Thursday, April 19, 2012

Explain Anything with Explain Everything

At the junior high we're loving an iPad app called Explain Everything. It's $2.99 for a single copy, and the price drops to $1.49 when you buy 20 copies or more.

Explain Everything allows students to create a narrated slide show. In addition to recording the student's voice, the app also records any action that happens on the iPad screen. So, for example, if a student draws an arrow while they're narrating, the app records the arrow being drawn.

A 9th grade global studies class recently used Explain Everything to create vocabulary projects for 6th graders. Their format was pretty basic, and I think it translates well enough to work with vocabulary words in any subject area:
  • Slide 1: Provide a visual image of the vocabulary word, and ask the 6th grader to predict the word's meaning
  • Slide 2: Provide a definition of the vocabulary word
  • Slide 3: Explain a simile comparing the vocabulary word to a more familiar object or idea
  • Slide 4: Ask the 6th graders to write down their own definition of the word
  • Slide 5: Introduce yourself with a photo
We tried to incorporate higher level thinking for both sixth graders (making predictions based on images, re-writing a definition in their own terms) and ninth graders (simplifying complex terms and developing similes).

Both the 9th grade authors and the 6th grade audience really enjoyed the project. Here are a few samples of their finished products:

Vocabulary term: Qu'ran
Vocabulary term: Mosque
Vocabulary term: Ka'ba

How do you envision yourself using the Explain Everything app?

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