Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been playing around with Explain Everything
on my iPad. Explain Everything is a really flexible app that lets you make instructional-style videos for pretty much anything you can think of. I’ve used the app for everything from making study videos for my exams, to making demo videos for FuseMind.
My original intention was to recruit some course mates so that we could use the app to collaborate on making intro-videos for our laboratory sessions. However, with Easter Break and exams coming up, that proved a bit difficult. I thus set out to test the app by using it myself for many different purposes, as well as asking others to try it whenever possible.
My first project with Explain Everything was to try and use it as a notebook style tool. I know that’s not its main purpose, but I thought it would be interesting to test a method whereby I could record my problem solving process and go back and see how I broke questions down. I quickly realized that handwriting without a stylus on an iPad is not at all convenient and I unfortunately lost mine a couple weeks ago 🙁 The project was short-lived.
My second project was to make an attractive demo video for the browser extension we’re building at FuseMind. I thought this would be a good way to try out the collaborative side of the app, as I could get my colleagues to make the video with me. I first spent an hour teaching Alex (also an Acoustics student at UoS) and Maciej (2nd year Comp. Sci) the ins and outs of the app, messing around with different features. After they got the hang of it, we began by inserting a video to Explain Everything from a screencast of us using the browser extension on a computer. We decided to take advantage of the apps drawing tools to make things very obvious by pointing at them with large arrows. It took us about 20 minutes to get the hang of recording over a video, and we weren’t particularly pleased with the end result. The video seemed a bit tacky, so we decided not to use it.
My final big project with Explain Everything has been to make videos where I go through the solutions for past exam papers. Unfortunately, I can’t share these videos publicly as they include copyrighted material, but this has by far been the best use for Explain Everything (in my opinion). Making the videos helped me understand the material much more, forcing me to figure out what elements of the answers to highlight, for example. The process was overall pretty entertaining, making studying a bit more dynamic and making it easier to find mistakes one usually makes while solving maths/physics problems. I have shared these with my classmates, and I’m awaiting feedback.
Overall, I have found Explain Everything to be a great app for personal revision. This might seem weird, as it’s pitched as an app used to explain things to others. However, great teachers have told me that the best way to learn something is by teaching it, and this is a great way to teach things! I wish I had gotten to play around with the collaboration side of things a bit more so I’m looking forward to doing so soon.
Definitely check out Explain Everything, it might seem silly to explain things to yourself, but it works!