Innovate how you get a message across, from your mind to the eyes and ears of an audience, with authenticity, immediacy and delight. Designed for new and ongoing learners of Explain Everything, the software, as well as new and current employees of Explain Everything Inc., the company, this course provides two paths to completion, with one path leading with the tools and the other leading with outcomes in education, business, and beyond, made more easily possible with Explain Everything.
Explain Everything is a freeform creation tool that innovates getting a message from your mind to the eyes and ears of audiences, all from a mobile device.
It works like an interactive whiteboard, allowing for quick communication with students, colleagues, and customers.
Share knowledge, build understanding, and inspire meaningful engagement. Groups of any size can work together in real-time and use seamless integrations with Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.
Welcome to Explain Everything Academy. My name is Reshan Richards, and in addition to being the Chief Learning Officer and co-founder of Explain Everything, I am also your facilitator. This course serves as professional development for people who want to learn about using Explain Everything. This course will be expanded and updated as we update the app. We’ll go over the Basic Design Tools as well as general best practices, recording, sharing, collaboration,, and uses cases in education, business, and beyond.
It is the same course that we use to train our own team members - new and ongoing - about the tool and how leaders and learners are experiencing it.
Explain Everything is a mobile and web collaborative learning platform that innovates getting a message from your mind to the eyes and ears of audiences, with authenticity, immediacy, and delight. At its most basic level, it allows you to naturally capture everything you are saying and everything happening on the device screen and then share that content right away using whatever method you want. Your first use might be to simply record your voice to explain an image or document and then you, and anyone else you are working with, will learn and grow from there.
The platform is based on an animation engine that presents itself as an interactive whiteboard, allowing for quick and effective knowledge sharing with students, colleagues, and customers.
At its core, Explain Everything exists in order to inspire better understanding.
We hope you enjoy this course!
There is a lot that you can do with Explain Everything, so here are 5 things that we think you should try first. We’ve had a lot of conversations and experiences with learners using Explain Everything for the first time, and we’ve found that these items seem to draw the most interest and generate the most ideas that are connected to different contexts.
Start a new blank project and then take a picture of something interesting in the space you are currently in (or that is currently nearby). Next, press the record button and describe by speaking and by “drawing” attention to what you find interesting about the photo you just made using the Draw Tool and the Zoom Tool. Stop recording, and then Share your creation as a video via email to a friend or colleague who will appreciate your effort! You may want to include some context in the body of the email.
In the same project you just made and share, press the three dots next to the record button and enable “Mix” recording. This will allow you to go back and add more visual layers to your creation. Mute the microphone as well unless you plan to record multiple audio layers.
Rewind, add a title text box, and then record to play back to watch and listen to what you created. Pause at moments to add some additional content that might help to tell your story better or add it in while the recording is happening. Maybe it’s a clipart item, maybe it’s a file saved in the Cloud, or maybe it’s a website.
Use the full-screen playback (in the three dots menu) to watch your remixed creation!
Add one more slide to your project to continue the story with a fresh canvas. What you created before will still be there, but now you can shift focus and attention to some new ideas.
See what other kinds of content you can add and create!
Insert a New Video to enable a camera that can capture live video as you record and explain. You can explain what you are seeing OR record your face to add a touch of authenticity to your creation.
Find a friend or colleague who can get Explain Everything on their device (they don’t have to be in the same room or building) and invite them to join your project. See what you can build together!
The Hand tool lets you manipulate things on the screen.
I’m going to start with a slide that already has some content on it. In the next video, I’ll show you how to start a blank project. Later in the course there will be a whole section about the other ways to create and manage projects.
Let’s introduce some terminology. This is the Record Screen, this is the canvas. Something that gets added to the canvas is an object.
Everything that gets added to or created on Explain Everything’s canvas is an independent object. Any object can be moved, rotated, and scaled using multi-touch gestures. And these actions can be done to multiple objects at once.
Objects get added to the canvas in layers, with the most recent object being on top.
Pressing the Hand Tool a second time will reveal a switch for Snap to Objects, which can be helpful when trying to be be precise with object positioning and sizing.
There is a lot more you can do with an object including arranging, duplicating, locking, aligning and flipping objects in the Inspector, something explained in the Advanced Tools.
Consider the Hand tool your ‘home state.’
This is the Project Screen where you would first be when launching the app following the welcome information and tour. This plus button will allow you to start a blank project.
By default the Draw Tool will be active when starting a new project. In this floating tool bar, there are options to change the pen thickness, pen style and colors.
While actively drawing, any forms drawn are being added to a single object. The check mark can be used to close an object and start a new drawing.
The Draw Fill button will automatically close an active drawing and fill it with the color indicated in the color picker.
Drawings automatically stick to, or get grouped with, the object directly beneath it. This can be toggled on and off in the settings, something covered later in the course.
With the Apple Pencil, you can use Zoom and Pan multi-touch gestures to resize and move the canvas without switching tools. You can also change the stroke action when using the pencil style.
The Draw tool is the fastest way to get started Explaining!
