We refer to them as “templates”. Explain Everything refers to them as “projects” in the export page. You could refer to them as .xpl files. Regardless of the label, once you start to consider Explain Everything as an application with its own file format, rather than merely a vehicle to create screencasts, some additional super-powers emerge.

There’s a great site called Explaining Understanding that collects examples of this type of file, leveraging a community of educators who upload them to cloud storage services like Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox, and then make the projects available for others to download and launch within the Explain Everything iOS app (probably Android too, if someone wants to chime in with confirmation of device agnosticity┬«). Although the content on that site is great, I find searching the site a bit cumbersome, as the resources tend to be linked within blog posts, rather than easily searchable in a database.

A few weeks ago we completed some initial professional development with homeroom teachers in grades 4 and 5 who received kits of 7 iPads for their classrooms as part of our Transforming Learning Everywhere vision, in which classrooms are equitably provisioned technology to help create inquiry-based learning opportunities, accelerated by technology integration. One of the break out sessions was on how to create these templates, so potentially we have cultivated a group of teachers looking to create additional materials in this way, with no centralized means of sharing them. Enter the Commons: the blog we created to help users navigate the PD day now sits somewhat dormant, although our instructional coaches have been leveraging the differentiated break out sessions detailed on that site to run additional workshops out at their school, so the site needs to stay up.

It seems like a perfectly good location to share some of these templates.

I’ve created a submission form to help with this work. The form allows template authors to share a description, screenshot, and link to their xpl file. There are a few steps in order for this to work:

  • you need to create and export the xpl file from Explain Everything and store it in your Google Drive
  • In Google Drive, in order for others to be able to access the file, imageyou’ll need to change the permissions to “Anyone with the link can view” or “Public on the Web”. This is a bit problematic on an iPad because currently you can’t change permissions within the Drive app beyond the “Anyone at Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (enter your GAFE domain here) with the link can view”. We want to be more public than that, and share our creations more widely without the additional need to log in
  • Once loaded (I’ll be attempting to keep up with the moderation of these items), the links in the database will prompt the end user to download the file, and open it in Explain Everything, providing a personal copy of the template that the student can then manipulate, edit, record their thinking, and potentially render as a final video explaining their learning

The submission form populates a Resources page on that TLE website, searchable by category, title, or alphabetically.

Published by jarbenne

Jared Bennett is the Student Information System Consultant at Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks Jared. Although this post was quite a while ago, I’m trying it with my students now that we are attempting to do things online with our students

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