Educreations and Explain Everything: Teaching and Learning on the Small Screen

 I hit the “Play” button on the video post and the voice of a virtual calculus student comes over my computer speakers as I stare at the snow-white screen in front of me. 

 “Hi Calculus class! This is Daisy, and here is my problem.”

“So you have a hill” – a down-sloping black line appears on my screen – “you’re going to have two gates, a blue gate and a red gate” – the blue gate appears uphill and the red gate downhill.  

“You have a skier at the first gate right now, and his coach is standing perpendicular to the second gate…” – two stick figures appear at their respective gates on the hill, then Daisy walks me through some mathematical formulas before letting me know the following: “We are looking for ‘dx’ over ‘dt,’ which is going to tell us how fast the skier is going.”

As Daisy walks me through the problem, explaining the steps along the way, I hear her mental wheels turning as I see the solution unfold on my computer screen. 

Educreations – the iPad application that this particular Calculus student is using to record her solution to the problem she was tasked with solving for homework – is a prime example of how one-to-one iPad programs deliver on their promise to move us in the direction of more active teaching and learning environments. Using Educreations or Explain Everything (a more fully featured version of Educreations), teachers can screencast and post instructional videos to virtual spaces such as YouTube for the benefit of their students, and students can show their mastery of the material presented through their own iPad screen castings. 

Said Daisy: “The interactive aspect of the project is really helpful to my understanding of the material. I think it helped everyone in the class to have to actually think through the process of the problem, instead of just doing the math mindlessly.”

Daisy’s recorded explanation also affords the teacher invaluable insights:

The recorded narration of the problem-solving process helps me to truly see and understand the students’ thought process as they are working through the problems, and to identify where, if anywhere, the break-down in reasoning occurs. On the students’ end, using the iPad seems to really enhance their engagement in the assignment and their investment in the learning process.” – Steve Ascher

You can watch and listen to Daisy’s solution to her related-rates 
calculus problem at