The Highlighter functions in way very similar to the Draw Tool. Highlights will automatically group to the object below. You can change the color and thickness of your highlighter as well in the floating toolbar.
The Eraser has three modes and Explain Everything automatically switches the mode depending on what you are doing.
While actively drawing, the eraser by default will only erase parts of the object that is being created. When the Drawing is complete or another tool is selected, the Eraser can erase parts of any drawing, which is the second mode.
You can switch between Eraser modes at any time.
The third Eraser Mode allows you to erase parts of any image object on the stage, creating a see-through ‘hole’ in the object.
The Bucket Fill tool will fill any area recognized as ‘closed’ with the selected color. Explain Everything will actually create a layer on top of the original object. It is not replacing the pixels.
In the Tools - Advanced Design section we’ll go over grouping and ungrouping objects
When activated, the Shape Tool will have a floating toolbar similar to that of the Draw Tool.
Here you can select the type of shape you want to create and then press and drag on the stage to make it. The border and fill colors will be determined by the active color picker.
The free-form shape tool allows you to draw a form and have Explain Everything convert it into a shape object based on its best estimation of what was constructed. Rectangles, ellipses, triangles, lines, and arrows can be created this way.
There are even a few special gestures that generate some fun objects.
Properties such as Shadow and Border width can be changed before or after a shape has been created. Double tap a previously created shape to change its properties.
Objects created with the Draw Fill have actually become shapes and those too can be adjusted by double tapping.
After you select the Text tool, tap once or press and drag to create a text box.
The keyboard will automatically appear and you can begin typing.
If your keyboard supports dictation, you can speak right into the text box.
If your device supports Emojis, you can add them too!
Colors can be set for the draw tool, highlighter, shape tool, and text tool. The text tool color picker is displayed differently than with the other tools.
Press a color once to select it. Press it a second time to change the colors. For the draw tool, shape tool, and text tool, there are two color options for each picker. With the draw tool, its stroke and fill for when Draw Fill is used. For shapes its border and fill. And for the text tool its the text color and the text box background.
Opacity can be set by moving this slider. As you move it left, the color becomes more transparent.
Custom colors can be added by tapping the plus button. Choose a color on the wheel or enter HEX or RGB values. The Eye dropper will let you match a color on the screen.
The colors you set will be available from tool to tool and will be saved with the project
Let's check your understanding of how objects can be created and how they behave.
The Insert Object menu contains a lot of options, and we’ll just focus on inserting an existing image or video.
This option will access your device’s local photo storage and allow you to select a single media file and import it onto the stage.
When you insert a single image, you will be taken to a photo editor where you can crop, rotate, and lasso select a section of the image before adding it to the stage.
When you insert a video, tap it while the Hand Tool is selected to bring up the playback and volume controls.
Images and videos can be moved, rotated, and scaled like any other objects.
When you choose File from the Insert Object menu, you will be presented with a list of sources from which you can import a variety of file types. This includes PDF, Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and common text, image, and video formats.
If a file has multiple pages or slides, you can choose how you want the content to be added to the stage. You can stage content across multiple slides or add the pages to the current slide.
As mentioned in the Draw Tool explanation, when you annotate a file (or any object for that matter) those markings will automatically stick to the object beneath it.
Take a picture of anything or anyone and add it to the canvas. After you take a pictures you will be taken to a photo editor screen where you can do some light editing before adding the image to the canvas. Just hit the Done button to go right to the canvas.
The Laser pointer allows you to draw attention to areas of the stage without leaving any marks on the content being shown.
There are multiple pointer styles to choose from.
The pointer can be offset in the Settings so that your finger or stylus is not covering the point of contact, allowing you to be more precise
The delete tool allows you to select and delete a single object or multiple objects. Press once on an object while the delete tool is selected and select the X to remove it. If two or more objects are grouped together, press twice to select the entire group.
You can also multi-select separate objects or object groups and delete them all at once.
The Undo button will reverse the last action taken, such as adding an drawing or moving an object. If something has been undone, a Redo button will appear, canceling the most recent Undo action.
Explain Everything has an infinite canvas. You can zoom really far out and really far in. The Zoom tool has multiple modes, and for now we’re going to focus on the default mode.
Use two finger gestures to zoom in and out of the stage. A percentage indicator will let you know how far in or out you are. Press the reset button to return to the original scale and position of your stage.
When in this Zoom mode, your audience, whether watching a projection on a screen, watching a video, or in a collaborative session, will see exactly what you are seeing on your device.
Inserting a new browser will add a fully functional web browser right on the Explain Everything canvas.
The browser can be move, rotated, and scaled like any other object. Some annotations can even stick to a page and scroll with it!
Pages can be favorited and the browser will remember the last page it was on if you navigated away or even closed and reopened the project.
Please note that there are some limits as to what content, actions, and animations get captured while recording, either due to technical or licensing restrictions.
