With my wonderful, 7-student, 7th grade class, we set off to explore Explain Everything on the iPad. We were motivated to try this because there are often more students who want to present their work and their thinking than are able to do so, within our time constraints. We thought that by using Explain Everything, all students would have the opportunity to articulate their thinking in addition to presenting their written work. Their first assignment was to explain how they would graph a quadratic equation without making a table. The example below demonstrates both areas of the student’s understanding as well as some misunderstandings that we could then address.
The night after this homework, class began with a litany of concerns/complaints. We wrote them on the board and then a student snapped a picture on his iPad and mailed them to me.
As can be seen, students had numerous technical concerns with Explain Everything. Feeling a bit down on technology, I then asked if there had been any advantages to working on the iPad, and the students jumped in with appreciation!
While the “fun” component of the work might eventually wear off, students found that voicing their thinking helped them to better understand the material. This was a key finding. And, students wanted more Ipad work and were brimming with ideas! Based on their input, we decided that for the next homework, rather than completing a hard copy of a worksheet with quadratic tables, they would complete a PDF of the worksheet in Explain Everything or Notability. After numerous challenges with sending the files, we concluded that Notability was the preferred program when not recording voice and that it was best to save the image to a photo roll and then save it to a Google drive folder. Great progress – much more exploration to be done!