TouchCast App – I Want To Go To There


The Intro

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*Update-Looks like my links will only open in Chrome or Safari for the time being.  Just download the dang app and you won’t have to worry about this.*

Let me get to the point with this so called TouchCast app. Download it, now! If you are planning on flipping your classroom or having students present collaborative and interactive videos, this iPad app really caters to you. (Here’s my TouchCast Channel)

The only draw back with TouchCast is that you’ll really need to plan out your videos. But once you do a little planning, it’s simply a matter of tapping tabs and special features which you’ll find plenty of in the vApps section. On the completely opposite end of the Vine app, which you sort of point and taps for six seconds of unplanned and, usually, uninteresting video, TouchCast requires that you sit down and have some sort of inkling as to what your intention is during your video session. I downloaded this app a few weeks ago and, because I was intimidated by the taps and all of the video options, I backed away. I shouldn’t have.

Unlike EVERYTHING ELSE OUT THERE (and I’m including iMovie, most screen casts websites and apps, and Videoliscious), Touchcast allows your videos to be interactive…what?! Yes, while anyone views your videos in TouchCast, even weeks later, they can tap the Twitter feeds or webpages you post and interact with them in real time. If you upload a TouchCast to YouTube, however, this ability will not be available. To see the real magic, your viewers should have this app downloaded.

You get five minutes to do or say nearly anything you want. There are so many bells and whistles that there is not exaggeration when I use the phrase “anything”.

The two biggest lessons I’ve learned using this wonderful video app is (1) plan, plan, plan and (2) don’t be afraid to call a time out (ie. pause the video to gather your thoughts).

The Details: Camera Tab

IMG_1564[1]Are you jealous at how many times Presidents Obama and Bush got to use their teleprompters to give speeches, meanwhile, you have to address your classes, day in and day out, off the top of your noggin?! Among many other bells and whistles, TouchCast, like a public speaking Prometheus, has bestowed to the common man a teleprompter!

Other features (from left to right): Teleprompter Speed, Teleprompter Toggle, Overlay Opacity (making an image “see-through” to varying degrees), Mic Monitor Toggles Mic On/Off, Camera Toggle, Guides, Lock Brightness (so your iPad doesn’t adjust abruptly), and Swap Camera to show stuff in front of you.

Details: Effects Tab

IMG_1565[1]Under the Effects tab you can change the video filter much like you can in Instagram and every other app out there that takes videos or pics. You can take advantage of the “greenscreen” ability…but I don’t know how yet. The sad part is that a couple elementary age school girls in England (The Minecraft Girls) totally rocked the “green screen” effect. I’m sure I’ll rise to their level one day. Finally, sound effects are my favorite toy under this tab. You can add applause, laughter, crying, “ohhs” and “ahhs”. I only wish I could embed a laugh track in my real life. I think I’d be more content with how things have turned out.

Details: Whiteboard Tab

IMG_1566[1]In TouchCast you also get your standard whiteboard, text tools, eraser, clear board, and hide board options. This is reminiscent of the “explain everything” app. You have a pallette of eight colors with your marker option. Your surface option allows for whiteboard, chalkboard (finally!), and glass. With glass, as I’m sure you can guess, you can pull up an image and mark all over it.

Details: Titles Tab

IMG_1567[1]Under the titles tab there really isn’t much to see here…or is there!? If you’re using your full 5 minutes that TouchCast allots you, you can use titles to show transition between topics that you’re covering. Above you can see that I made a separate title for each of the tabs so viewers, if confused by my mumbling, could see which tab I was reviewing. Add to this ability the fact that you can place a timer on the title (2 -30 seconds or “stay on”), and you can host a real live news cast!

Details: vApps Tab

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Here it is. The best part, for my money.

vApps allow you to pull in quite nearly any media from the internet and KEEP IT INTERACTIVE weeks or months after you’ve posted your video. This means that if you pull up a website into your video, viewers of your video can tap on links hosted on that website and interact with your video! The limiation, of course, is that this only works through the TouchCast app. If you post your video to YouTube the magical interaction won’t work.

After you’ve added a vApp, you can choose to enlarge it to full screen, half screen or quarter screen. You can see all four orientations here.

TIPS

Plan, plan, plan…in other words, for a quality video you will need to choreograph. Please understand that I’m not saying that I’m there, but I’m working on it. It can get complicated. You’ll need to decide when to turn your camera on or when to turn it off and feature a screen wide image instead of your mug, you’ll need to plan the use of your effects, you’ll need to decide when you will need to tab “whiteboard” to mark on your screen and when to tap on another tab to switch features, you’ll need to time your titles, and know when a vApp needs to be enabled or disabled. Once you do all this, my son, you’ll be a man.

Along with this planning, know when to call a time-out. Dont try to video the entire 5 minutes in one sitting.  You call time out by simply tapping the record button to pause the video. Course correction is always important the longer your video will be. In the two videos (intro and aurasma) I’ve done so far I pressed pause about every 30 seconds or so, just to make sure I stuck to my poorly written script. The teleprompter makes this easy and should be utilized.

Finally, uploading YouTube videos doesn’t work at this point. You’ll just see a blank screen. However, this is the iOs’s fault and not the app’s. Apple will be coming out with iOs 7 in early September, I’ve read, which will take care of this problem.

Conclusion

Love may be too strong a word…but I don’t care. I love this app (especially when the YouTube thing gets fixed)!

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About Thrasymachus

2013 Northwest ISD teacher of the year, Humanities Texas 2012 Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, and 2011 Outstanding Educator of North Texas Award (North Central Texas College). I'm currently a Regional Digital Learning Consultant with the Education Service Center Region 11 in Ft. Worth, Texas and a college government educator who incorporates philosophy, technology & humor. A student through and through, I walk with my students in their learning. Most importantly, I'm blessed with the 3 most perfect kids eva! I love on them ery day!!!
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One Response to TouchCast App – I Want To Go To There

  1. I have been playing around a bit with this app, too. Good job on your Augmented Reality video! I’m still thinking about my first video, definitely want to take advantage of the vApps!

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