Enhance Your Coaching Emails With Video PD


Jen Layden, district technology integration coach in Wisconsin, highlights four video tools that have been game-changers for providing PD and student feedback, plus some practical advice on making them work for you.


uring the pandemic, coaches turned to technology to find new ways of working. One of the best features to emerge, and something that has become the new normal, is coaching through video. It's my "go-to" method when meeting in person is not possible or if I want to reach a wider audience at once. I can describe, demonstrate, and share helpful pointers through email embedded videos and video links. Providing staff with videos demonstrating tips and tech tools has proven invaluable.

These tools can also be incredibly valuable for student connection. Many teachers report that students rarely respond to comments posted on their work. To deliver meaningful feedback that's difficult to ignore, try sending students video feedback using the following tools. Below I'll dive into some tools you can use to do just that.

cloudHQ video

At DitchedCon, Italy Wallace presented the coaching tools that have worked for her, introducing the cloudHQ video tool. With this tool, you can send your staff an email with a video embedded. This is a major benefit over traditional video tools because recipients have everything at their fingertips without ever leaving the email.

Whenever I use this tool with staff, the likelihood of them watching the video and gaining something from my email increases dramatically. The positive feedback has been nothing short of amazing. Staff highlight how it saves time, as they don’t have to click on multiple links to get to the tech tip, making them more likely to engage with the email message.

Making it work: the lowdown

  • Add the extensionLayden - cloudHQ
  • In your email, click the video icon
  • Record your video
  • Do a happy dance and send your email with the video embedded


Embedding a gif within your email is another great way to capture attention. I use the ScreenToGif tool to create super short, sound free "mini-movies." These can be used for a quick show and tell of tech tips or help solve a problem that needs fixing in a hurry. As I travel between 5 buildings, it isn’t always possible for me to be there on the spot. However, I can always make a quick demo video. Once created, I can save the gif to my desktop, grab it as an inline image, and send it in an email.

Layden - ScreenToGif

The whiteboard feature is another useful function of this tool. Instead of recording the screen, you can record a whiteboard drawing. Pro Tip: Use this to show math thinking during how-to videos!

Making it work: the lowdown

  • Download the desktop app
  • Open the app
  • Resize the box around the area you want to record
  • Click the red record button
  • Save as a gif (from the right sidebar menu)
  • Click on the picture icon in your email and upload the gif from your desktop (or wherever it's saved)


Over the past two years, Screencastify has been one of our district's most used tools. The extension allows you to screencast anything on your device, including multiple windows, browser tabs, and your desktop. You can choose to include your face or not (for those days when you are not Facetime ready). I also like the fact that I can choose whether or not to include audio. There are some quick demos that I can send out to staff where my narration is not necessary.

In the premium version, you can zoom in for emphasis, add text overlay, or insert questions into the video. This extension makes it super easy to share the video when you are done: via a Drive link, website link or download. Once shared, you can see who has viewed your recording, which is a great way to check how well your message is received.

Layden - Screencastify

Making it work: the lowdown

  • Add the extension for Screencastify
  • Find the pink arrow in your extension toolbar
  • Choose what you want to record (if you want to toggle between views, make sure to select “desktop”)
  • Record
  • Share the video via the share link, save it to your Drive, or download it and send


Flipgrid is a one-stop-shop tool that you can use to screencast, mirror videos, and add any frame, sticker, text, or filter you want. One of my favorite things about this web-based tool is that it's “forever-free”. Kids also love creating videos with Flipgrid, so it's a fantastic tool to keep in your coaching toolbox.

For coaching, you can create stand-alone videos through “Shorts”. This simple-to-use editing tool can be used on uploaded content, screencasts or on-the-spot footage under ten minutes long. You can use the same filters, frames, stickers, background changing, and mirroring that students have access to. With the ability to change backgrounds, there's no longer a need for green screen apps like DoInk.

Making it work: the lowdown

  • Create a free Flipgrid account
  • Set up a class group if you wish, then assign a topic
  • Or, if using for coaching or stand-alone video, click on your name in the top-right corner and select "shorts"
  • Use the menu options at the bottom to select your preferred tools, then hit record!
  • Once recorded, crop and edit as needed, then submit and share

Pro Tip: check out a how-to on using tools here

Final note

Woah, I know that may be information overload, but whether it is out of need or desire to mix it up, video can be a game-changer for coaching for both students and teachers. If we learned anything during the pandemic about technology, it's that it's here to stay.

P.S. Don't forget to comment below which tool(s) you plan on trying out or any alternatives you currently like to use.

About our Guest Blogger

Jen Layden is in her fifth year as the district technology integration coach in Ashwaubenon (think Lambeau Field) Wisconsin. She began her career in education as a 1st grade teacher in 2004 and has taught for over 15 years in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. Jen received her bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Stevens Point and holds a master's degree in Education from Viterbo.

Outside of work, Jen enjoys spending time with her husband, two kids and dog who all love camping and hiking. Jen also loves doing photography, going to musicals, rocking out to 80’s music and chasing waterfalls with her kids and camera in tow. She has recently taken up tennis with her son to prove just how unathletic she really is #NotAthletic!

Be sure to follow Jen on Twitter @layden_jen!

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