It’s been called “The Swiss Army Knife” of Apps!
I’m talking about Explain Everything. This app, available for iOS, Windows, Chrome and Android platforms, was shown to me by, Rhys Daunic (The Media Spot) while recently attending URI’s Summer Institute in Digital Literacy. This interactive whiteboard and presentation app allows for the creation of content, not just the display. Using an iPad with Apple TV or a Windows device with an add on such as AirServer, you can not only project the content of Explain Everything to a plain whiteboard surface (or even a wall for that matter) you can annotate within it just as you would a wall mounted interactive board. Presentations can be created within the app very simply. Similar to PPT you can create slides from templates within the app or you can import pictures, videos and live webpages as you like, all of which can be scaled, edited and even annotated. All that you do within the app can also be recorded as a screencast. One of this apps’ best features allows for screencasting using the front facing camera of your device and adding as if it were a picture in picture. Each of the screencasts can be edited via a project timeline and they can be exported to your favorite video sharing site.
There is a free trial version for Windows ($2.67 per year after) and the per app cost in the App Store is $5.99 (one-time purchase) for the classic version. For those schools with Volume Purchase Plans in the App Store, the per app cost is $7.99 (one time purchase) for a more robust platform that also incorporates a collaboration feature.
I have seen and tested many interactive whiteboard apps, but Explain Everything, by far, exceeds the others with its capabilities. The cost also makes it very attractive. Other IWB apps can exceed $40. Granted, you have to have an additional app or an Apple TV through which you connect, along with an LCD projector to display, but when you add it all up, it still doesn’t even come close to the cost of wall mounted boards. Those will run several thousand dollars and are not be able to do what Explain Everything can do. If only this had been available before school districts spent very large sums on IWBs that now serve as lovely projection screens in most classrooms!
The most obvious way of using this tool is for the “flipped classroom”approach. Recording a lesson and posting for students to view prior to or after class as reinforcement is a great use. Imagine sending a “home bound” student a lesson, created as you taught it, for them to share.
Students could create their own presentations explaining the process they used for solving algebraic equations, or anything else for that matter. The actual steps of the work can be written and recorded within the app and then an audio or video explanation by the student can be layered with it to give an authentic assessment of their understanding.
More ideas for this apps use can be found at Explain Everything Discover.