This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.
This week’s App is Educreations.
Educreations turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard. Creating a great video tutorial is as simple as touching, tapping and talking. Explain a math formula… Create an animated lesson… Add commentary to your photos… Diagram a sports play…
With voice recording, realistic digital ink, photos and text, and simple sharing through email, Facebook or Twitter, now you can broadcast your ideas from anywhere.
There are quite a few so called whiteboard apps. These apps have a blank screen onto which you can write or draw. The session is recorded, along with audio, so that you can play it back later. I was introduced to this app by a colleague at work who has been using it for a while, and I think it’s a really useful app, though it is much more useful if you create a free Educreations account. As well as creating presentations, there are also lots available from other people. As you might expect the quality does vary a lot, but they certainly give you ideas on how the app can be used.
Starting the app you are faced with a blank screen with a toolbar at the top. The process is quite simple, press record, start drawing, press stop, upload, share. The app will record your voice and what you do on the whiteboard.
There are drawing tools and a text tool. So as well as drawing you can also enter (readable) text. You can also import a picture (or diagram) from your camera roll (or use the camera). You can pause the recording, so as you add text and images as you go along without making the animated drawing (or presentation) too long.
The key with using these apps is not to try and record it all in one go, though obviously that is faster. A little preparation will really enhance your animated drawing. It also makes sense to do some planning in advance.
I like the fact that you can have multiple pages. This means you don’t need to try and do everything on one page, but you can prepare pages in advance too.
Another clever way of using the app, is to bring an image from your camera roll. Wikimedia Commons has some fantastic graphics and images that would work really well with this app. Likewise using something like Keynote you could produce some slides to place within your animated drawing.
Once you have finished, you save your work, and then decide where it is going to go. There are various privacy options, from only you can see it, to allowing the world to share in your creation.
You can share the link on your social networks or usefully there is an embed code that allows you to add your drawing to a web page or the VLE.
For me one of the downsides of this app is that you can’t go back and edit what you have done, no chance of correcting mistakes or redoing sections where you messed up. You would need to start all over again. As a result I could not recommend this tool for making long drawings or presentations. Much better to do lots of short drawings rather than one long one.
It might appear that a teacher using the app to create lessons is an ideal way of using the app, but one way that it could be used, if the learners had access to iPads would be for them to create lessons and then see if they could learn from each other. It is often said that one of the best ways of learning is by teaching to others; here is an ideal tool to do just that.