Friday, 5 April 2013

Explain Everything

Explain Everything

By Morriscooke and Constructivist Toolkit LLC


Available on iPad

Screencasting app for iPad. an app tool personally I have been needing for a while, very aptly named.   You can import images from camera roll, iTunes, and files from Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, webDAV, box.   You can also open email attachment documents in the app.   Each import into a project becomes a new presentation slide.

Linking your iPad to screen projector, you can use this app explain your thoughts on the imported document or image.   Essentially turning your iPad into the iWhiteboard, the app provides users with the functionality that enables you to make your presentation more dynamic, the ability to;

·         move the document around in the slide;

·         point to items in the document using a mimic laser pointer;

·         add arrows, text, hand-drawn images and text/equations;

·         record your screen activity and your voice during the presentation;

·         export the recording as a MP4 file or a Explain Everything project to Camera Roll, iTunes, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, WebDAV, box to email

The latter two functionalities are the pista al resistance as can provide academics the means to provide screencast feedback from an iPad.   As screencast feedback produced on a desktop using Jing by TechSmith has been found by staff and students to be;

·         a medium that provides greater explanation and meaning of the feedback,[1];

·         preferable to written feedback and encourages deep learner engagement in the feedback,[2].  

The reflection of one of my student recipients of the screencast feedback generated using Explain Everything, exported and shared using Google drive;

“it was very helpful and it was a good way to explain what I needed to do, over the internet”

From my perspective I noted that any detailed screencast that is more than a couple minutes can take between to 10-20 minutes for the app to prepare and compress the MP4.   In addition any screencast longer than 4 minutes, the resultant MP4 will exceed 8Mb and will fail to export.   Thus limiting how much feedback one can provide and increasing the time spent in generating the feedback.

Therefore, in my world it will not replace use of Jing (free limited desktop software) or Camtasia (paid version that is comprehensive in features) by TechSmith on my desktop where I can prepare and export more efficiently timely and qualitative screencast feedback or presentations that can be emailed or uploaded to Blackboard for my students.  

However, it is an alternative for when I am away from my desktop.  That is if I have time to prepare and export such feedback to either email or Google drive to be shared with my students.   Explain Everything on the iPad for this activity just does not quite have the flexibility of Tablet PC with Camtasia and MS word with inking functionality, [3], but it is start.   But it is start when I am trying to ensure timely feedback to project students on their dissertations whilst I am away from my desk.  At the end of day rationale for adopting any technology is that it should enable the teacher to provide timely learning and feedback to support student’s determined pace of learning, [4] in case of dissertation draft feedback usually here and right now please.


[1] Edwards, K., Dujardin, A. F., & Williams, N. (2012). Screencast Feedback for Essays on a Distance Learning MA in Professional Communication. Journal of Academic Writing, 2(1), 95-126. last accessed 3rd April 2013 at
[2] Hope, S. A. (2011). Making Movies: The Next Big Thing in Feedback?. Bioscience Education, 18, 4. last accessed 3rd April 2013 at
[3] O’Malley, P. (2012). Screencasting and a Tablet PC–an indispensable technology combination for physical science teaching and feedback in higher and further education. last accessed 3rd April 2013 at
[4] Skinner, B. F. (1954)  “Teaching machine and programmed learning”, [online] last presented by B.F. Skinner . From YouTube last accessed 4th April 2013 l at

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