Ostfold University College

Helping teachers embrace digital education


Teaching ICT

Magnus NohrMy name is Magnus Nohr and I’ve been a university professor for 25 years. Eight years ago, I created what is now the second MOOC in Norway, called How To Use ICT (Information and Communications Technology) in Education.

ICT has one of the highest completion rates – 70% of my students are teachers that are already out there working and around 15% are teacher-students. Basically, most of my students are teachers that want to learn more about teaching digitally. Students who take my course are taught to use various apps, and one of them is Explain Everything Whiteboard.

Østfold University College is located in Halden, Norway, near the border with Sweden. The institution offers around 100 courses taught to approximately 7,000 students.

Here’s how I teach Explain Everything web and iPad version.

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" If you give me Explain Everything Whiteboard and Book Creator, I really have all the apps I need."


Taking time to learn a tool

The basics of pedagogy are crucial for student-active learning. Some teachers tend to have a more old-school, “I’m going to stand at my post and teach” approach. In my experience, even if teachers possess good ICT skills, the students have to put some effort into learning the tools and the possibilities they offer for tech-supported learning to work, too.

Getting acquainted with Explain Everything digital whiteboard – or indeed any new app – takes time, time that some students are not prepared to invest. This can leave them stranded halfway through the introductory phase for a very long time.

I remember very well where and when I discovered that this is really important software. I was on an international visit to a school in England about 7 years ago. I asked one of the teachers: what is the coolest app you have on your iPad? And she mentioned some apps, but then she said if you give me Explain Everything Whiteboard and Book Creator, I really have all the apps I need.


Active learning

One of the modules in the ICT in Education course is learning how to use Explain Everything Whiteboard to teach. All of the students in my course have to try out its recording feature by making an explainer video on a certain subject for their students, for instance. I present some requirements as to what they have to use in the video, and off they go! It’s been quite exciting to look at all the different ways the students have chosen to complete this assignment. Over the years, I’ve had around 1,500 students hand in Explain Everything projects.

A lot of our users say that learning Explain Everything is a classic case of trial and error for them. They just open up the app, see what works and what doesn’t, and over time they gain experience and become more savvy with it. I have made some screencast tutorial videos in which I explain how to use Explain Everything Whiteboard for my students as well.

This is one of the best applications for making student-active learning and deep learning a part of your pedagogical approach. I refer to it as a tool for deep learning and collaboration.

" This makes for deeper learning. If I ask my students to explain something to me using Explain Everything, it becomes quite obvious very early on if they don't understand the topic."
" The best way to learn is by teaching others like you. That's huge. I feel that this is what Explains Everything does: it has you teach others, and by teaching others, you learn that much more, yourself."


Teachers learning students' perspective

As you can see, the teacher here has gone from teaching to being an advisor, scaffolding the students’ learning process. What I really like about the software is that students have to go deeper into the curriculum to understand enough to be able to teach others with the videos they make. In fact, I actually plan to make teachers try out Explain Everything as students in this course.

Take a look at the examples here.

This way, they gain valuable, practical pedagogical knowledge that they can use to help their pupils later, and many do go on to use it in their own work. Explainer videos make it that much easier for teachers to pick up on students’ mistakes or misunderstandings because they are essentially giving them a peek into their thought process. Plus, the students have to be active because they are the ones producing the content.

This one is my favorite, it explains traffic rules. The teacher is explaining the various road signs. 👇🏽

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