechanisms all work in a similar way.

To record a presentation on Loom, all I have to do is pull up the presentation I plan to give, open Loom, and press “record.” I have the option of recording just my computer screen, just myself, or my presentation with a small video of me in the corner. Once I’ve chosen the type of recording I want, Loom gives me a countdown (3-2-1) and starts recording. Then all I have to do is start my presentation. I usually record my presentations with a small video of me in the lower left-hand corner of my presentation, like this:

I have the option of moving that video of me, making the circle larger, or removing it entirely ( which I may start doing since it’s been four months since I’ve had a hair appointment, LOL!).

In the image above, you’ll see a set of circles next to the circular video of me. Those are the controls that let me control the size of or eliminate the video circle and manage my recording. I can present for as long as I want, because Loom does not limit the length of my recording. Once I’m done with the presentation, I click on the green circle with the check mark in it. Then Loom posts my video on my personal Loom page, where I have the option to trim my final video if I make a mistake or if it’s too long. Loom then creates a link that I can embed on my blog or share with whomever. I can also download my Loom videos and save them on my laptop if I want to.

It is so, so quick and easy to create and share videos on Loom. Before I learned about it, I recorded a few videos using the video app on my computer. What a drag! The recording usually went fine, but then I had to wait for my computer to finish processing the video and upload it to YouTube before I had a link that I could share. It was kind of a hassle, and I didn’t make that many videos because of the multiple steps I had to take to secure my final project. One video could take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour to finish and share, and sometimes it just wasn’t worth the time.

Now using Loom, the entire video making process can take as little as five minutes, and I find myself making more videos than ever because it is so quick and painless. The tutorials on Loom make it is so simple to learn that several of my low-tech/no-tech colleagues have started using it successfully too. Organization is a snap as well, because I can create folders on my Loom page to store videos in an orderly fashion.

Currently Loom offers both a free account and a paid pro account for individuals. Those with the free account can record and store up to twenty-five videos on their Loom page (although I’m not 100% sure, I think you can still record more than twenty-five videos with the free account but can only access your latest twenty-five from your personal Loom page). The pro account is usually $8 a month and comes with unlimited video storage space and a few more advanced editing tools. Loom is also rolling out accounts for teams, where groups of people can have a shared a workspace on Loom to collaborate.

While my main reason for recording videos with Loom is to provide CI to my students while we’re distance learning, I’ve also made videos to explain assignments or just say hi (my classes don’t meet synchronously). Below are some other ideas for use of Loom videos in the classroom courtesy of Kathleen Morris:

I know that teachers have a choice of using other programs like Screencastify, Screencast-o-matic, and even Zoom to make videos for the classroom as well. I’ve explored using Zoom, which can be cumbersome (but can allow you to add a virtual background to provide even more CI, like I discussed in this post), but I have little experience with Screencastify (which limits the lengths of free videos to five minutes and can only be used with a computer) and Screencast-o-matic (which limits the lengths of free videos to fifteen minutes). I’m quite happy with Loom, and will continue to incorporate it’s use in my class as I am teaching remotely, and will probably even use it once in a while once our school buildings are open and schools are back in normal session.

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