Insert and Annotate Video
The ability to insert a video, live or existing, has probably been the most requested feature we have received since EE was first released. It's also been one of the most challenging things to pull off in a way that makes sense. We have always wanted video objects to behave like all other objects in EE (drawings, shapes, images, text, etc.). We are thrilled that we are going to be able to provide this feature in EE 2.0 and even more excited to see how creative our users can get. Please note that inserted video objects will make the project file sizes larger, and they also take a longer time to compress. We'll be releasing an updated version of the EE Compressor for Mac that can compress projects with inserted videos more efficiently shortly after EE 2.0 is published.
The very friendly people from Buc-a-buc farms (www.bucabuc.com
) allowed us to use a couple of their videos to demonstrate the insert video feature. You can view the original videos (warning: very cute) at these two links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1qwD3ArWxc and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOUM7ys3Qlc
. There are a few things you might notice in the demo video above. First, the drawings can stick to the video objects so when they get moved around, the drawings hold their relative position. Second, it's possible to have multiple videos playing at the same time. Do this with care as your iPad has limited memory and you don't want to risk a crash! Third, it's possible to mute the audio from the videos or include it. You will find a volume slider for the inserted video object.
The fun doesn't stop there. It's also possible to insert a video camera and screencast over live video. You can walk around and annotate a tour of your building or use the front facing camera to show your face as you talk through your explanation. This is especially fun with an iPad Mini since it's lighter and smaller and easier to work with using one hand. Remember, exporting will require patience, but we think that this feature is so cool that exported projects will be well worth the wait. Also remember that you can play back uncompressed projects from within the app or using the EE Player app for Mac OS X.
That's it for our announced updates. You'll find additional changes and improvements in the app when EE 2.0 is released in the very near future. We're just doing a final round of bug fixes and then it will be sent to Apple for review. Thanks for your patience in waiting for this update. Also, thanks in advance for your flexibility as we realize with such an open ended tool, we can't test every single possible use case. Those who have contacted our support team I hope can vouch for how quickly we respond and how hard we work to address every single bug that gets reported (hence our taking great care in pushing this update!). Stay tuned!
Home Screen and Project Merging
The Home Screen (sometimes also referred to as the Project Screen) has undergone a visual enhancement. On the top left, you will now find three buttons: New Blank Project, New Project from File, and Export. Pressing New Blank Project will bring down the options for selecting a background and color template. Pressing New Project from FIle will take you to the Sources panel where you can choose a single file or a group of photos to set up as a new project. The Export button will allow you to export a project from the Home Screen.
On the top right you will find the Preferences button and the Info button. We have consolidated all of Explain Everything's preferences into this menu. Here is where you can change Record Screen settings, Export Preferences, and manage linked accounts. Please note that the images in the gallery above are from a beta version. There are some final polishing pieces we still need to put into place.
One highly requested feature was the ability to merge projects together. We have made this possible! Press and hold on a project thumbnail and then drag it on top of another project. You will be prompted with a message asking if you want to add the project to the beginning or end of the project you to which you are trying to merge it.
We also have received a lot of requests for adding project organization options like folders. This option will be available soon. We did not want to rush it or have its development delay the release of EE 2.0 any longer, but please know that it is high on our feature list and should make an appearance very soon!
iBooks and iTunesU
In addition to the basic help file built into the app, we are providing two free resources that may be helpful to teachers, students, tech integrators, and anyone interested in learning more about what can be done with Explain Everything. We chose to create both an iBook and an iTunesU course because we felt that most people who were actively using or simply exploring Explain Everything already have access to an iPad and therefore would be able to utilize these types of resources. A great aspect about iBooks and iTunesU is that the content in both spaces is dynamic. We are making these resources available ahead of the release of EE 2.0 so users can get even more familiar with what to expect when they install the update.
Please note that some sections are incomplete, in development, or awaiting updates based on changes we have made as we finalize the development and address bugs.
For example, one feature we know we are pushing back until 2.1 is project folders. When we were writing the book we hoped to have it ready for 2.0, but as we pursued it we realized that certain design choices would impact other areas. We want to make sure this feature is done well while not also delaying the release of 2.0 any longer. Another example is an update to the Inspector tool. We now have will have an option to set an object as the background in 2.0 which we did not originally think would be ready. We didn't write about it in the current version of the book but will soon make the revision. We like to be transparent about our design choices and our development process, and we hope that our users recognize that everything we do has a lot of thought and testing behind it.
