Explain Everything Explore Lesson

I thought that I would write about a lesson that I am doing with grades four and five to better introduce Explain Everything. In the past I haven’t done the best job of introducing the app and many teachers and students have thought of it as a slide show app.  They didn’t realize the importance of the audio track.
Over the summer one of the things that Explain Everything updated was adding a “Simple Interface”. I was very excited about this before school started. One of my issues with Explain Everything was that it was so full of tools that students spent a lot of time playing instead of working.

So I started with grade four. We decided that we were going to use Explain Everything to complete a Math activity. We decided first to give them an explore activity. So I planned out an explore activity where the students had to follow the directions on some slides and show “proof” of each thing that they had learned how to do with the iPad.  

One of the nice things about the fact that many of these students have had iPads for 2 or three years in school, is that they know what some of the obvious common buttons are and they aren’t afraid to click and try them before asking for help.    

Once they had some time to explore around in Explain Everything they were given their Math task with directions for what must be in their presentation. 

They were then given two class times to complete their presentation.  As expected, students were taking different amounts of time to finish.  Some finished on the first day, some thought they finished on the first day and some took all of day two to finish. 

What was nice about having the explore session first is that the questions that were asked on the day that I introduced the activity were questions like:
How do I show my thinking?
Can I use my whiteboard?
Can I use a piece of paper?

And not questions about how to insert pictures or other elements that we had explored. This was great because it meant that they had become comfortable enough during the explore lesson to concentrate on the activity they should be doing and not how the app worked.  

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