Monday 22 April 2013

Explain Everything: Developing drama, role play and communication in EYFS.


The iPad app “Explain Everything” is an extremely versatile and flexible tool and has so many applications in the classroom. It is a screen-casting app which allows narrated recordings of the iPad screen to be exported and shared as videos. The potential for this is huge. This example describes how the app has been used in an Early Years Foundation Setting to allow children to retell and act out traditional stories.


The children had been learning about familiar stories and had recently listened to the story of the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” One of the follow up activities related to role-play and drama and involved the children dressing up and acting out the story. Explain Everything allowed the valuable communication and expression opportunities of role play and storytelling to be produced in the form of simple animations.


Images from the story book were photographed by the teacher ( and some additional ones were downloaded). The pictures were imported into Explain Everything and cropped all the way around, so they resembled characters from the story. These images could be moved freely around the screen. An image was set as a background and then the children recorded their stories. In small groups, the children retold and acted out the story by moving the images around the screen and adding a commentary and vocals for the characters. Once record is pressed the audio and visual content is recorded and can be exported to the Camera Roll as a video and shared via a website, blog or video hosting site.


The children enjoyed the activity and it allowed some children who were shy and less confident at drama based activities to produce content which demonstrated their understanding. The use of the iPad was extremely easy for the children as it simply required them to press record and stop. Exporting the recordings was done by the teacher. The activity enabled children to record and share their work with others and for the teacher to observe the way in which children interpreted the story and look at the language they used.

Ways forward: 

One of the most exciting features of Explain Everything is the capacity to display numerous videos on one screen, and for them to be played simultaneously, separately and repeatedly. This can happen as the content of the whole screen is recorded and narrated. As both a teaching tool and a pupil presentation/explanation tool this app is definitely worth exploring. At the recent iPad Summit in Atlanta, during a presentation by the app’s creator Reshan Richards, this video was created ( in under 10 minutes) by a group of teachers using Explain Everything . It demonstrates how varied content can be and how much can be achieved with this powerful app.

Thanks to Gregory Kulowiec ( for the video link. (@gregkulowiec)

© Mr Andrews Online 2013

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