Our new friend David Malone helped us construct this manual. Our plan is to augment existing sections with user examples, additional video or still images, and suggested use cases and add new sections as features get added to EE. We hope that this book will serve as an ever-growing source of information and ideas for EE users. We will release updates to the iBook in the same way we release updates to the app. You only need to have one copy of the iBook and you can check your iBooks app for updates.
You can download the book by installing the iBooks app and then going to this link on your iPad (an AppleID is required for download): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/explain-everything/id591601596?ls=1
iTunes U provides a great interface for non-guided, self-paced instruction. Changes to the iTunesU course automatically get sent as alerts to enrolled students. As we add or replace content there, users will know immediately. We hope to provide a different experience than the iBook in this course by creating scaffolded activities that provide opportunities to practice using the tool or to demonstrate understanding of how it works. We will also add larger project challenges for enthusiastic users to take on.
You can enroll in the course by installing the free iTunesU app and then going to one of the links on this page.
This is a video submitted by a user, a 7th grade science teacher who uses EE to create videos for his students. It looks like he created the animations in EE and then used iMovie to do the final production including music, video speed, and voice overs. Nice work!
Source Panel & Google Drive
When you choose to import a new file to start a project, import materials into an existing project, or export your project to tools and services outside of Explain Everything, you will be taken to the brand new "Sources" panel.
We are still fine-tuning some of the workflow pieces and menu choices, but as you can see in the photo above, you will be able to seamlessly navigate between cloud services and areas on your iPad with which Explain Everything Integrates. One idea for managing your spaces would be to use one service (e.g. Dropbox) for saving files that you want to be able to import into Explain Everything. You can make a 'clip art' folder that contains frequently imported images or documents. Then, you can use another service (e.g. Evernote) for exporting and organizing completed projects. Each tool has affordances and limitations that are dependent on user needs and interests. We simply try to provide as wide a range of choices for everyone!
Below is information about some of the most frequently used sources.
This lets you access your iPad Photo Roll and Photo Stream for importing photos and video (you read that correctly - we'll post about that soon!).
If you connect your iPad to a computer, open iTunes, navigate to the Apps tab, and then scroll down you will see that you can manually add files to Explain Everything from your computer. To browse these files, choose iTunes from the Sources panel.
This cloud storage service, which is available for free though you can purchase additional space, is a flexible and iPad friendly file management tool. Large files can be stored in Dropbox and files and folders can easily be shared.
Photos and files that are in Evernote notes can be imported into Explain Everything. If you want the text from a note itself, one option is to take a screenshot of the note from the Evernote App and then import it from the photo roll. Another option is to copy the text and then paste it using the Text Tool (probably a good idea to change the font size to something a little smaller before pasting).
Before Google Drive launched over the summer, it was a bit tricky to integrate with the original Google Docs system to access regular files stored in their system. Now we have made it so that you can import and export files with Google Drive. Please note that traditional Google Docs files (things like documents, spreadsheets, or presentations) cannot be imported directly. Please convert these files to more conventional type like Doc, XLS, PDF, PPT and then import them into EE. If you want to show a Google Doc as it appears in a browser you can use the Insert a Browser feature.
Many institutions and services have set up WebDAV services to give users a private and more controllable storage environment for iPad materials. There are a lot of variables with WebDAV configurations, so if yours is not working please let us know and we will try our best to make it work for your situation.
Box, like Dropbox, offers free cloud storage and additional storage at incremental costs.
Background and Pen Color Templates
Background and Pen Color Templates
Another highly requested feature was the option to use background colors other than white. In EE 1.x, it was possible to use a an imported image or a colored shape to mimic the effect of a different background color. This is still possible to do (and now even easier with the Lock Object function). However, we have created four color templates to choose from when starting a new project. When you press the "+" sign to start a new blank project, you will be prompted to select a color template. Each template has a background color and color picker options for the Draw, Text, and Shape Tools that are optimized to work with the background. Every template has access to standard Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, White, and Black colors on the top row of the color picker. There are also five unique colors in the bottom row that change depending on which background you have chosen.
