Wednesday, January 25, 2012

iPads X Geometry X Wix X ExplainEverything

I am a tech integration specialist and I love my new job! I have the fortune of working with all types of teachers and students and it is a great experience when I get to work with a teacher who is excited about the possibilities of integrating technology in a way that allows students to truly demonstrate their understanding in a way that could not have been achieved without the technology and allows them to publish their voice to a broader audience than could have been achieved without the integration of carefully selected technology... 

I am currently working with @rhallteach's 9th grade geometry class. Earlier in the year I had trained a number of teachers on screencasting and @rhallteach immediately saw the possibilities in her classroom. We started by having students use her enoboard and screenr to create video tutorial screencasts of a specific problem type that they worked on and prepared to present the night before. The process was slow and cumbersome, there were simply too many students sitting and watching ( I know, shocking for an IWB ).

Our next step was to integrate iPads into the equation.  With just three iPads, students were able to create so many more screencasts in one class period as compared to the IWB & screenr method.  The first app we selected was Educreations.  The learning curve was practically non-existant and the students dove right in creating problem solving video tutorials.  We logged each iPad into @rhallteach's Educreations account, so when the students finished and published the screencast it immediately appeared in her account on the Educreations site.

Then we ran into our first problem.  The ultimate goal of the project was to create a site where each chapter or concept that was covered during the year would be compiled on a class site.  The Educreations videos worked great when viewing the site on a computer, but when the site was viewed on the mobile version, the Edcreations videos wouldn't play on an iPhone or iPad...

The solution, Explain Everything.  The switch came about because video tutorials created on iPad with Explain Everything can be uploaded directly to YouTube.  The YouTube videos can then be viewed on both the full and mobile version of the site.  The switch to Explain Everything was ultimately necessary because we wanted the students to be able to access and view each other's videos from both a computer and their own mobile device.  When students create the screencasts with the Explain Everything app, we will into the teacher YouTube account ahead of time, so when the students are done and ready to publish the screencasts will be uploaded directly to the teacher's account.  The upload process from Explain Everything to YouTube is a bit long, but the end result is well worth the extra time.

Here is the view of the site on a mobile device:
**Note - only chapter 7 is partially complete at this time**

Here is a view of the site on a computer:

The platform we are using to create the site is Wix.  I selected wix primarily because of the ability to create both a full and mobile site from within the platform.  At this point the students are responsible solely for creating the content, but as we work on the screencasts throughout the rest of the year I will train them on how to create hyperlinks for the mobile site and embed the videos in the full site.  Unfortunately we started the entire process halfway through the year ( possibly a blessing in disguise ) and at this point the students are starting at chapter 6 and working their way forward.  However, throughout the rest of the year, the students will be signing up for problem types from previous chapters to backfill the site with video tutorials.  I think that by the end of the year they will have created quite a finished product...


  1. This is a great project! We are definitely excited about the possibilities of including screencasts in collaborative text books. Our goal was to make the application as flexible as possible for users in a variety of settings. Glad to see it being put to good use!

    Here are some tips: you can adjust your export settings by pressing the settings button in the Export Movie menu. You can definitely go to a lower resolution if there isn't a lot of fine print.

    You can also export the movie file to your iPad photo roll, and then do an export to YouTube from there (if you wanted to split up the process, possibly saving some time).

    Looking forward to seeing how this project goes!
    Reshan Richards
    Co-Creator of Explain Everything

  2. Great project! We used Explain Everything in two different classes (science and foreign language) with good results. Reshan was also nice enough to Skype with our students to discuss the app in depth. I look forward to seeing how this ends up. Excellent work!