Some apps are like swiss army knives. Some can do more than you think. Some can be used in thousands of ways in the classroom. Explain Everything is one such app. It seems to be able to sit comfortably in a primary or secondary setting. It works well in any subject. It even seems to be useful to a wide range of ages. At its most basic, Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard app. If you can wirelessly mirror the iPad onto your projector screen it enables you to be far more flexible in the classroom. This unlocks a huge range of options. Letting the children loose on the app creates even more possibilities.
The latest update has pushed the envelope and so there are more ways to use the app than ever! Here are 17 great ways to use the app…
2) Modelling and Visualising
3) Peer-to-peer teaching
Children can jump on the app and use the recording function at the bottom of the screen to record their writing and their voices. Therefore, a child can easily make a simple video that explains the key concept of a task. This video can then be watched back directly within the app by another child who needs help in this area.
In a similar way, using the recording function, a child could explain an entire mathematical problem for example. The recording will pick up any and all of the child’s scribing and any comments that they make throughout the process. The video that is created can then be exported so that it becomes a normal video file. This video file could be sent to the teacher and used as an extra piece of assessment material.
6) Guided Task
With a little bit of leg work, you can facilitate an entire guided task on the app. You can save and share Explain Everything files. This means that you can send entire ‘presentations’ (for want of a better word) to another iPad or a number of iPads. Therefore, as a teacher, you could create a project that asks questions or indicates different tasks on a slide by slide basis. This would put an emphasis on independent learning and free you up to work with select groups or children.
The app can be used brilliantly to bring everything together at the end of the term. Because you can import ‘existing images/videos’ onto an Explain Everything slide, it’s easy to import other iPad projects that you have completed throughout a term. This means that you can bring everything together in one place and create a digital scrapbook. The camera and videoing option open this idea up to include any piece of work created in school. Simply take a photo and add it to your scrapbook.
8) Improving Parental Communication
Explain Everything can undoubtedly help you to explain key learning concepts. Therefore, you could use the recording feature to create explanation videos to improve the continuity of learning at home and at school. For example, you could create a video that demonstrates the correct formations of letters. This can be exported to become a normal video file that can be placed on your school website for all the parents to see.
9) Drafting and Redrafting
The annotation options and recording feature at the bottom also make the app a great tool for making and analysing work. You can import files into the app. Therefore, you can access and import text files such as PDF’s. This capability means that you could import a PDF of a pupils assignment and mark it with added commentary. The resulting video can then be sent back to the pupil so that they can re-draft their assignment.
10) Providing extra Learning Provisions
11) Teaching Assessment and Development
Following on from this idea, if you do start to record your starters, you’re also creating a great resource to self-assess your teaching with. These recordings can help you to pick up on any bad habits you may have as well as enabling you to listen back to your questioning and so on. This is all underpinned by a timer which can obviously help you to tighten up the timings of your first quality teaching.
There are a whole host of video analysis apps available on the iPad but never-the-less, Explain Everything is not to be overlooked in this area. The multi-media nature of the app means that you can really deepen the analysation that is sometimes required in subjects such as Science or P.E. Two-finger zooming options allow you to really look closely at images and pinpoint clear ‘areas for improvement’ and so on.
13) Independent Learning
14) Live Collaboration
15) Discovering and Utilising Pre-made Resources
Through publishing your projects publicly, teachers can automatically offer their Explain Everything slides up to the world. This new feature means that a community of teachers are sharing resources that can be accessed through the app and it is expanding every day. There is already so much on offer that you could use Explain Everything and never create your own project!
16) Making Resources Multi-Modal
17) Curriculum Specific Learning
Before a child even starts working on the Explain Everything interactive whiteboard, they can select appropriate ‘templates’ for specific curriculum areas. Instead of choosing a blank project, the child can choose a mathematical paper template, lined handwriting paper template, blueprint paper template and so on. You can even make your own custom templates.
Learning is sporadic and should be set within flexible parameters. Explain Everything provides a foundation for a variety of learners with a variety of learning styles. It is the one app that I would recommend to anyone within Education. I can confidently say that it will make a difference.
Nick Acton is an Apple Curriculum Specialist at JTRS as well as being a part-time Computing and Music teacher. Through the creation of bespoke training, Nick specialises in empowering educators so they can embed Apple technologies into their day-to-day classroom practice.