If we have always used paper and pencil to support our explanations and make complex concepts easier to understand, why not do so with an app? That is the idea behind Explica!, the app for tablets presented by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) at the recent Online Educa Berlin (OEB).
The app lets users convert PDF files into videos that include audio recordings of their voices and visual annotations to help reinforce concepts or highlight images and graphs in documents. This all goes to make the explanations more visual. The app is very easy to use; import a PDF file and the app will automatically paginate it, and users can start working on it as if it were a digital blackboard.
The editing tools let users change the font size and colour, delete content and enlarge the area for writing in to make it easier to enter text. The app is also able to detect when you rest your hand on the surface and ignore it, which makes it more comfortable to use. When the user finishes working with the file, the app exports the video. This video file can then be shared via email or social media.
The app can also be used to create original projects on an empty digital blackboard. These documents can then be exported to platforms such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Explica! offers a wide range of possibilities for education. At the UOC, which is an exclusively online university, it helps teachers use their mobile devices to produce feedback for the continuous assessment tests or any other document submitted by students. However, it can be used in many more ways as it allows for the production of videos to explain things that words alone could not.