Using Explain Everything for Daily Math Problems

In Interactive Notebooks by Jen

When I taught in the classroom, October was probably one of my favorite months of the school year. It was the month where I felt my kiddos were “getting it.” Procedures were in place, students were getting used to my weird ways, and I was feeling less stressed when I went home in the afternoon. Can anyone relate? As a coach, I feel that every lesson I teach is the beginning of the year. It actually drives me crazy! This week I taught in two classrooms. One with students just getting started using iPads and one that I have been working with over the course of two years. The first classroom did a great job but the lesson was more about the iPad rather than the content because of their inexperience. It was definitely procedural at best. I then went to the next classroom and taught the same lesson and it was like October again. They were able to focus more on the content of the material rather than the iPad app. I know teaching procedures are important but I really miss the give and take of the student/teacher relationship in the classroom. I am fortunate though that I have several wonderful teachers that have an open door policy to let me come and try out my crazy ideas with their students, but it is always nice to work in that one room where the kids know how to use the iPad and we can focus on content.

So the lesson I taught a lot this week was using the new app several of my teachers purchased called Explain Everything. Before, they used Educreations, ShowMe, ScreenChomp, or Doceri. All of these apps are wonderful but Explain Everything has EVERYTHING we wanted in a screencasting app. The best feature of the app is the ability to save to the camera roll. Of course, Doceri does this but it’s not as user friendly. The reason we wanted the ability to save to the camera roll was because of the versatility it brings to the classroom. For example, now we can add video to our books we make in Book Creator.

So the objective of my lesson was to have students use the app for daily math practice. Students would go to the Showbie app to find their assignment, watch the video, download the practice document to Explain Everything, solve and then turn it in to Dropbox. Below is a screenshot of what students see in the Showbie app to assist them in finding their assignments.

The video students watched was made using the Explain Everything app. I used it to show students how to solve a similar math problem they would solve on their own. Here is an example of one of my videos:

Once students watched the video they would solve their own problem using the app. I wanted students to save their video to the camera roll. However, the problem was it took WAY TOO LONG!! The work around was to just have students save the project and export it to Dropbox. It took all but a second. Unfortunately, it took me all week to figure this out! Below is an example of a student’s version in which she explains how to solve the math problem. I hope you are able to see what a great assessment piece this is for the teacher. Listening to students explain how they solve a problem is vital in getting to the core of student’s misunderstandings. Once I watched student videos I was able to make plans for how I would teach the next lesson. It was very helpful.

If you are interested in doing this in your classroom, check out the video I made for my teachers.

What do you think about using this in your math class? 
Can you think of other ways this app would be useful in the classroom?