Explain Everything

Explain everything is an app available for apple devices, android and windows. It is a great tool for teachers especially. You can create screencasts of yourself talking while writing and adding images to an interactive white board.

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How it works and features

 

Explain everything has many features. First, you can insert any images, videos, Powerpoints, Pdfs, screen captures, sound files or documents of your choice into your Explain Everything project. You can also record your voice and annotate anything on your screen and even add more pictures or files at the same time. Anything that you add to your screen is moveable, even the annotations or drawings that you make. You simply have to drag these items at the same time as you record your screen cast. When you play your final presentation, the audience does not see the cursor. As a result, we only see the different objects moving, like animations. If you wish to point what you want to emphasis or direct the attention to, there is a virtual laser pointer, which will be seen in the final project.  At the bottom of you project in creation, there is a timeline, which shows you the different steps of your recording with markers (when you hit pause, when you added an image, etc.). This allows you to easily go back and redo any part you wish to modify.

There is a crayon available, to draw or annotate, with a lot of colors available. You can also highlight texts, since you can vary the opacity degree. You can insert pre-made shapes, arrows, lines or even stars from the menu bar on the left side of the screen. You can insert text boxes if you wish to have typed writings instead of written ones. There are many fonts available, and you can vary the size too.

You can organize the order of all the different objects added on your screen to facilitate your work. This means that you can group some objects together, so they will all move together when you drag them. Also, you can set some objects as backgrounds, to prevent them to move inadvertently when you move other objects around. You can bring back previously added objects to the front, allowing them not to be hidden behind newly added images or objects.

There are multiple tutorial videos available on Morris Cooke website, to help you gain some expertise and tricks to well perform on your own afterwards.

Once your project is finished, there are many possibilities available to you to either export your projects or share them. You can connect to many cloud services like Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, etc. You can also upload you video on YouTube or Vimeo if you wish to make it public. Or, you can simply save your work on your computer and project it on screen to your class with a projector.


 Explain everything for ESL teachers

Explain everything is a great tool for English teachers. You can easily create all sorts of videos, either educative or for entertainment. Explain everything would be an awesome tool to consider for those who have flipped classrooms. As the time in class in flipped classroom is destined for communication and exercises, the lessons and explanations of grammar rules are explained outside of class. This app is perfect for this purpose. The teacher can give his lecture while recording his voice and writing and pointing on the screen at the same time. He can create templates, use different images and even videos over which he can write and comment.  The applications is well done as a kind of “animated slideshow presentation” which allows you to change pages and start something new, but inside of the same video. Also, you can save a lot of time, because you do not have to edit you videos. For instance, every time you want to, you hit pause and the recorder stops recording. Then, you can modify your screen or prepare what you are going to say. When you are ready for the following, you simply hit play again and the recording will be added right after where you paused. This interesting feature permits you to save a lot of time, and is a considerable advantage, for those (like myself) who are not that good with editing softwares! Teachers who use the flipped classroom method are known to be spending a lot of time creating the videos for their students to watch at home. The videos they make have to be very concise and clear, since the student at home cannot ask questions in real time, and the teacher cannot see the looks of incomprehension on the students’ faces as the lesson goes along.  So with this app, which is highly versatile and allows you to save a lot of time, it should be used by all these teachers.

As cited in an app review on edshelf, a discovery engine of websites, mobile apps, desktop programs, and electronic products for teaching and learning,

“Explain Everything is currently being used by thousands of teachers and students in over 60 countries. Hundreds of videos are added each week to YouTube”

According to Mark Fijor, a blogger on new school technologies, Explain Everything is a must for all teacher and students to have on their electronic device. He also mentions that Explain Everything is not only for teachers. In fact, he encourages teachers to have their students use the app in class, for their different projects:

 “Explain Everything is an app that allows students to create, collaborate, communicate and consume content at any age.”


My personal opinion

I think that the app is very useful. I have used the free version to create a video assignment in one of my class, and I have experimented on it plenty to understand all of the functions and features offered in the free version.

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Explain everything is fairly simple to use because there are not tons of different features available. Personally, I have tried the Windows 8 version since I own a Surface Pro 3, and not an iPad. I think there is definitely an advantage to use it with the Surface, because you can use your Stylus. Since you use the app to write on the screen at the same time you talk, and for English teaching purposes, you might probably end up having to write sentences and words, it is much easier and naturalistic to use the stylus instead of your finger. I think it’s very pleasant to finally have an app that is not exclusive to Apple devices for once. A greater range of users can benefit from it. However, I have encountered a few inconvenient problems with the app. For instance, I had to start my project all over about 5 times because the application kept closing in my face while I was working on my video. It may be due to the free version, but I am not sure. Also, the app is not that user-friendly when it is the first time you use it. This may sound as a contradiction because I previously said it was fairly simple to use, but what I mean is: it is simple to use, but only once you are used to it. What I mean by that is the menu is not that clear. You have to use the tool bar which is made of symbols icons. However, when you pass your curser over the symbols, no written form appears to tell you what the purpose of the icon is. On the other hand, once you are used to these symbols, then it is very easy to use. I would recommend using it to all teachers of all subjects, and I am sure that I will use this tool at one point in my future teacher career. They make the videos very captivating to watch, and you can custom your videos and lessons without compromises.

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