15 April 2013

ExplainEverything App better than the competition

About two months ago I switched from using educreations to using ExlpainEverything to create the videos found on this blog. Recently, Mike's Online Biology blog was featured on the Explain Everything Website.

I wanted to take a few minutes to explain why I switched from Educreation (a very easy to use and simple App) to using ExplainEverything.

I first started tinkering with the thought of using a whiteboard screencasting app when I saw what Sal Khan was doing with Khan Academy. Khan Academy boasts the most comprehensive (free) online college-level education and even has math tutorials starting from counting and going up through Calculus. I found out about Khan academy while finishing the last semester of my Associates Degree. I was only a little perturbed because I had tried in vain to find a great way to learn biology while I was in Iraq and not once did a Google search return Khan Academy in my search results.

While in Iraq, I had decided to get out of the military and go back to school, with the hope of becoming a doctor. I had a year to get a jump start on my education, but I had no educators or books to learn from. I watched as much as I could find on YouTube  which was a scant few videos covering topics in the central dogma (DNA - RNA - Protein).

After seeing the Khan videos, I thought that this exact same process should be done for every class a college offers. At that point, I thought I would do my part. I sought out an app that would record me while I taught. I found educreations. It's a great app, but I'd like to list the pros and cons

Educreation Pros:
-Very easy to use (start making videos within minutes of downloading)
-Fast processing and uploading of videos to an online server (literally within 2 minutes most of the time)
-Image search feature which allows images to be imported directly from a bing search (I prefer google images).
-an undo button that always works exactly as expected

Educreation Cons:
-Cannot edit the timeline when a mistake is made
-Cannot save template set-ups (if you want to start over you retype everything and redownload all images, and rework EVERYTHING)
- Very poor sound quality (I had to yell in order to record at normal conversational volume)
- CANNOT manage your videos post production

The last one is the most important to me. I cannot download my videos from educreation. They are stuck on the very unheard-of educreation server. I cannot upload them to youtube, I cannot edit them, and I cannot post advertisement overlays on them.

I have petitioned Educreations several times to enable downloading and they have always promised that it "might" be available in the future. Well, that promise is about a year old and nothing has changed. Now, I'm going through the long process of screen-capturing all of the videos I've uploaded and then formatting them to youtube format (A very tedious process).

Explain everything reverses the list:
ExplainEverything Pros:
- Edit the timeline and cut out mistakes
- Save templates for later use
- Better sound quality (no more yelling)
- insert, not only images, but also videos, Audio files, etc
- Allows upload to several different servers (youtube, dropbox, google drive, or even to your ipad photo library)

ExplainEverything Cons:
- the conversion time is about 15 minutes long and
- you can't do anything on your ipad during conversion or it starts over.
      NOTE: if you have a mac or macbook
                 then the mac will do the compression on the computer and free up your ipad
                  No compressor is available for standard PC.
- Takes about an hour or two to get a good understanding of all of the features and how to best use them
- Still haven't figured out the "undo" button. It certainly doesn't work while I'm recording.

Overall, though, the Cons of ExplainEverything are far outweighed by the Pros. I recommend ExplainEverything, not because I was featured on their site, but because they have a great app that I enjoy using.

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