Website review by Common Sense Editor, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2022

Explain Everything

Classic presentation tool continues to evolve

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 72 reviews
Privacy rating
88%| Pass Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
3–12
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration, Creativity

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Pros: Detailed editing of recordings. Real-time collaboration. Cloud saves.

Cons: Can't easily switch microphone source. No infinite canvas. Less intuitive than competitors.

Bottom Line: It strikes the a great balance of features -- offering options without going overboard -- and is worth considering if you can spring for the paid version.

Teachers can use Explain Everything to create videos that students can watch, or to give live presentations. It's a tool that works really well in flipped or virtual scenarios, or simply as a backbone for general course info and instructional support. If you're doing a lot of teaching over Zoom or similar apps, make sure to check out the "Interactive Broadcast" scenario, which helps you hook Explain Everything up to a teleconference.

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. Group projects can be done in-person or remotely thanks to a collaboration feature allowing multiple users to work on one presentation at the same time. At the student level, creating with Explain Everything is probably best for students who know the basics of giving a good presentation and have some familiarity with graphic design tools. Even so, there are a ton of tutorials and learning resources, as well as templates, students can use to gain skills or get started easily.

One thing to consider is importing media and using Explain Everything to explain or annotate it. Teachers could prepare 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. Teachers might also have students use the collaboration features to turn Explain Everything into a brainstorming tool.

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Explain Everything Whiteboard is a presentation and whiteboard app available on the web as well as Android, iOS/iPadOS, and Chrome. To start, tap on New Project and choose a blank project screen, select a starter template (including those for learning), or import media (e.g. an image, presentation, or PDF). This brings you to the creation screen with a toolbar on the left side, recording options on the bottom, and sharing/collaboration on the top right. Use the toolbar to design a presentation (incorporating text, shapes, drawings, and media ranging from images to audio to files). Add more slides as necessary. The presentation can be prepped before a recording and then added onto during a recording. You can also pause the presentation while recording to tweak things as you go. There's a movable camera frame to control what gets recorded and robust editing tools to modify the recording before sharing out. Finished projects can can be exported or web links can be created. Projects get saved in the Explain Drive, which provides each user private cloud storage (more with paid subscriptions). Teachers can add students via Google Classroom and they can then log in with their Google accounts.

One unique aspect of Explain Everything is that projects can be placed into three different "scenarios" or modes: open collaboration, presentation, or interactive broadcast. Open collaboration allows multiple people to work on a project, presentation involves one person delivering a presentation to others, and interactive broadcast allows Explain Everything to be integrated into other apps, like teleconference software such as Zoom. Owners of presentations can control who has access, whether other people have editing privileges, and if there's voice chat or not.

Note that the free version of Explain Everything is limited to one project and slide.

Explain Everything Whiteboard is a great platform to combine showcasing content knowledge (through presentations or video creation) with skills building. Students can learn how to present information by mixing and contextualizing media. They'll also need to think through how to structure their presentations or videos to communicate their messages well. Real-time collaboration means students can also learn to balance these needs with how to delegate tasks and ensure consistency and quality. The baked in cloud storage allows students to work on their projects over time. Beyond recording and editing polished presentations and videos, students can also just use Explain Everything as a thinking tool -- leaning into the whiteboard function as a way to brainstorm and structure ideas either alone or in groups. To make all of this easier at a distance, Explain Everything has been smart about building in "scenarios" that tune experiences to virtual presentations vs. collaborative work or in-person presentation.

With a tool like Explain Everything, success depends on the types of features you and your students are looking for/need as well as how skilled everyone is at creation. Among its many competitors, Explain Everything sits in the middle in terms of complexity. It's not a bare bones experience that focuses on quick creation nor is it a platform with un-ending features. It offers a nice blend of both, but will work best with classrooms that have some familiarity with digital creation, particularly graphic design. It's also lacking things here and there that are curious. For instance, it's not clear how to switch microphone inputs and the canvas is locked into one depth vs. the "infinite" canvas of competitors. It's also a tool that requires a paid subscription to use; the free version simply isn't adequate for the vast majority of projects. The good news is that this is a tool that can get weekly use in many classrooms.

Overall Rating

Engagement

There's an impressive set of options for importing or creating interactive content. Templates are slick and colorful. Students will enjoy the range of options.

Pedagogy

This tool challenges creators to mix media and structure their presentations effectively. The feature set allows for detailed presentation creation as well as collaboration and broadcasting.

Support

Hover over tool tips, contextual tutorials, and templates get users started. There's an extensive help section including an FAQ and video library. Students with motor skill issues might struggle.


Common Sense reviewer

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Elizabeth L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Lewis And Clark Middle School
Bellevue, United States
Everything is Easy With Explain Everything: Using Explain Everything to Demonstrate Mastery in All Content Areas
This tool takes student creativity to a whole new level! Not only can students explain and demonstrate content mastery, but they also can add a flair of color and creativity to their knowledge. Teachers can see what students truly know by hearing them explain a concept right on their project slides. The ability to create slides with ease and add in pictures and text are just a few of my favorite features that this app has to offer. Students can use this app in more ways than just explaining math problem ...
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Users retain ownership of their data.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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