Screencastify: Inspiring learning with easily created and managed videos

About Screencastify

Screencastify is a free screen recorder available on Chrome that enables video recording, editing, and sharing without requiring a download or software expertise. A Google for Education partner, Screencastify adds an invaluable resource to educators who use the solutions to engage and educate students.

Industries: Education
Location: United States

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Screencastify delivers video recording, editing, and sharing tools to educators through Chromebooks as a Chrome extension.

Google Cloud results

  • Supports 8x overnight growth in users amid COVID-19 pandemic
  • Streamlines data transfers between Drive and other Google Cloud products
  • Maintains consistent total cost of ownership regardless of scale

Enables seamless scaling from 10,000 to 1 million users

Video is everywhere today and impacts how people experience daily life. However, giving people ready access to tools to create, edit, and produce videos is challenging.

As demand for video increases in classrooms, education technology (EdTech) companies are working to bring accessible and cost-effective video tools to millions of students and educators around the world.

“As soon as we introduced Screencastify to educators, adoption was rapid and completely organic,” says James Francis, Chief Executive Officer of Screencastify. Screencastify started as a provider of a simple Chrome extension for screencast creation, but has since rolled out more complete video tools. “We found the perfect fit for educators wanting to use video creation to enhance learning but who didn’t have the budget or time to learn complex software.”

“As a small company with so many people using our services, it would have been impossible to manage our IT environment without Google Cloud. We decided to use low-maintenance, auto-scaling cloud offerings from the beginning, so we would not have to worry about IT scalability because it happens automatically for us.”

Manu Braun, founder and Chief Technology Officer, Screencastify

After experiencing rapid growth—from 10,000 to 100,000 to 1 million users—Screencastify investigated why there was so much recent interest from educators to adopt their product. One thing was certain—they needed to scale quickly to meet the growing demand. As the company worked to build its team and product in the US, it needed the right cloud services provider to manage worldwide maintenance with a small team and accelerate new app development.

Screencastify decided to use a set of Google Cloud solutions, including Python on App Engine and Datastore, to better serve its rapidly growing customer base. This deliberate choice made from the beginning prevented the company from worrying about scale and unnecessary maintenance overhead down the road.

Small team, millions of videos

Screencastify’s small, bootstrapped team serves a global customer base of millions of users, each creating dozens of videos each year. To achieve its IT goals, the company decided to use Google Kubernetes Engine for its cluster management, Firebase for web hosting, and Firestore as a database engine.

“As a small company with so many people using our services, it would have been impossible to manage our IT environment without Google Cloud,” says Manu Braun, founder and Chief Technology Officer of Screencastify. “We decided to use low-maintenance, auto-scaling cloud offerings from the beginning, so we would not have to worry about IT scalability because it happens automatically for us.”

“Data transfer is such a massive part of our business. We store millions of videos every week in Drive, and we had costs associated with that. The fact that Google Cloud delivers a scalable, versatile, and cost-effective environment enables us to tap into all the opportunities in education and offer educators the best possible solutions at the lowest possible price.”

James Francis, Chief Executive Officer, Screencastify

Screencastify also takes advantage of Google Workspace integrations to connect Drive to enable data transfers from backend infrastructure to customers. This allows the company to quickly and cost-effectively scale.

“Data transfer is such a massive part of our business,” says James. “We store millions of videos every week in Drive, and we had costs associated with that. The fact that Google Cloud delivers a scalable, versatile, and cost-effective environment enables us to tap into all the opportunities in education and offer educators the best possible solutions at the lowest possible price.”

Equipped with a more powerful infrastructure, Screencastify has also successfully navigated major shifts in education today, including shifting its business to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Process diagram

Helping students learn from anywhere, anytime

Screencastify found that it’s most valuable offering was giving educators the ability to easily record videos for individual students and classes, providing students with on-demand lessons they can watch as frequently and whenever they need.

“If a student is out one day, takes longer than other classmates to grasp a subject, or even learns faster than other students, educators can use Screencastify to enable more customized learning,” says James. “This has been especially powerful with schools closed due to COVID-19 because educators can record and make lessons available on demand.”

Although most students learn best with face-to-face interaction, including web meetings, it can be difficult to coordinate lessons due to scheduling, technical challenges, and other factors. With Screencastify, educators can record lessons that students can watch on Chromebooks to help them stay on top of their subjects.

Combining a simple video production tool with Drive allows educators to share content directly through Google Classroom and get lessons into students’ hands with ease.

“We focused on the time from when a teacher finishes recording a video to when that video is watched by students,” says James. “That’s typically a time-intensive process for educators, and every step we can eliminate in that process is tremendously valuable. It’s a big reason why educators have chosen Screencastify as their trusted platform to make and share videos.”

“We view Google as having the best offerings for schools, and Chromebook extensions allowed us to scale to serve more students and educators. We wanted to build on the power and reach of Google solutions to further improve opportunities for teaching and learning.”

James Francis, Chief Executive Officer, Screencastify

A more flexible curricula

Screencastify is available on Chromebooks, integrated with Google Classroom, and can be used through a Chrome extension. The company attributes much of its success in reaching millions of students and educators to a strong relationship with Google for Education.

“We view Google as having the best offerings for schools, and Chromebook extensions allowed us to scale to serve more students and educators,” says James. “We wanted to build on the power and reach of Google solutions to further improve opportunities for teaching and learning.”

Screencastify works closely with Google Cloud to improve its own solutions, while strengthening the power of Google for Education for educators and students. The relationship with Google was critical when COVID-19 set in. Google Cloud developers and other support staff helped Screencastify handle the 8x growth of users that occurred almost overnight without incurring a huge increase in spending.

Screencastify plans to soon release new services such as a Screencastify Submit tool that allows students to submit videos directly to their educators. It also includes a browser-based video editor that simplifies complex edits, merging multiple videos, cropping, and more. These features are powered by Google Kubernetes Engine, so the company can scale with the increasing demand for digital education solutions.

“The ubiquity of Chromebooks in education coupled with an ever-growing ecosystem of learning tools in Google for Education has helped Screencastify thrive. We know this is just the beginning as more educators rely on technology to deliver richer, more interactive curricula to students,” says James.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Screencastify

Screencastify is a free screen recorder available on Chrome that enables video recording, editing, and sharing without requiring a download or software expertise. A Google for Education partner, Screencastify adds an invaluable resource to educators who use the solutions to engage and educate students.

Industries: Education
Location: United States

*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.