This month, I have chosen the iPad/Android app Explain Everything. This app allows the user to create video screencasts and share them quite easily. In a nutshell, it’s a digital whiteboard that records what you say orally and what you write on the screen. However, it really is much more than that. It can take a PDF, PowerPoint file, Keynote file, or a document and allow you to write directly on that material and record your narration. If you make a mistake in your narration, it’s easy to fix and does not require deleting the entire video and starting over. During your recording, you can incorporate material from a website, images, or even other videos. Once you’ve created your recording, it’s a cinch to export it your Dropbox, Google Drive, EverNote,, Box, or even YouTube accounts. The exported video can be placed on a Moodle page, a wiki, an Edmodo site and many others. There is a bit of a learning curve with this app. There are other, simpler apps out there that will allow the user to screencast, but its ability to work from virtually all the types of files that I use and to allow for such versatile recordings, give Explain Everything an edge.
I have used Explain Everything in an effort to try to flip some of my lessons. I’ve created brief (less than 5 minutes) video introductions to some grammar concepts that my students watch for homework. These videos have also really been helpful for students who are absent from class. I have generated many PowerPoint presentations on grammar over the years, this summer, I’d like to take some of these presentations and turn them into videos using Explain Everything. Some of my students struggle as they encounter sentences of increasing complexity, this is a great app for modeling the types of strategies that I use as I translate. I can have the Latin text on the screen and record my thinking process as I translate. My students have shared with me that this technique is helpful.
Next school year, this app will be part of the core app bundle loaded on the students’ iPads. I love the idea of asking students to create videos that explain everything. For example, color-coding a complex sentence, talking through the grammar and sharing their translation with their classmates is a great practice opportunity for students. I look forward to exploring the ways in which my students can use this app too.
To get started, download the app for $2.99 from the app store. There are some useful tutorials on the developers website: http://www.morriscooke.com/?p=1045