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Peer Review

Explain Everything App for iPad



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality:
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 17, 2014 by Teacher Education
Overview: Explain Everything is a robust iPad app that serves as both an interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool. Users can easily create new slides, change slide templates, draw, type text, insert shapes, and use a laser pointer. Users can also import and annotate photos, videos, and a number of document file types from a variety of cloud-based sources, including Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, WebDAV, and box. Users can also take pictures or record video within the app using the iPad’s built-in camera. Additionally, users can record their interactions with a web browser directly within the app. Slides may be exported as images to Camera Roll, iBooks, and other cloud-based tools. Screencasts and Explain Everything projects also may be exported to Camera Roll, YouTube, and other cloud-based tools. Explain Everything costs $2.99 (February 2014).
Type of Material: Presentation Tool, App
Recommended Uses: This app may be used in a face-to-face class as a whiteboard via AirPlay. Instructors also may record content as a means of “flipping” the classroom or to create mini-lectures for fully-online courses. Additionally, instructors can use this app to record and/or provide annotated feedback on student work. Students may use this app individually or in teams to record and present their ideas.
Technical Requirements: iPad app requires iOS 5.1 or later. Wireless network connection needed. iPad stylus recommended. Cloud-based account(s) recommended for hosting content produced with the app.
Identify Major Learning Goals: This app enables both instructors and students to easily record and share their ideas and knowledge with others.
Target Student Population: Explain Everything may be used with a variety of grade levels, courses, or subject matter. This app may be better suited for secondary students, undergraduates, or graduate students as the content is typically shared via cloud-based solutions that require a working knowledge of digital citizenship. However, educators in K-8 would find it a great presentation tool.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Users need to understand how to navigate an iPad and should invest time in creating one or more cloud-based accounts for sharing their recordings. There is a 58-page iBook that accompanies the app. It isn’t necessary to read the text before using the app, but it does provide useful tips and tricks.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Strengths: Explain Everything is a content creation tool. The educational goals depend on the creator.
Concerns: None.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: * Educators can easily integrate this app into their instruction and assessment of student work. * Using the whiteboard in conjunction with AirPlay enables instructors to freely circulate the classroom as they are teaching. * Screencasting enables teachers to easily “flip” the classroom or generate content for fully-online courses. * This app may be used for assessment purposes as it gives educators the ability to annotate imported content and/or screencast feedback to students. * Students benefit from having the ability view and review content at a time when it works best for them to learn. * Students also have the ability to share their ideas and knowledge with the instructor through screencasting. *The ability to import images and a wide variety of files and integrating information from could applications such as Dropbox, Evernote and Box makes this extremely useful. *The project file can be shared with others for collaboration.
Concerns: * Users will want to keep their intended audience in mind and share content accordingly.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: * Although this app contains more features and functions than many other whiteboard or screencasting apps, it remains fairly simple and straightforward to use. This app also includes useful pop-ups, help pages, and an iBook guide. * The app’s writing, drawing, and laser pointer tools come with a range of color, width, opacity, and other options. * Users can import a variety of document files and media from a number of cloud-based tools. * Users can take pictures or record video directly within the app. * Users can also record their interactions with web content directly within the app. * Users have the ability to create their slides first and then record them. * Users can control the resolution and quality of exported PDFs, audio, and videos. * Users can export images, recordings, and projects to a variety of cloud-based tools.
Concerns: * The export process, which can take several minutes, ties up the iPad. The app does recommend, however, that users check out the Explain Everything Compressor in the Mac App Store as it will compress recordings via the Mac so that users can do other work on the iPad instead of waiting for projects to compress. * This app costs $2.99 and may have more tools than necessary for the average user. A user brand new to the iPad might want to start with a free app such as Educreations which has all the basic tools needed for a simple screencast.

Other Issues and Comments: To learn more about Explain Everything, visit This app is updated nearly every month.