App of the Week: Explain Everything

Name: Explain Everything
Platform: iPad
Cost: $2.99

For several months I’ve been looking for an iPad screencasting app. Then one day I read a blog post about three apps that were supposed to be screencasting apps – ScreenChomp, ShowMe, and Explain Everything. While I wouldn’t call any of these apps traditional screencating apps – they don’t enable the user to make movies of movements on a screen – I would say that the features of Explain Everything are close to what is traditionally considered screencasting.

Explain Everything is a way to make narrated slideshow movies on an iPad. Users can import the images for their movie from their iPad photo roll or camera, from Evernote, or from Dropbox. Images and text can be moved around on a screen, text can be added to any slide, drawing tools can be used to add features to slides – including arrows and shapes. The example below shows how an idea for a story might be storyboarded using Explain Everything.


Check out the Explain Everything gallery to learn how the creator of the above video achieved various effects.

explain everthing image screenIt’s easy to get started with Explain Everything. Click on “New Project” on the home screen and either start a blank project or add images from Dropbox or Evernote. If you start with a blank screen you can import images from slide to slide and crop, rotate, and resize each image added to the project. Drawing on the screen is always possible, and by holding down on the different drawing tool buttons users can change colors, fill, and so on. The same is true with the text tool. Hold down on the text button and it’s possible to change font size, family, color and add a border. Double-tap on an object on the screen and it can be moved or deleted. The tools and features available in this inexpensive app are impressive.

Recording narration is also pretty easy as all it takes is clicking on the record button and talking. There is a pause button as well so it’s possible to take a breath while recording and have action on the screen without narration. The forward button can be used to go to the end of a slide’s audio recording and add to what’s already been recorded. Each slide’s narration needs to be recorded separately.

Once a video is complete there are several exporting options, including sending to YouTube, Evernote, Dropbox, and to an iPad’s photo roll. The movie can also be emailed and saved on an iPad.

The ways in which Explain Everything can be used with and for teens are numerous. Librarians and teens can create movies that show how to use a particular piece of software, database, website, etc. (See the example from Explain Everything below.) Teens might also create narrated presentations made from images of a family trip, from an outing with friends, or from a school field trip. If there are teen composers in the library they could use Explain Everything to combine images and music and discuss their work. Since each slide starts out as a whiteboard, teens can also create videos in which they draw and talk about their drawings, or can explain a math or science principle to others.

Check out Explain Everything and see what you think. I think you’ll agree that it has a lot of potential for teens and the librarians that work with them.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.
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