Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Explain Everything by Josh Hertel

Explain Everything is an app for creating and sharing screencasts on iOS and Android devices ( I have used this interactive whiteboard in my own classes to introduce new content, review exam solutions, and discuss homework problems in-depth. Although there are a number of screencasting applications available for tablets, there are several reasons that I think Explain Everything shines above the rest. First, the app has basic editing features that allow the user to pause, rewind, and record over previously saved audio or video. This is particularly useful when you make a small mistake in a screencast and want to redo the audio or video (or both). Second, the app allows the user to easily break up a screencast into multiple pages. These pages can then be uploaded as one continuous screencast or several individual videos. This type of functionality is very helpful because it lets you split up a long discussion into smaller parts. Additionally, when combine with the app’s editing features, multiple pages allow you to replace portions of a screencast without having to redo an entire video. Third, Explain Everything can upload videos to a number of different sites including Youtube, Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote. In my own courses, I found that exporting screencasts to a share folder on Google Docs was an easy way to share them with students. Fourth, the app supports importing pdfs and images as screencast backgrounds making it simple to work through an exam or discuss a diagram. 

These features coupled with an intuitive user interface make Explain Everything my go-to application for creating screencasts on a tablet. At a price of $2.99, the app is an affordable option for anyone hoping to incorporate screencasting into his or her teaching. One additional note, heavy users should consider buying the Explain Everything Compressor ($14.99). This program allows you to transfer raw screencast files to a mac/pc, compress the video, and then upload the finished screencast. Without the compressor, lengthy videos (10 minutes+) will take a long time to compress and upload on the tablet making the device unusable during the process.

Submitted by Josh Hertel, Mathematics