The Slide Sorter, which is now on the bottom toolbar and activated when you press the slide counter, allows you to change the template for your entire project OR for individual slides. The images in the gallery below showcase the templates. We're still fine tuning some of the default color combinations so what you see in the images below may not be the final colors. And remember, you can change the Draw Tool to any color you want so you are not limited by the colors we set in the color pickers.
One of our favorite educators, Lisa Johnson (AKA @TechChef4U
), shared a really cool video of students creating a project on plate tectonics using Explain Everything and Keynote. It's really great to see all the different tools and animation approaches being used by the students. In one example you can see two continents drifting apart from each other. The student is taking advantage of the fact that you can animate multiple objects on the stage at the same time.
Here is what Lisa had to say about the project:"Our students used Explain Everything to teach plate tectonics. It was an app-tastic blending and showcase of the C's of technology integration:
I was truly impressed with how the tool served as much more than a substitution for paper and pencil tasks, it redefined how students explained and consumed content. Not being science-minded myself, I found that many of these concepts were much easier to understand using Explain Everything than with using other presentation apps."
- Collate & Curate: students located images, animated gifs, and research online to assemble a resource that would teach the chosen skill or concept.
- Create and Communicate: students created a multimedia resources with graphics and layouts that were visually pleasing and enhanced and contributed to the overall understanding of the concepts.
- Curious, Comment, Collaborate: Students collaborated and taught each other the technology skills they needed to achieve the content portion of the task in real time. Many were very curious as to how students added different features. I heard questions like, “How do you animate the continent images to show drift?” and “Show me how you embedded an animated gif in Explain Everything?” which prompted multiple collaborations.
Lisa has also shared the rubric below which was used to assess the project. Visit Lisa's blog to learn more: http://www.techchef4u.com/?p=4169
Many users had requested the ability to edit portions of a recording on a given slide. In Explain Everything 1.x, if you make an error during a recording you have to re-record the entire slide. We have added a function to help make mistakes a little more forgiving.
Press on the time counter on the bottom toolbar to reveal and hide the timeline scrubber. You will see two tracks. The upper track provides information about tools, objects and colors. IN the example above, you can see the points in time where a red pen, a yellow pen, and a blue pen were used. The hand indicates that objects were moved around on the stage at that point.
The lower track reveals the audio waveform.
You can manually rewind the track to the point of a mistake using one finger to swipe left or right. Use two fingers to pinch or reverse pinch the timeline to zoom in and out on the timeline.
When you press the 'Record' button in the middle of the track, it will erase everything after that point and begin the new recording. Press the Fast Forward button to quickly go to the end of the current recording.
Please note: It is not possible to redo a portion in the middle of an existing recording right now, but we are working on making this possible!
Duplicate, Lock, Copy, Paste, & Arrange
Inspector Tool (formerly Arrange Tool)
We are replacing the Arrange Tool with a new Inspector Tool. Don't worry, all of the arrange options are still available. Many of our users had been asking for the option to duplicate objects on the stage or to lock them. We have made this possible! Select the inspector tool and then choose an object on the stage. A moving dotted outline will appear around the selected object (or group of objects) and a menu will pop up with two columns of choices.
The left menu choices (Bring to Front, Bring Forward, Send Backward, Send to Back) are the same ones that have always been in the arrange tool. Choose an option to change the position of the selected object(s).
The duplicate button will create a clone of the selected object(s) and place it on the stage next to the original object.
Copy & Paste
Press the Copy button to put a copy of the selected object(s) in your temporary clipboard. Select the inspector and click anywhere on the stage or on an object to reveal the paste option. The object(s) can be added to the existing slide or to a new slide at any time.
Locking an object with hold the object(s) in position until they are unlocked (also using the inspector tool). Locking objects prevents them from accidentally being moved around.
A Potentially Helpful Combination..
When you add an image or document to the stage and lock it AND switch the preference for 'Drawings become objects' to off, you can use the draw tool and eraser to freely write and erase over the locked document and use the Zoom tool to navigate around. This might be a helpful alternative for some users!
This user-submitted video is a wonderful example of how to leverage the best aspects of different tools and learning spaces in order to meet teaching, learning, and assessment objects. David Malone highlights using Explain Everything (construction of understanding) as a mediator between iTunes U (starting materials and direct instruction) and Evernote (repository and assessment).