Happy Digital Learning Day (Yesterday) and Pi Day (Today)!

I really wanted to get to my computer to post something in honor of “Digital Learning Day yesterday, but was deep in the throngs of removing a splinter from a five year-old’s foot while the almost-two year old was trying out all the flavors of toothpaste in the bathroom. Ah, the life of a single mom! Sometimes I am waiting for the hidden camera crew to pop out and thank me for all the great comedic material I supply them with on a daily basis.

What Time is It?

So, it is 4:36a.m. as I sit down to write this, and prepare my thoughts for a Saturday conference I will be presenting at today. It is the “T4 Think Tank: Teachers and Technology” at Elmwood Franklin School in Buffalo, New York. I’m really excited, as this is my first official presentation of PBS Learning Media in my year-long role with them as a 2014-2015 Digital Innovator. Wish me luck!

Explain Everything

But for the remainder of this post, I think I would like to focus on an app I really like for creating flipped lessons: Explain Everything. I recently presented this app in two instructional sessions to my colleagues at school, during a professional development day on March 6th.

Favorite App: Explain EverythingEE

Why: I can take existing PowerPoint presentations and convert them into flipped lessons, or create new presentations/videos.

How: Pull them into the app, and use the record button to add audio to the slides.

Features I Like: Easy to learn, user friendly, once you create a login – an actual human being emails you and offers their contact info in case you need them (isn’t that amazing?)

Why this is great: good for kids who need to hear material more than once, great for students to review, great for students who have been absent so they do not miss material, for visual learners – you can have the text with the audio to add more dimensions of multiple intelligences. You can upload the videos right to YouTube, save them to the Camera Roll on your Apple device, or mail them as files.

How I’ve used it: Back to school night video to introduce myself and my classes, opening faculty meeting (we have a hearing impaired teacher who thanked me because he usually doesn’t know what the audio is that accompanies the video – since I captioned the audio), etc.

In general, I’ve used Explain Everything to easily and quickly create flipped lessons. I’ve created PowerPoint presentations, then pulled them into EE, and recorded over the slides. After, I render the video to an unlisted YouTube link to post on my Learning Management System (Schoology) for easy student access. This prevents me from loading up other places or sending large video files – just sending a quick link is easy and the kids are already so familiar with YouTube.

More specifically, what I like about Explain Everything is that they have great customer service. When I was preparing to present to my faculty, I reached out to them. (I’m a big fan of just taking a chance and reaching out to see if you can connect.) Within hours, a real human from Morris Cooke (their parent company) replied with several links I could use or pass along to fellow teachers. How much did I appreciate that?!

Some other ideas that I shared with my peers included creating fresh videos/lessons right in the app, using EE for other presentational tools:explain everything kkenny

  • I made our opening faculty meeting video with EE – https://youtu.be/hdxas8m9-xY I got great feedback from parents who couldn’t make it who felt I gave them a better sense of who I am and what my role is as their daughter’s teacher. I think for incoming freshmen – this was particularly helpful.
  • a flipped Back to School Night video for parents who could not attend – https://youtu.be/KyjvAPWXLvk

There are so many things you can do with EE. Pictures, video, text, importing documents, annotation, white boarding/screencasting (I haven’t screencasted yet in a real-time white boarding, but I’m itching to do it), etc.

Here are some great links I found for Explain Everything:explain_everything_blog

Once again, thanks for taking the time to read and explore this blog. I hope you will subscribe, and reach out to me with any comments, questions, concerns, etc!

Take care, and Happy Pi Day!



Author: Kirsten B. Smith, M.S.Ed

I am an educator, presenter, and single mom of two little boys. I have a passion for educational technology, literacy, STEAM, and mindfulness for increasing engagement and student achievement.

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