Or click on this link to view as slideshow in Explain Everything
Project: Mobile Media Project
Tool: Explain Everything
Platforms: iPad, chromebook, android, and Windows devices
What is it: “Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool with real-time collaboration that lets you animate, record, annotate, collaborate, and explore ideas, knowledge and understanding.”
Explain Everything is a slide-sharing program that has been around for a while and I totally missed its debut. It was a frequently used app with coworkers last year and on first glance, I didn’t see what all the hype was about: it just looked like a drawing program to me. So I downloaded to take a look-see and it is so much more. It’s not only an interactive whiteboard app, but I had no idea it could also screencast—something I had been looking for on the iPad. When you open it up, there is a plain whiteboard with tools lining the left of the screen to create graphics with. There is some variety, but not nearly as much of you were using a program like Gimp. But this is geared more toward mobility, so simplicity is more desirable. There are fine drawing implements: pencil and felt pen tools. Also, there are text, zoom, pointing, eraser, and a few more. And after your presentation is finished, it can easily be exported to 17 or so different places depending on the format you wish use: video, PDF, image, or project.
One of the first things I immediately liked was the ability to pull in images and photos, PDFs and word docs, and animate and manipulate them. They can be moved around and resized for a variety of combinations. Pulling in “real” media makes a sort of AR effect when you can animate and record on top of the images and generate yet another layer of communication. Say you ask your students to make a video on how to do something. For example, how to use a table router for woodcraft class. The teacher can make comments and overlay specific feedback he/she is making. Teachers can even upload destinations or objects and overlay with notes they want kids to learn. A picture of the Tower of London can be annotated with components and historical data. Very importantly, Explain Everything can be projected and used in a classroom in lieu of a traditional whiteboard in synchronous learning situations. The Laser pointer tools are nicely designed for this sort of instruction. The education reach is incredible.
The record function sits along the bottom. This is something I haven’t seen before and makes the depth of this app more surprising. This is really cool because you can use this to create an audio narration for educational content for your students. Or you can have students record their thoughts as they generate their presentation. This can also be used for assessment or simply helping students work through processes. Say he/she is struggling with graphing an equation. They could work through the problem and record on the whiteboard, then the teacher can playback and note places that a student needs help. This is HUGE in the area of individualized instruction. Additionally, even though this app is geared toward education, it would also be a great for businesses as a powerful marketing and training tool.
As far as usability, there is a moderate amount of learning involved such as accessing line widths, colors, etc…, but not difficult at all to master in a short amount of time. I would highly recommend this app and look forward to using it on projects in the future.