Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Provide Your Students the Opportunity to Create With Explain Everything

Our goal as educators is to engage our learners.  We all know that it's not so simple.  Engagement involves not just action but interaction.  Action could be perceived as the teachers teaching the new material in a lecture format.  It is purely one dimensional and teacher-centered.  Interaction entails that the students are interacting with the teacher and/or with the content being taught.  They are learning the content through a multi-sensory approach.  The more opportunities a learner is provided to connect with the new knowledge, the greater chance he/she will grasp it. Years ago, students reading their textbooks in front of them was considered to be interaction.  Not anymore.  What's the best way to have students interact with the content for purposes of mastery?  Give them a chance to create something with it, according to the new version of Bloom's Taxonomy.  And if you're looking for an app that will allow your students to do that, then you must use Explain Everything.

Developed by MorrisCookeExplain Everything is an easy-to-use design tool that lets you annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations. You can create dynamic interactive lessons, activities, assessments, and tutorials using Explain Everything's flexible and integrated design. Use Explain Everything as an interactive whiteboard using the iPad video display (via Airplay/cable).  

But to say that Explain Everything is merely a note taking tool or even an interactive whiteboard does not do it justice.  Explain Everything allows one to create screencasts and so much more.  You can insert a web browser for live annotations and basic recordings.  Explain Everything records on-screen drawing, annotation, object movement and captures audio via the iPad microphone.  You can create slides, draw in any color, add shapes, add text, and use a laser pointer. Rotate, move, scale, copy, paste, clone, and lock any object added to the stage.  

You can import many types of files into the app. This includes but is not limited to: photos, PDF, PPT, XLS, RTF, Pages, Numbers and Keynote from Dropbox, Evernote, Box, WebDAV, Email, iPad photo roll and the iPad camera. Export MP4 movie files, PNG image files, PDFs and share the .XPL project file with others for collaboration. One of the many benefits of using Explain Everything for creating screencasts is that unlike hosting websites, the user becomes the owner of the screencast.  This means that they can be fully downloaded as mp4 files and shared with others instead of just being embedded online.  When you’ve finished recording your presentation, you can reorder your screens and then export your presentation in a variety of ways (email a link, post to YouTube, or upload to Dropbox or Evernote).  This is a perfect opportunity for your students to share what they have created with you and with their parents as well.

To learn more about what Explain Everything can do, watch the video below. The website also provides  video guides and print guides to help users navigate the tools, along with an online showcase for some inspiration.

Some website reviews:
The different pieces you draw, type or import become objects that can individually be manipulated (resized, deleted and are treated to be a on a layer that can be send to back, front, etc)
[…] Export features: I am not forced to upload the video file to the company’s site. I have CHOICES! I can export a screenshot of the slide I created to my Photo Roll (this feature is huge for me, since I can now import the movie file directly from here into iMovie on the iPad and make the screencast part of a larger movie), via e-mail, to Dropbox or Evernote.
I am typically quite skeptical when I come across paid apps that do the same thing as free ones. That being said… I have been looking for an advanced screencasting app for some time and was quite elated with the features, design, and potential Explain Everything promised.

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