Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Explain Anything with Explain Everything, by guest blogger, Julie Nguyen-Ebadi

When I use Explain Everything, an interactive whiteboard app, Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything” song pops up in my head. As a result, I was inspired to create this 22 second clip to help explain who Lauryn Hill is and simultaneously give you a quick preview on what the final product can look like when using the app.

In second grade, the students in my classroom see me using the app almost daily during math instruction. I walk around the classroom, iPad in hand, with Explain Everything airplaying from it. In the Eureka Math curriculum, I use it for concept development, problem set question review, and to solve application problems. You could record these lessons while you’re doing direct instruction and share it with parents to help students with the corresponding lesson’s homework, especially if you know the strategy was quite difficult for students to grasp during class. Who knows, you could be the next Duane! During classroom instruction, I also like to get students involved by teaching and reviewing what was just taught. Here is an example of one student who volunteered to solve and explain Part A of an application problem

Another student volunteered to solve Part B. During this math lesson, we are reviewing subtraction strategies as well as the Read, Draw, Write Process.

More importantly, Explain Everything has been a powerful tool for me because students are creating their own videos to show what they know. For students who struggle with writing, this tool gives them an alternative to explain their thinking and it offers another way for me to formatively and summatively assess students. If you do math centers, you could use Explain Everything as one of the centers. Questions could be created by the teacher or students, or you could simply use selected questions from the Eureka Math problem sets or applications.

So why use Explain Everything instead of a good old fashion whiteboard? Here are some of my reasons:
  • Student Engagement - Students feel empowered when they see their final product and what they are capable of
  • Self-Reflection - After watching their own video or their peer’s video, it gives them a chance to see what they could improve on
  • Collaborative Learning - Having students work in pairs or groups to solve and create an interactive digital whiteboard video gives them a chance to learn from each other
  • Teacher Movement - Having the iPad in my hand and walking around the classroom allows me to check in with students a lot easier and faster

Currently, I am using Explain Everything in math, but I could see my class using this tool in many subject areas. For instance, in science, students could use it to explain the life cycle of plants and animals.

If you are completely new to Explain Everything or have questions on how to use some of the features, it would be helpful to watch the introductory tutorials first. Many of the questions I had on how to use the app were answered by watching these videos. Here's one to get you started.

Since Explain Everything is a paid app, you'll need to request a license for your iPad. To do that, click here to fill out the Google Form request. It will be open through April 30th.

Feel free to email me if you have questions, or contact Mary Fran Lynch or Gena Pacada, our Tech ToSAs, for ideas on how to integrate Explain Everything into a lesson or for help implementing it with your students.