Explain Everything

“Explain Everything” is an interactive whiteboard and screen casting tool at the same time. It is useful to create lessons, tutorials and any kind of presentations. It allows you to annotate videos while you narrate them. The videos can come from power points that have been previously created or made from groups of pictures that you have on your iPad. Actually, it allows you to use an array of unexpected sources. You can also select items from a cloud storage or a pdf document.

Ann Elliot who wrote for Edudemic said that this application stands apart from the other competitors that she has tested and makes it the best of its kind. She says it is user-friendly, compatible and there were no features she found she wanted more when she used it.Before going any further, let’s start by checking out a short tutorial from youtube:

This application was designed for educational, business, and entertainment settings and is used by thousands of people all over the world according. Even though the application is not free, the price is cost effective. The reviews on internet mention $2.99, but in fact, the price is now $3.49. I found it myself after downloading the application. The developer offers a 50% volume discount to anyone who works in the field of education and wants to buy it.

Mark Fijor from NewSchool Technology said that this application is a must have and they have installed the apps on all students’ iPads in his school. He mentions that teachers enjoy using it in the classroom and kids like to work with it to show solutions to problem solving activities.He also adds the fact that it is now possible to use the front-facing camera to record yourself while creating a screen cast.

The creator and seller of this application is Morris Cooke. Their website offers many tutorials on the commonly used features of the application and the videos are very well done. The steps are explained in an easy and comprehensible way. It is worth taking the time to look at them in order to be able to use the different options efficiently.

With this application, it is possible to:
 Import and insert any document, picture or video.
 Move and animate all objects and texts.
 Draw and annotate at the same time you record your voice.
 Zoom and pan.
 Record and play with the possibility to edit as you wish.
 Export and share.

How to use it: On opening the application, there is a page that appears where all your projects are saved. To create a new document, the plus sign has to be clicked on, this will give you options of four colour templates. When the colour is chosen, the interactive board will appear ready for you to export, create, narrate etc. To add slides, you have to click on the plus sign at the bottom of the screen. You can navigate through your slides by clicking on the right or left arrow if you want to see the previous slide or the next one. If you click on the indication of your slides at this same place, there is a template change option that will appear. Keep your finger on a slide to switch places with another one or press longer and an X will appear on the corner of it to give you the choice to delete it or even duplicate it. Among the different tools, there is a pen with five different options of thickness. Automatically by choosing the pen, the eraser is available with three possible sizes. Everything you draw or write becomes an object, to delete it completely, it is possible by clicking on the X. There is also a choice of colours, options to create shadows (transparency) and borders. The application also comes with a laser tool and there are different forms of pointers like a hand and arrows. The “i” in the box permits you to arrange your objects by duplicating, copying, pasting, bringing them to front, back, lock them in place, etc. There is possibility to add text with the choice of different font, size and border, just to name a few. You can also go to google map or any page on the web and find an image that you want, press the home and the sleep awake button at the same time and it will take a picture of that image. It will be automatically inserted in the photo roll of your application. If you import 20 photos all at once, the project will open with the same amount of slides. A picture can also be taken directly from the camera of the iPad. When you press and hold the triangle beside the record button, another triangle will appear above it and permits you to hear and see all the project if you have selected the first slide. The application has the option of selecting a web page and insert it in one of the slides. It is even possible to navigate on the web page, annotate and record with live browsing of the web.

My opinion: About “Explain Everything”, I really like the fact that you can download website pages, take instant pictures from the iPad and annotate directly on them. The possibilities of making imaginative videos is infinite. I wish the company would put in more choices of colours. It is limited compared to what other programs offer such as Word, but this is just a minor thing. Furthermore, I wish the application would have an integrated music list to use just like iMovie has. I think it would add a little something but would probably distract students from their work. I would not particularly have young students use the application even though it is quite easy to use with the touch of a fingertip, but it takes a few try outs before being really comfortable in managing the recording, the annotating and all the rest. Surely, the children would find it interesting to create projects and presentations and then share it virtually with others. It definitely will teach them important presentation and technoloical skills. I remember one project that a grade 6 had to do on historical facts of Québec. They had to act out an event and film themselves and do video editing, adding comments and slides, this would be perfect for this kind of project. Since projects can be uploaded on Dropbox, it allows you to share lessons with a substitute teacher and play it as a video in the teacher’s absence. Moreover, students who missed a class can also preview lessons later on.

In conclusion, this app is for students, teachers and those who want to make their own videos just for the fun of it (like making a video of your last exciting trekking trip in Spain!). In one of my classes, I had to create a video and this application was just the one I needed to do what I wanted. The use of this application in class will permit the creation of interesting lessons for children. I now agree with Santosh Bhaskar from Edtechreview  who said “Technology not only makes a lesson interesting but also reduces the effort of teachers in making it interesting”.

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