The No.1 App for Every Teacher….

Not all apps are created equal.

The first version of Explain Everything was good. The second version is outstanding.

As an educator my life revolves around learning, organisation, workflow and school requirements. Lessons are delivered, work is assessed and data is recorded. Thankfully new technologies are providing ways of coping with the increasing demands. Explain Everything is central to my current workflow.

At its base level Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard into which you can insert text, pictures and videos. This can be shared with a class through the projector or sent to individuals as required via a number of export options. However, this is not where the power of Explain Everything lies. The power is in the application and its suitability inside and outside the classroom.

An existing presentation can be imported into the app from a Dropbox or GoogleDrive account. This can be displayed at the front of the class whilst the teacher or students annotate the slides. An explanation can be recorded at the same time and this can be exported as a movie file to be watched by the students. In short you can keep a record of every lesson/plenary you do in class for the students to watch at a later date.

Similarly a teacher can record anything that happens in class, via the camera, and then annotate/comment on the work. Again, this project can then be shared with individuals or the whole class.

(courtesy of Digital First Ohio State)

As you can see from the ‘how to’ video there are a number of different functions in the new version of Explain Everything that lend themselves to the classroom. However, I firmly believe the real benefit can be seen outside the classroom walls. As you sit collating resources for a lesson, they can all be brought into the app to share with students. A simple commentary on the resources can become a starter presentation, a resource to look at before the lesson, or a stimulus for a student who needs further guidance. These short ‘videos’ can then become the basis for a ‘flipped classroom‘ approach.

Explain Everything can also have an impact on assessment. With a student’s piece of work inserted into the app an educator has the opportunity to annotate and comment at the same time. As you highlight key areas the commentary allows for explanation and the posing of further questions. Again, this can be exported to the student as a movie file. (I can strongly recommend setting up an unlisted YouTube account for this purpose. That way you only need to share the link with the student and it isn’t available to the wider public.)

This process is complemented by the recording of video to illustrate a point and the use of that video, annotation and commentary to highlight key areas to enhance learning. One example could be taken from a model answer script. A 5 minute explanation with annotation, that can be paused and reflected upon by the student, is a key weapon in a teachers arsenal. There’s no reason the students can’t do the same and create a bank of resources for each other and future revision. The video can also act as a further visual stimulus to support the learning of an individual.

Explain Everything is a ‘must-have’ application for teachers who have access to an iPad. It really does support the learning process inside and outside the classroom and is a key part of my own working practice. I can recommend spending a little time importing a few resources and sharing your efforts with students. Their feedback is always telling.

About Daniel Edwards
Director of Innovation & Learning at the Stephen Perse Foundation schools, Cambridge, UK ( Interested in global connectivity for all and risk taking in education. Keen to discuss all aspects of learning and digital strategy. Also @syded06 on twitter.

31 Responses to The No.1 App for Every Teacher….

  1. cgparkin says:

    The iTunesU course that explores the app in great detail is certainly worth a look too. I’m part way through it and having the chance to make sure that you can access ALL the functionality is fantastic.
    Thanks for a great round up post!

  2. Wanda says:

    I use it with first grade students and it is the best app in my collection!

  3. We love this app in Kindergarten!

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  5. blacca says:

    Thank you for a thourough explanation. This is an app I played with when I first got my iPad, but haven’t done much with since. I had forgoten how poerful it is. I’m off to find the iTunes U course & start learning!

  6. Love this app… I’ve been using it with kids from the first to sixth grade… The more you think about how it could be used, the more ideas you get! I completely agree: this is the number 1 app for the iPad!!

    This is a post I did about Explain Everything the other day:

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  9. courtneypepe says:

    Screencasting is very innovative. Moving towards the upper half of the SAMR model in our digital classrooms.

  10. Andy says:

    Anyone know of an android equivalent?!

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  14. Cristina says:

    Can you go back and continue working on a saved presentation (unlike Educreations)?

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  19. Dessie Tennyson says:

    Great post Daniel. Without doubt Explain Everything is the jewel in the crown of a successful 1:1 iPad school!

  20. Jim Gates says:

    I love the idea of students starting a project and saving it as a Project file to a shared Dropbox folder. As a Project file it can be reopened in Explain Everything. The project is then picked up by a teammate who adds to it. That process is repeated until the last teammate has contributed to the project. It is then saved as a movie file to dropbox for everyone to see. A WONDERFUL collaborative tool.

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  23. jps225 says:

    Next time tell me it s your #1 APPLE product so I can ignore it. Great App-useless for my class.

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