The Insert Object menu has lots of choices. The Clipart library contains hundreds of free-to-use images created by members of the Explain Everything team! Swipe the bottom icons to browse through different categories. You can select one or multiple images and then tap Insert to add them to the canvas.
The first tab in Clipart contains Custom Clipart, a library that you can add to using the Inspector tool. This is covered later on.
We have even worked with some organizations to help them make their entire internal icon libraries available to all members of their group account.
When you choose to insert a new video object, a live camera will be added to the canvas. You can record a video that can be used and played at a later point.
Some people find it helpful to use the front-facing camera to add a personal touch at certain points of a project
Insert Image from Web lets you choose from a open-source library of clipart and other images images offered under a Creative Commons Public Domain license. Safe Search is enabled for this integration, but search for images at your own risk!
Use Insert Object -> New Equation to bring up a math editor that allows you to add many different mathematical symbols and structures. Use the arrows to place the cursor precisely in the area of the equation or structure where you want to add more content.
Switch to the standard keyboard to access more input choices.
Single tap an existing equation to edit it.
Add music and other audio files directly from your local music library. The audio object that gets added behaves just like a video object with its own control tools.
Audio files not saved in your music library can be added via Insert Object -> File.
New audio objects can be created directly in Explain Everything. The control bar lets you trigger the added object to play back at the moment you want it to. Audio objects can be moved, rotated, and scaled just like any other object.
The Cutout tool let you create copies of rectangular, freeform, and precise sections of content already on the canvas. You can use this tool on anything and create separate pieces from something that was previously stuck together.
The Inspector is full of options for arranging, editing, and locking individual and groups of objects. It is helpful to spend some time playing around with these options as they can often help to solve a lot of design and object organization questions!
The arrange tab lets you change the layer order of objects as well as align them
The edit tab lets you group and ungroup objects. You can duplicate objects or copy them from one slide and paste them to another. You can change the orientation of an object with the flip options.
Auto rotation will make an object spin indefinitely, automatically!
Set as background will make an object or group of objects the background. THings will not get auto-grouped when drawing, and when using the standard zoom the background will stay fixed.
Adding as clipart lets you take an object or group of objects and add it to you personal clipart library, making it easy to access and reuse existing creations.
Locking objects helps to prevent unwanted changes to an object. You can lock its entire state - this is relative to other objects so it will still change with the Zoom tool. You can lock just the Rotation or just the Scale. YOu can lock just its Horizontal or its Vertical position.
Snap Rotation will make the object snap to the closest 90 degree position as you rotate it.
There is a Trash icon that lets you delete selected object(s) right from the Inspector.
The Quick Share button lets you quickly share an image of selected objects.
The Stealth mode of Zoom and Pan lets you zoom in and out of the canvas without it affecting how your audience will see it, whether in a live setting, a collaborative session, or in a video.
The red outline indicates the audience view. Zooming in while in Stealth mode allows you to add details in smaller sections of the canvas. Zooming out lets you create a space to temporarily place existing objects that you may want to bring in later.
Let's check your understanding of some of the advanced behaviors and options for objects.
Each project can have multiple slides, each slide being its own infinite canvas.
The Slide Sorter lets your quickly navigate through and reorder slides. There is also an Add Slide option here.
Press the Edit button and select one or more slides to enable several options. Selected slides can be duplicated and deleted.
The palette lets you change the background of the selected slides. The color for the background can be changed using the color palettes. A pattern or texture can be added as well, and there are many color possibilities for this as well.
Slides that have recording on them can quickly have that recording removed without deleting the slide.
A Placeholder is a touch point on the screen that allows quick insertion and positioning of an object on the canvas. There are placeholders for most object types and these can be especially useful for creating activities and templates for use within Explain Everything.
A Video Overlay is a streaming video object that does not get added to the canvas itself. A video Overlay can be useful for instructions on a template or comments to an ongoing project. To add a video overlay you need to have the public URL of the video - YouTube, Discover, Dropbox and more - and paste it. An internet connection is required to watch the video overlay.
To remove a video overlay from a project, tap on the I and delete the existing URL text. The overlay will automatically disappear.
One fun brain break is to search for a painting tutorial video, open Explain Everything, and then record yourself using the Draw Tool to follow along the instructor. You will need to get creative with the color palette, stroke size, and opacity to create interesting layers and textures.
Dr. Reshan Richards is adjunct assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, associate at Columbia University’s School for Professional Studies, and Chief Learning Officer at Explain Everything, which he co-founded. Reshan also teaches Startup 101, an entrepreneurship course at Montclair Kimberley Academy in NJ and works with school leaders all over the world through the Global Online Academy network.
Reshan is the author of Blending Leadership: Six Simple Beliefs for Leading Online and Off and writes a monthly column about leadership and technology on EdSurge. His research on mobile technology and assessment has been recognized internationally in publications such as the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, the International Journal of Instructional Media, and most recently in the Handbook of Mobile Learning in the Contemporary Classroom.
An Apple Distinguished Educator and member of Mensa, Reshan has an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University, an Ed.M in Learning and Teaching from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Music from Columbia University.