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Explain Everything

My posts in the past have been to show you how to use an iPad to present to a classroom. While this post is right in line with that, the idea is that your classroom is no longer right in front of you, but instead at home or elsewhere in front of their iPad or computer watching the presentation you have created.

I have looked at a few screen recording apps for the iPad and this one (Explain Everything) wins hands down (keep in mind this isn’t real screen recording as iOS 5.1 does not support multi-tasking in the same way a computer does) – I made a post earlier about how to screencast your iPad screen, but it requires a Mac and other software software, this app will stand on its own. ShowMe and Screen Chomp are the main competitors in this arena but neither of them allow you to export your video and use it as you please, that’s the main reason this app wins.

Explain Everything costs $2.99 and you can download it from the app store.

When you enter the app you can create a new project from the main screen. You can create projects from images you have on your device, from Evernote, Dropbox and others or you can create a blank project and add images later.


Multiple thicknesses and colours of pens
Laser pointer
Add printed text
Add images from several services
*Add web browser* – This feature is a favourite because you can actually navigate the web making annotations and comments as you go.
Slides – You can add new slides which makes it easy to go to a new workspace. Because you can set up slides before recording you can actually move to a new workspace that has text images and annotations ready to work with. This could save potential record/playback time.


Low resolution! I’m not sure why the resolution of pens and shapes are so low. Images you add still look fine, but when you draw on the screen the lines are quite pixelated.
Slow compression time! When you’ve finished your recording it will take as much or more time to compress your video into a video files as it did to record (and you can’t leave the app).


Pages and GoodReader

I’ve been using my iPad more than I ever have over the past month.  It’s hard to believe I used it almost exclusively for entertainment for the first year I had it, when the power and versatility really do make it useful for many things!

I started using GoodReader about a month ago to annotate PDFs.  I download a lot of articles for school and the iPad is the best way to view them, but I never had an application that allowed me highlight and markup the page with such ease.  

After playing around with it for a while I realized that I essentially have a giant canvas to work on.  Working with a stylus I can write clearly and draw diagrams with great accuracy.  This led to me to the thought of using good reader as a presentation tool, similar to an interactive whiteboard application.  This tutorial shows you how to make a template and and save it as a PDF using Pages ($9.99), and then open that template and start presenting using GoodReader (4.99).  Just so you know, there are other ways to create PDFs without spending $9.99 on Pages, but I already use pages and it works great.  You could also make any document on your computer (in MS Word, or Pages for Mac etc.) and save/export as a PDF, but then you have to get the document to your device (you could use e-mail, iTunes sync or dropbox to name a few)


iPads for story telling

This TEDtalks was my inspiration for this assignment on how to use iPads for presenting.  This story teller uses the iPad in a way that’s quite different from how most people use it, he uses his iPad to present a story.  I’m not a story teller, but I am a teacher (or at least I will be soon), and teachers want to be able to share what they know with students in engaging ways.  And more importantly, teachers want their students to be able to show what they know in creative and engaging ways.

Enjoy this TEDtalks

How to make your own tutorial video

I have created a (rather long) tutorial on how to create your own iPad tutorial videos.  

Why should you make tutorial videos for iPad apps???

There are many tutorial videos online for how to use iPad apps in general ways, but sometimes you might want your students to do something specific.  If you create a tutorial, it can be posted and can explain exactly what you want them to do.  You should keep all tutorials or examples under 5 minutes (I’m still working on this)  because information will be forgotten in longer tutorials. The advantage to tutorials is that students can watch them over and over again.  Once you have made a couple tutorials, it doesn’t take long to repeat the process. You can show students how to login to accounts, what you are expecting from a specific assignment, how to complete the assignment and more.

The first video shows you 2 applications. The first is reflection (only available on mac), which allows you to project your iPad on to your mac screen ($14.99 app), and the second is Omni Dazzle (only available on mac) which allows you to apply screen effects to your presentation while you are presenting (free app).

The second video shows you how to use another 2 applications.  The first is Camtasia (mac or windows) which allows you to capture your screen as a video ($49.99 app, 30 day free trial), and the second is iMovie (only on a mac) wich allows you to edit video files and add great transitions and titles to your presentations (free with a mac).

Creating a Google Account

I have created a short tutorial video on how to create a google account.  The reason I think you should create a google account is 20-fold (or something like that).  Google has several free services that you can use in the classroom, for organizing information and for presenting.  I wrote a quick post on using youtube to present information, and in order to do so you will need a google account.

I encourage you to take the time to look at all of the free services that google has to offer.

The video has significant crackling due to the mic I was using.  I have thrown out that mic so you don’t hear crackling in other videos, but I didn’t want to redo the video, so I hope you can bare through it! 😉


youtube and iPad

The iPad has a great interface for navigating youtube.  The app comes installed on every new iPad so there is no need to download the app from the app store.  You can easily sign in to youtube from the device to access subscribed videos and you can search for content using the native search bar.  So, why use youtube when presenting?  Videos are a great way to get students engaged in a topic, and there are millions of videos on youtube that are all FREE.  Not only that, youtube makes it easy for you upload your own content to youtube right from the iPad.  Any video you create with the iPad camera can be posted to youtube.  Simply go to the camera roll by pressing the thumbnail image on the bottom left of the screen, then click the share button located on the bar at the top of the screen, and press ‘send to youtube’.  You will need a google/youtube account to sign in, and then just upload.  Students can make videos private or unlisted so that the content remains hidden to the public, or you can share it with the world.  The ‘send to youtube’ option is built in to the iOS software so it is available in other video editing applications (like iMovie).

The ability to create a quick video and share it with the class when presenting is a powerful way for you to engage students, or for students to engage their peers when giving presentations.  

I am still cautious of promoting students to upload to youtube, especially if they are recording other students, so this is something that should be considered.  You should be familiar with google terms, and understand the difference between unlisted and private, and know what is best to use.  

Using the iPad to access and upload youtube videos is simple, and is a great tool that can be used for presenting.

Prezi and iPad


Prezi is a great presentation tool that is non-linear in nature.  It offers a dynamic way of presenting that is simply not possible with traditional Presenting applications (like powerpoint and keynote).  Prezi is continuously upgrading their web application to include more features, but it still lacks many advanced features that you would expect from professional presentation platforms.  One great reason to use the service as teachers (and students) is because its FREE!  Prezi offers a free version of Prezi to Educators and Students.

The main critique to using Prezi with your iPad is that you can only VIEW your Prezi on an iPad.  You cannot create Prezi’s from your iPad.  Prezi has made it possible to edit Prezis on iPad, but it is a sub-par patch.  Prezi only allows you to change text you already created, so it is not very useful if you want to add objects, or change the sequence of your Prezi.

I have attached two videos that show you how to use Prezi.  The first is a tutorial on how to use the Prezi website and web application.  The second shows how to get Prezi working on your iPad.  Happy Presenting!