This is an excerpt from one of the chapters in my book entitled Interactive Stories with Google Slides. The book uses the concept of creating interactive stories to teach students a variety of skills in Google Slides. Using Screencastify to add audio to slides is just one of those skills you will learn in this book.
Add Audio to Google Slides with Screencastify
Adding audio to a slide is a good way to differentiate content for struggling readers and writers. It can be used for second language learners. Teachers that teach foreign languages can create slides that demonstrate language with sentences or vocabulary words. Students can record their voice and add it to slides when presenting in front of the class. This is especially useful for very shy students. Older students can create stories for younger students where elements of the story are read to them.
Adding audio to Google Slides is not actually currently possible. Slides do not play audio but they do play video. We will be using the audio from a video to simulate a voice-over audio recording.
There are several applications that can be used to create a video. Feel free to use one of those applications. I will be using a free application that works nicely with Chromebook and the Chrome browser on most computers. Apart from using this application the process to use video in the slide will be the same regardless of which application is used to create the video.
The Screencastify extension is available for the Chrome browser and Chromebook. Screencastify is designed to create screen recordings of content on a computer desktop or browser. The extension can be installed from the Google Chrome Store.
To get to the Chrome Store we can type “https://chrome.google.com/webstore” in the Chrome address bar.
We can also use the Chrome Browser Apps launcher to access the store.
On a Chromebook click on the Launcher in the lower left corner and look for the web store icon.
Type “screencastify” in the Chrome Web Store search box and press the return key on the keyboard to search for the extension.
The Screencastify extension should be the first one that appears on the results page.
Click the “Add to Chrome” button to install the extension.
A confirmation box will open. Click the “Add extension” button to begin the installation.
A message box below the installed extension will inform us that the extension has been installed. The extension looks like a film strip. Click the extension to begin the setup process.
An information page will open that provides options for saving video recordings. We are provided with the option to save the video onto our Google Drive account or onto our local computer. The recommendation on the page is to store the videos on Google Drive.
I recommend storing recordings on Google Drive for a variety of reasons. Recorded videos are saved in an open source format called WebM. This is part of the open media project designed to make video web-friendly in a high-quality format for the Internet. This video cannot be edited with traditional software installed on Mac or Windows. Software to edit this video needs to be installed. This is typically Adobe software. Special software is also needed to view the video on Mac or Windows. The VLC Media player can be used on Mac or Windows to view WebM video. Videos take lots of storage and typical Chromebook computers do not have a lot of storage.
Storing videos in Google Drive makes it easy to quickly add them to Google Slides. The videos can be viewed online with the Screencastify extension and they can be shared with others.
Select the option to store the videos in Google Drive and click the “Next” button.
In the next step, we will be prompted to Log into your Google account.
If you have multiple Google accounts you will be prompted to select an account. If you have only one account, then you will be prompted to enter the email address and password or just the password.
A Screencastify page will open. The page provides information about the features available with the extension and pricing options for additional features.
The subscription option includes basic editing tools within the extension.
Recording web video
Return to the Google Slide tab and click the Screencastify extension again.
A recording panel will open below the extension icon.
Our goal is to record audio, so the displayed object of our recording doesn’t really matter much. It could be the desktop or a web page.
Keeping in mind that the video can be viewed by anyone with access to edit the slideshow. I recommend recording the slide that is related to the audio. I have the title slide of my presentation set for my first recording.
Select the tab option to record content from the Chrome browser web page. Selecting the tab option will prevent the recording of extra content on the screen like the browser title bar, address bar, bottom bar or other tabs if they are visible.
Before recording, check to make sure the microphone is working. The green meter should move up and down as the microphone detects sound.
If the microphone doesn’t appear to be picking up a sound, click the microphone selector to the right of the microphone icon and select the built-in microphone or an external microphone if one is connected to the computer. If you are using an external microphone, make sure it is turned on.
Click the “Setup Tab Recording” button at the bottom of the recording panel.
Screencastify will prompt us to give it permission to record content from the tab. Click the “Allow” button.
The Screencastify panel will close. Click the extension again to open the recording panel.
Click the record button at the bottom of the panel.
A three-second countdown timer will begin.
The contents of the webpage tab are now being recorded. A blue bar will appear on the tab that is being recorded.
A set of tools will appear at the bottom of the tab. Some of these tools can be used to annotate content on the page. These annotations will be recorded as part of the video. We won’t need to use these tools during this recording.
Click the “Present” button. Using presentation mode hides the slides on the left and other tools used for creating and editing slide content.
During presentation mode, the annotation tools will remain visible so we can use them if needed. Press the “ESC” key on the keyboard to exit presentation mode.
The Screencastify icon changes to include a red recording dot. Click the Screencastify extension icon.
Click the “End Recording” button.