Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Beyond Video-Touchcast

In late November 2013 two members of my PLN on Twitter Shannon Miller, teacher librarian, consultant, presenter and blogger at Van Meter Library Voice and Heather Moorefield, Education Librarian at Virginia Tech and chairperson for the American Association of School Librarians Best Websites for Teaching & Learning, were chatting about websites and apps.  Heather mentioned her new big fave is TouchCast.  In early December she announced with joy about TouchCast being available for use on desktops.  It was introduced to the public in June 2013 as an iPad application only.

For my post today, I decided to see what I could create using TouchCast.  When you initially access the site, a TouchCast immediately appears on your screen using their application to explain it.  They describe it as:

Our mission is to usher in a new age of expression.  Anyone can easily create professional-quality videos combined with all the interactivity you expect to find inside a browser.  We call these TouchCasts, a new medium that looks like video but feels like the web.

After the TouchCast is completed the screen goes black with two separate tool bars; one at the top and one at the bottom.

When you mouse over the site logo, a drop-down menu contains links to Home, Products, Education, Developer, Accessories, About, Blog, Partnerships and Press.  Education takes you to a page explaining how teachers and students are using TouchCast in their classrooms.  It provides a 31 page downloadable PDF guide.

Moving left to right Products causes the introductory video to play again.  Watch is a link to featured and trending TouchCasts and channels of TouchCasts.  You can also do keyword searches for TouchCasts here.  The blog provides users with the latest updates.  TouchCasting Call is a currently-running contest for TouchCast creations due to end on January 24, 2014.  On the far right you can download either the app or desktop version.

The toolbar at the bottom is actually used for viewing a TouchCast.  You can control the volume, view a short description of the TouchCast (i), go back, play, stop, go forward, see the time length of the TouchCast, share on Facebook, Twitter, via URL or HTML code, shrink the screen or go to full screen.  If you scroll down beneath this, much more additional information about TouchCast is available through text and graphics including the Terms and Guidelines.  Touchcast requires users to be 13 years of age.  A free account gives you one hour of non-commercial content.

To begin I selected the download Desktop version.  A small window appears on the screen asking for your email address to use this beta version.  A link is sent to your email address immediately for downloading the application.

After the download a series of screens welcomes you to TouchCast, guides you in its use (touch the screen to open the vApps), explains features such as channels, ReCast and leaving comments and directs you to Watch for watching and exploring and Cast for making and sharing your own TouchCast. You can then register through Facebook or via an email address.  During the sign-up process you can enter in a logo for your channel or add details to your profile. 

If you choose to Watch, again tabs are available for featured, trending and channels.  You can view your TouchFeed (channels you like to watch) and bookmarks (Touchcasts you've selected).  When you choose Cast the screen below appears.  

Those images in the center of the screens are replaced with whoever is in front of your camcorder in a matter of seconds. I decided to select a theme first.   You pick your theme by using the right-hand arrow to scroll through the options (NEWS CAST, BUSINESSCAST, SPORTCAST, Here's How, Review It:, Travel Diary).  With the announcement of author Kate DiCamillo as the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, I thought I would try to make a TouchCast gathering resources.

When a selection is made a window prompts you to choose a title and search terms for beginning your TouchCast.

With that completed another overlay appears giving you directions.

For some reason the Twitter feed was adding any tweets with the name Kate in them, so I decided not to use it.  Google News seemed to consistently use Kate DiCamillo.  I then added web pages and a YouTube video to my video apps.  As each one is added they appear at the bottom of the page.  You can scroll through them by clicking on the Next Video App button.  

Each time you add an app you can either search using a term or enter in a URL.  I noticed when adding a YouTube video you need to use the URL at the top of the page rather than the one given in the share bar.  In order for any of these to be added, you need to be in preview mode before the green Add to video button (in the upper right-hand corner) is operative. 

When you add video apps you will have two screen options.  The blue frame allows you to size the app (For some reason I was unable to resize the apps on the screen even though the option is available except for the YouTube video.  It could be my computer.), minimize or hide the app or switch to the red frame.  When the app is framed in red you can interact within the app screen.

When you have your apps ready you can begin recording by clicking on the button in the lower right-hand corner.  To tell you the truth I was a bit nervous to begin knowing I was going to stick to the one-take rule. As you are recording simply click on the apps to add them to the video. 

You can also add graphics, a whiteboard, effects, and manipulate camera choices. (images move from right to left on the lower tool bar)

When you have finished recording, click on the done button.  You are then taken to a screen where your TouchCast is previewed. After previewing you can save the created TouchCast or re-record.  When you save the TouchCast sharing options through Facebook, Twitter and via email are made available.  I decided to click the large share button.

A new window appears uploading your TouchCast.  When viewing a TouchCast anything added to the video can be viewed in real time by simply clicking on it.  The video will continue as you are exploring those items which have been added.  Here is the link to my Touchcast about the New Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Kate DiCamillo.

I spent hours today exploring this new application, TouchCast.  There are many outstanding features which I did not include in my video or use in its creation.  As I stated in my TouchCast, this would be a fantastic tool to use in the classroom setting.  I highly recommend Touchcast.  


  1. Terrific step-by-step guide. Thank you for sharing. Please let us know if you have any questions (I am a co-founder).

    1. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. Your kind words are appreciated. As I use the app more I will keep track of any questions.