Let me “Explain Everything”: A Screencasting Interactive Whiteboard Tool

Explain Everything an Overview

Explain Everything is a digital whiteboard platform where teachers can present information to students in engaging ways.  Explain Everything would be a staple app in a flipped classroom setting. There are two different versions of Explain Everything.  One is Explain EDU, and the other is Explain Everything Whiteboard. For the sake of this post, we will be looking into Explain EDU because it is currently the version that I have access to.  However, some key differences are explained in this video.

Key Differences Between Explain Everything and Explain EDU

Explain EDU is a one time cost of $13.99 a device, whereas the standard Explain Everything App has three plans.  $0 with limited features and only able to produce 3 projects. $24.99 a year for individual teachers and small groups, and $8.99 per user per year for the EDU Group package has additional features but requires a minimum purchase of 10 seats.

When exploring a new app, I often refer to Commonsense Media for ideas of how to use the tool and how other teachers are using it.  Be sure to check out their review of Explain Everything as well.

Strengths of Explain EDU: 

  • Ability to embed photos, websites, videos, equations, audio easily into the project.
  • Ability to import content such as documents, images, videos, PowerPoints
  • An essential tool for presenting content.
  • Record your screen and export it as an MP4 file, and easily added to an LMS.
  • Interact with the recording, and do minor edits right within Explain EDU, such as fading in and out the audio.
  • Enhance Explain EDU and app smash with another app such as Edpuzzle to create even better interactive content for students.
  • User friendly – I was able to navigate the basics of the program very easily.
  • Great “Quick Tips” section.
  • A “From Our Blog” section that highlights content about Explain EDU: check out the post on Explain Everything and Edpuzzle! (Be sure to check out these great analyses of EdPuzzle by Trevor and Catherine)
  • There is a free Explain Everything Academy – Screencasting and Whiteboarding course through Udemy.
  • Extensive helpdesk.
  • Pair the app with a stylus or an apple pencil and get students to showcase their learning.
  • Ability to create multiple slides.
  • Create GIFs

Potential Downfalls of Explain EDU:

  • Costly – Explain Everything is a costly app.
  • Other tools such as Microsoft Whiteboard, Seesaw, and/or Flipgrid could replace Explain EDU and are free alternatives.
  • Some time needs to be invested in learning how to properly use the app.
  • Many of the examples of projects look professionally done. (Teachers don’t have time for the graphic design that goes into creating a screencast!)
  • A free version is limited to 3 projects.
  • Very few template options

Potential for Use in Education

Explain EDU can be compared to an easy to use PowerPoint alternative easily accessible on the iPad. I would strongly encourage that teachers check out Explain EDU for its ease of use.  This tool would be extremely beneficial in a Flipped Classroom or other asynchronous learning environments.  Teachers would be able to produce content and upload the content to their LMS.  In a classroom with multiple iPads with Explain EDU, students could explore the tool’s use as a presentation tool.  A way to make tutorial videos for students, or even just as a formative assessment tool to highlight student voice in the classroom.  The two examples that I show below are from the Explain Everything blog and deserve to be highlighted again.  This third-grade teacher shows a great example of an introduction of forces of flight in Explain Everything.

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Teachers can use Explain EDU to provide feedback on student work.  Record short, constructive feedback videos and sending them to students.

I have seen teachers utilize Explain EDU in a high school math class.  The program’s ease to record exactly what is written and said by the teacher and share that accordingly.  This provides an opportunity that is not available with a regular whiteboard. Within the Explain Everything (Not Explain EDU) their are further opportunities to collaborate and work on the content together on separate devices in live time.  Similar to how Google Docs would operate.

Final Thoughts

Explain EDU provides educators with a tool that allows them to create explainer videos, constructive feedback, visual presentations, and formative assessment opportunities.  This tool would be a great all-in-one tool for the creation of these types of videos.  However, if I was in the classroom. I would use Flipgrid, Microsoft Whiteboard, or Seesaw tools to explore many of the options available in Explain EDU for free.

2 thoughts on “Let me “Explain Everything”: A Screencasting Interactive Whiteboard Tool

  1. Great post Curtis! Explain Everything quickly became my go-to app when I was setting up my flipped classroom. While I tried out other tools like Office Mix (no longer exists), Educreations and ShowMe – Explain Everything just seemed to be more user friendly and had better features than the others. As you mentioned, one of the downfalls of Explain Everything is the price (it used to be a free app) so using consistently with students may not be cost-effective. However, if it is being utilized by teachers to create video lessons throughout the year, the $3/month isn’t too bad of a price considering how much other apps/software cost.

    When I had started using this program the only version that was available at the time was the EDU version, which was beneficial for me as I used my iPad frequently within my classroom.
    However, now that I have a staff device, I couldn’t see myself using this version as the Whiteboard just seems to be a much superior (and practical) product for students and teachers.

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge of this program. It’s changed a bit since I last used it and I feel like I might go back to it again for some of the lessons I’m building for the blended learning project.

    Matt

  2. I continue to be amazed at all of the technology out there. This is a pretty cool app and I think students would find this more interesting and engaging that having to read a bunch of google slides by themselves. It would be great if students could also print off the notes to follow along and write in their answers as the teacher is talking. As I mentioned in another post, this type of teaching would meet some of the adaptions/ recommendations that some students need to be successful.

    I really liked the audio feedback option. There is growing evidence for instructors to add audio feedback into a online/blended course as it increases student self-efficacy and motivation. This may be an app I have to try out.

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