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Using Educreations App on the iPad To Interact with Students

Lowell Thomson's picture
Sat, 04/05/2014 - 05:06 -- Lowell Thomson

 

When the iPad first arrived a few years ago, I avoided purchasing one as I thought it would only be good for accessing content. My needs revolve more around producing content, rather than simply as a consumer. A few months ago after much deliberation I decided to take the plunge. I bought an iPad Air with the intent to use it within my class and to create videos for my courses. I use ExplainEverything to create the videos I share with my students within my flipped classes. I also take pictures during labs or whiteboarding and Tweet them using the class hashtag.

 

But the focus of this post is an app I've only started using recently. In fact, the first time I tried Educreations was on a whim. I had received an email from a student asking a question about a stoichiometry problem. In the past, I might have tried to slog my way through an explanation to the student about the conversions required. Previously, while trying to decide what app to use for video creation, I tested Educreations. It didn't match my needs, so I moved on. However, for this email conundrum, it seemed perfect. To answer the student, I simply created a 90-second video with some explanation to answer her question. I then sent her the link to the video. Voila! Problem solved. Total time investment: about three minutes. Based on the student response to the video "help" I'd say it was a success.

 

Since this trial run, I've answered a number of student emails using this method. And each time, the students are amazed that I can provide them such a personal answer so quickly. But the reality is that it's just as easy to make these short video snippets as it is to try to type an email response to something complex. And I can provide graphics and show them my problem-solving method. I like the flexibility provided by Educreations in creating a bigger canvas to write on by dragging the screen around a bit. This solves - to a certain degree - the major problem I've got with my iPad: not enough screen real estate. I might be in the minority, but I'd love to see a larger iPad in the future.

 

One additional use I've found for Educreations is offering "homework help." I now occasionally choose one (or more) of the more difficult problems from a homework assignment and work through it using Educreations. I then Tweet the link to the class so they can use it as a resource. Similar to the email help, this process typically takes 3-4 minutes from start to finish. If you're interested in one of these videos, here is a link to an example. Please remember, though, that these videos are not meant to be refined. They are simply quick - but hopefully useful - explanations of a question from the homework.

 

One drawback I've found with Educreations is the difficulty in adding pictures and diagrams. The current version allows access to the iPad Camera Roll, the camera itself, Dropbox, and a web search. I'd love to see future versions include access to my OneDrive and GoogleDrive as well.

 

 

What apps do you use with your chemistry classes? I'd love to hear more ideas about how to use technology to interact and engage with students.

 

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Comments

Doug Ragan's picture
Submitted by Doug Ragan on

Lowell,

    I too have had much success with the quick “how to” videos.  Some problems are much better shown by example than by trying to explain by type the how too. I have stuck with the explain everything app rather than the educreations due to its integration with Google drive.  That app allows me to drop the videos into shared folders and works very well.    The app does allow front and rear facing camera and of course my favorite a lightsaber can be used as a laser pointer.  Thanks for posting.

Doug Ragan

@dragan39

Chemistry teacher

Hudsonville High School

Hudsonville, Michigan

Lowell Thomson's picture
Submitted by Lowell Thomson on

Doug,

Thanks for the comment. ExplainEverything certainly has the advantage in terms of integration. I too drop these videos into shared folders. And yes, the lightsaber laser pointer is a great feature. 

For me the biggest surprise in moving to an iPad was simply the large amount of choice available to me for creating and producing. I feel as though I'm just hitting the tip of the iceberg.

 

Thanks.

 

Lowell Thomson

@ThomsonScience

IB Chemistry Teacher

International School Bangkok

Submitted by Safia Jilani on

Thank you for sharing this with me! 

I have also heard of the educreations app, but I learned about it from a MS life science teacher that makes his kids make projects on them. I like how you use them to answer student questions. I have used skype or the "you take a photo of your question and I take a photo of my approach to solving the question" email exchange, but your educreation video seems really handy for explaining simple problem solving.

I have a lot to learn about how to incorporate education related technology into student learning in an efficeint and effective way.

Do you think there is any way to incorporate educreation or Explain Everything into a student led chemistry lab/project?

Thank you,

--Safia 

Lowell Thomson's picture
Submitted by Lowell Thomson on

Hi Safia,

Thanks for the comment. In terms of using educational technology, one area that I'm working on improving is having students do more of their own creation. I think many of the apps would work for students, including Educreation or ExplainEverything. In terms of a lab or project, students could also use iMovie to put together video clips and pictures from a lab to show what is happening as well.

I've had students create movies of labs before. It was sort of a one-off when I had a lot of students absent for conference tournaments. Not all groups were successful, but a few groups really created fantastic videos that were beneficial to those that were gone.

I hope you have success with incorporating new ideas!

Thanks.

Lowell

Lowell Thomson

@ThomsonScience

IB Chemistry Teacher

International School Bangkok

Yvette Masullo's picture
Submitted by Yvette Masullo on

thanks for sharing those resources: Educreations and the app "Explain Everything".  I am certainly going to explore them.  I am not in a flipped school but I have tried to bring in technology when I can.  I tried creating pencasts, which worked especially well for my chemistry students.  However, they take some time.  I think it important that the students can hear you as you explain the content so your suggestions are terrific.

I save to Dropbox mostly.  any recommendations on which you think would work more agreeably? Educreations or Explain Everything.  I noticed that the app costs $2.99 whereas the educreations site is a free service.

Thanks for sharing that.

Yvette Masullo

Lowell Thomson's picture
Submitted by Lowell Thomson on

Hi Yvette,

Thank you for the comment. I'm glad you found the resources helpful.

As for your question, I think you need to evaluate your needs. I personally think ExplainEverything is more versatile and more powerful for making videos. It also allows you to save to your own cloud - in your case, DropBox. 

I have run a Flipped model for quite some time. I used ScreenCast-O-Matic on my laptop previously. In moving to the iPad for my video-making I looked at quite a few alternatives, including ExplainEverything, Educreations, ShowMe, Knowmia Teach, and ScreenChomp. I'd recommend exploring the options of each of these to see if it has the features you want, then choose accordingly.

I knew I needed an App that would allow me to save to the cloud. I also needed an App that would allow me to import PowerPoint slides. I also needed the obvious ability to write on the slides and record my voice as I wrote. Of these, ExplainEverything worked the best for my standard videos. I have found, though, for the applications described in my post that Educreations worked great. That's the beauty of it all. There are so many choices that I found an App for each application.

I hope you find what you need!

 

Thanks.

Lowell

Lowell Thomson

@ThomsonScience

IB Chemistry Teacher

International School Bangkok