Friday, December 14, 2012

Explain Everything

Explain Everything is the Swiss Army Knife of iPad apps.  It can be used for just about anything.  As the name suggests, it's a tool for explaining things.  Explain Everything combines the flexibility of an interactive whiteboard with the functionality of screencasting software to create an exceptional product.

Our students use this app for many subjects, but it is especially effective in math. As many classroom teachers know, getting kids to explain their work can be a challenge. With a explain Everything, students have so many more options than just writing an explanation with words. You can import a photo, video, web page, or PDF from the camera roll or a whole host of cloud services. Tools for adding text, drawing, shapes, arrows, laser pointers make customizing a snap and the recording feature works seamlessly to create a video lesson.  Videos can be exported directly to the iPad's camera roll or uploaded to the same selection of cloud services.

A 2nd grader explains place value
Explain Everything by MorrisCooke is currently $2.99 for a single license and available in the VPP for $1.49 when you buy more than 20 copies.



I'm Jesse Emry, the Instructional Technology Facilitator at Isaac Dickson Elementary School in Asheville, North Carolina.  In the spring of 2012, Isaac Dickson started an iPad pilot program for Asheville City Schools.  As part of that program, the second grade teachers and I began reviewing the countless "educational" iPad apps that are available.

One of our biggest frustrations was that when you start looking into this topic, you find list after list of "The top 100 apps!" or "50 great apps for schools!"  These lists are often nothing more than just lists.  We wanted a curated list of high-quality apps with reviews by actual teachers that we trust and respect.  If an app was terrible, we wanted those reviews to tell us so.  Teachers are not blessed with a plethora of extra time -- we don't want to waste it discovering how poor an app is.

Long story short (is it too late?), that sort of resource was not available.  Now, almost a year later, we got some experience and we've done some leg work that we'd like to share with you.  We've found some gems and we've found some junk.  Hopefully, you'll agree with our assessments and this blog will grow to be a valuable resource for iPad educators everywhere.  We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Thanks for reading!