Explain Everything Creations from Marian Catholic’s PLC

As we began our Professional Learning Community’s unit on Explain Everything, I was extremely excited to share such a powerful app with our faculty.  The faculty had all been exposed to Educreations and Notability, so they already had a good feel for whiteboard apps; therefore, I thought this would be an extremely successful unit. We even had a guest visit from @reshanrichards via a Live Google Hangout to kick off our PLC.  This was going to be AWESOME!

However, what I neglected to give enough weight to, was the SAMR model.  Everything we had done in our 1:1 initiative so far had been focused on Substitution and Augmentation, and this was definitely a portal to “the other side”. This opened us up to Modification and Redefinition, and many of our teachers were not ready to take this leap, and we knew that. Prior to this school year, our administration put together a three year plan for our 1:1 program based on the SAMR model.  We would focus on Substitution and Augmentation in the 1st year, Modification during the 2nd year, and finally Redefinition in year three.

Because of this disconnect, I believe it took a little longer for teachers to wrap their heads around the possibilities for the use of Explain Everything.  Although this unit required us to spend a little more time with instruction; by the end of the 4 week cycle I believe there were a large number of teachers who found a use for this in their classrooms.  Many of our teachers are looking forward to their students using this app as an assessment tool, while only a few teachers saw this app as a tool they would use themselves to create presentations.

Below is a summary of what our teachers have created with Explain Everything.

Students will use the app to compare and contrast various characters other aspects of Murder in the Cathedral

Creating lessons for a flipped classroom environment. Also utilizing these lessons for students who are absent or need to review key concepts.  This is also being done in other departments.

Junior teachers plan to quiz the students by having them drag parts of a properly formatted MLA citation into place.  All students can do this, and then check their work compared to the teacher connected to the Apple TV.

Fine Arts
One of our band directors is creating a plan for his section leaders to record the lessons for their section members. These lessons can be distributed through YouTube or Google Drive.  These lessons could also be compiled and made a part of an iBook.

Our art teacher used this to present Louise Nevelson’s work to the students as an introduction to their own project.  The students could analyze certain works from Louise, and even layout their own ideas by dragging various images into place on their screen.

Students will create visual presentations that demonstrate their understanding of various concepts. Example: students will locate and share the use of triangles in advertisements.

AP students will create an explanation of a free response question, and share with other students in preparation for the AP test. In the past these presentations took up too much class time, but now students can create and share with each other without using valuable in class instruction time.

PE / Drivers Ed / Health
Our Driver’s Ed teacher used images of intersections as his background, and then utilized images of cars to re-enact different situations the students will encounter behind-the-wheel.

PE Teachers are recording student techniques for certain skills, and then using the app to analyze these techniques.

Teachers used it as a presentation tool and embedded YouTube as well as other videos in their presentations.

One teacher presented the topic: What is your treasure?  Students would have a Treasure chest on a slide, and then record themselves pulling items out of this treasure chest while explaining what is important to them and why.  They could use a new slide for each item so it’s easier to pull it out of the treasure chest.

Students will create visuals for Systemic vs Endemic Poverty and be able to share their completed images with the class.  They can write, type, or add other visuals.

Labeling of cell parts can be done through the use of an image of the cell, and dragging terms to the correct part.  This is similar to SMART board activities, but it allows all students to do the activity at once, and then turn in the image to the teacher or compare with each other as part of peer review.

Students will use the camera to record their setup of a lab.  They will then add that video with their lab report so the teacher can see where mistakes were made, and students can self-reflect on their work in the lab.

Students will be able to annotate and take notes while using interactive websites with scientific problems such as the PhET program from the University of Colorado.

Students are creating presentations about serial killers for their Forensics class. They are including videos and other media.  The most impressive part is that the students are asking to see other students presentations because what they are doing looks really interesting.

Social Studies
Students utilize the app to take a closer look at historical paintings in European History. They can zoom in, annotate, etc…  This is also being accomplished in our Film Studies class with scenes from films.

Students can visually analyze tactics used by armies during the American Revolution. They can annotate on maps of the battles.  Students can even draw & animate their own battle plan for certain situations and explain how their plan would change history. (Yorktown)

Preparing students for a Field Trip the Art Institute in Chicago can be accomplished by sharing a PowerPoint of the key painting/artists, and allowing students to take a closer look at the images, as well as annotating on the paintings.

World Language
Students import a background of a cafe, then animate characters and record the dialogue as the characters order food in the cafe.  The video can then be exported to YouTube and shared with the teacher and other students.  This can also be used as practice for students prior to them performing a live cafe scene.

Students will create a short presentation of “What do you like?”  They will create visuals and animations of what they like, as well as narrate in Spanish.


About Sean Scanlon

Director of Instructional Technology Marian Catholic High School Google Certified Trainer
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