Review by Shaun Langevin, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2018
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Explain Everything

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Powerhouse tool for creating stellar multimedia presentations

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
3–12
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Pros: Import media from a variety of sources, collaborate in real time with voice chat, save presentations to the cloud.

Cons: It'll take some time to get up and running with all the features and functionality, particularly for younger students.

Bottom Line: Teachers and students can make dynamic presentations that involve different types of media in this innovative, fun app.

Teachers can use Explain Everything to present information to students in a visually engaging way that students could revisit individually when needed. Uses such as this could make it a staple in a flipped classroom. An even more exciting part of this app is helping your students learn to create, present, and share with it -- individually or on group projects. At the student level, creating with Explain Everything is probably used most effectively by students who already have mastered the basics of giving a good presentation.

Learning opportunities exist outside of presentations as well. Teachers could give a math assessment where students solve a problem and narrate their thinking. Students could import one of their documents and annotate it, explaining their writing technique. There's a collaboration feature, which allows students and teachers to work on a presentation at the same time. This makes it possible for students to collaborate with peers in different classrooms or schools. This mode would also be handy for having a group of students use the whiteboard space to brainstorm ideas. 

Teachers may want to review fair use and content attribution guidelines, since students might be pulling content from a variety of sources to use in their presentations. If students are struggling with all the options on this app, you may want to spend some time going through the help page and FAQs as a whole class or in small groups. Students in upper elementary grades could use Explain Everything fully but would likely need extra support to take advantage of all the features.

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Explain Everything is a presentation app that can integrate content from many sources, enabling teachers and students to use it to create lessons, tutorials, and more for class or personal use. A full-featured adaptation of Explain Everything Whiteboard, this formidable tool is like a superhero version of PowerPoint. Users can import photos, PDF files, movies, websites, and more from iTunes, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, WebDAV, and other sources to use in a presentation. Explain Everything can also be used as a whiteboard. Tap on New Project and choose a blank project screen or import from one of many sources (you must enter your username and password information for that source on the linking screen). A white screen with tool options stacked on the left side appears, and users can begin to import content, write, and record audio or video for the presentation. Finally, save (it also autosaves) and play back the presentation. You can also split and edit your audio recordings, which is great for taking out sections without having to redo large portions of the presentation.

The subscription to this app includes the ability to sign in on a variety of devices, including iOS, Windows, and Chrome OS. It also offers Explain Drive, which provides each user cloud storage with a variety of privacy options. Explain Drive allows you to search subject areas for already completed presentations, as well.

Your students can learn crucial 21st-century skills with Explain Everything. They can learn how to present information using multiple forms of expression (images, text, video, and audio) through digital technology. They can also learn how to convey messages effectively as they choose which social media accounts to link with and how to use that content responsibly. Explain Everything can help students (and teachers!) take presentations and assessments to a new level.

There are some features that make Explain Everything stand out as a better learning tool than Explain Everything Whiteboard (a refreshed version of Explain Everything Classic). While both are appropriate for classroom use, Explain Everything is available on Windows, iOS, Android, and Chrome OS. This flexibility allows students and teachers to work on presentations from multiple machines. Explain Everything lets students collaborate by connecting to a partner's presentation and working on it in real time. It also has Explain Drive, which provides cloud storage space for each user. Teachers who are already using Explain Everything Whiteboard can upgrade to a subscription model to access all of the features of Explain Everything. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Using social media and other content that can be imported from a variety of sources or created right in the app, Explain Everything helps students learn by making presentation creation fun.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

This highly adaptable tool empowers students to create, share, and collaborate on presentations, lessons, tutorials, and more. They learn about digital creation in one of the best ways: by doing it.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Flexible features allow students to work on presentations from multiple machines and collaborate in real time. Students learn to use the many features via a clear, detailed tutorial/help section and in-app prompts.


Common Sense Reviewer
Shaun Langevin Technology coordinator

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