Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Animonths- Explaining + Animation = Explanimation

When interactive whiteboards (IWBs) first arrived on the scene with their accompanying software, one of the best aspects was teachers' easy access to recording features so that they could preserve each lesson as a video file and share it later via their webpages or other means.  This assisted students who needed information repeated, and also made really good use of the visual teaching capabilities of IWBs.  It also is extremely motivating for students to be able to use this technology themselves in order to explain or apply a curriculum concept, and then hear/see their work and evaluate how well they did!

This kind of "screen recording," or "Explanimation" technology is now available through a number of easy-to-use apps.  In this post, I am going to highlight two I really like, though there are others that are popular and well-reviewed.  I was excited to see this technology applied in a very user-friendly app geared toward use with younger children, Doodlecast for Kids ($1.99, iPad only). In the words of Tickle Tap Apps "Doodlecast combines your drawing and voice to create short videos."  Check it out in action here:

Applying a language lens, this app has many potential uses:
-My graduate student intern and I have found that this app has been very motivating to several articulation students working at the sentence and carryover levels.  We use it in combination with articulation word lists and have the students make up sentences and stories using their target sounds.
-I have also found this to be a really useful tool when working with targets such as multiple meaning words, figurative language and vocabulary.
-The app has a built-in lens on setting and emotions, as the home screen allows you to pick settings such as "water" or "sky" such that those are pre-drawn on the screen, and you can add to them.  These aspects contribute to the app's usefulness as a narrative development tool.

There is now an older brother of Doodlecast For Kids, Doodlecast Pro ($3.99, iPad only) Though Doodlecast for Kids is recommended for ages 3-5, it's applicable for much older kids, and I have used it with middle school students. expands the functionality of Explanimation technology greatly by allowing you to insert images into the animation and adding more customizable tools.  As a result, you can take an image on any topic (see our Essential Tech Skill Tip regarding using Google Images on iPad) and draw and speak about it.

Both Doodlecast for Kids and Doodlecast Pro let you save the video to the iPad (it will be in the Photos app/Camera Roll, not the Videos app) for easy review/sharing at a later time. Videos can be uploaded to YouTube directly from the Doodlecast Pro app, or within the Photos app for videos created with Doodlecast for kids.

For a free app that is similar to Doodlecast Pro, try ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard or Educreations Interactive Whiteboard.  I do like that Doodlecast lets you save to your iPad where ShowMe, for example, only lets you export to their website.

So, readers, what do you think of Explanimation? What other uses do you see for this technology in Speech-Language Pathology?  Let us know in the comments.


  1. The “Show Me” whiteboard is a free app that I have found multiple uses for. My students love making Brain Frames on it and then recording their oral expression of the information while “marking” the ideas/topics in a particular way (e.g., draw a flower, star, checkmark, etc., around the term they are talking about). Recently, some of my students were learning about types of storms in their Science class. They made a “Categorizing” Brain Frame, and then explained each type of storm while drawing an example under it (e.g., for ‘tornado,’ they drew a funnel cloud). Listening to (and watching) their recordings is fun for the students, and allows for modeling/corrections of more effective ways to organize and present the information. We have also used the “Show Me” whiteboard for vocabulary stories, as the ‘drawing-while-recording’ feature makes it possible to “animate” the information. All this in a free app!

  2. Thanks for these great ideas, Sarah!

  3. Hi

    You might be interested in these explanimations - There's a limited range currently, but we're doing some versions that are free for educational use - they'll be available shortly.

    All feedback welcome :-)


  4. Interesting tool, although 'explanimation' is already an excisting term, see:


    1. Thanks for pointing that out, when I say "made-up" I didn't mean to really lay claim to the term- I linked to your site tho in an edit!