Toolkit Item 1 for Universal Designs for Learning

Name of the resource

Explania

Summary of the Explania and how it can be accessed

Explania is a free web resource that contains animated explanations, interactive tutorials, and instructional videos on various topics like health, finance, technology, sports, work, and general opinions and trends. Explania was created by Instruxion, a multimedia company specialized in the creation of high-impact explanatory content (Instruxion, 2014). This resource can be accessed from the following URL: http://www.explania.com/en

Explania provides a list of videos with audio capability and the user can play any video that is available for free. When a video is selected, it directs the user to a different web page where the video is played. Due to the nature of some video clips, the user may have to press the play button at the bottom left hand side of the video player. When the video is playing, the user can pause and stop the video at any time. The user can also share the comments on the video at the bottom of the screen and on Facebook, email the video link, and most importantly, embed the video on a personal website. Each video also contains the name of its creator(s) and supporter(s) and this information can be viewed by clicking on the “i” icon at the bottom right hand side of the video player. However, videos that are not available for free require users to subscribe to those videos (Instruxion, 2014).

Most students understand difficult concepts visually through analogies and examples; hence, Explania is beneficial in explaining complex topics visually with the use of audio capabilities. Moreover, Explania is also beneficial to students who have difficulties in reading and maintaining attention when reading complex topics independently. Hence, when a video with audio is shown to them, these students benefit by improving their reading comprehension, communication, and logical thinking skills. All videos in Explania can be played multiple times and can be paused at any time in order to enable students to take brief notes and ask questions to the teacher and it will also enable the teacher to explain a certain concept that arises while watching the video. Finally, students with vision problems can also benefit from these videos because all videos have clear audio capabilities.

My reasons for selecting Explania

Throughout my teaching experience with Investment Strategies program for youths in grades 9 and 10, I come across complex topics like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that can be difficult to learn. Thus, interactive videos in Explania can be very beneficial to my students because these videos can explain complex topics in a very simple manner through visuals, motion pictures, various colors and fonts, and audio.

Moreover, my Grade 4 and 5 students in science programs through Alberta Science Network (ASN) can also benefit from these videos. Sometimes, explaining scientific topics via textbooks or PowerPoint presentations may not work for all students. A different, interactive medium with simple examples like videos in Explania may work better for other students. Thus, videos provide another way of engaging students with the course content.

Critique of the Explania including its strengths and weaknesses

Explania is very easy to use since it requires basic internet browsing skills and all videos are available online. This resource can also be accessed from any network device and at any time. Most importantly, Explania provides videos on new topics in Science and Technology like cloud computing, internet security, and IPV6 that can be helpful to students in enhancing their knowledge on new technologies.

Although videos in Explania have strong educational value but I wish these videos had the capability to display closed captioning and the ability to play the videos in full screen mode. Closed captioning can be helpful to students with hearing disabilities and students who are new English language learners.

Therefore, based on the affordances and constraints of Explania, I would recommend this resource to students who would like clear and visual explanations of complex topics.

Decision and support needed to use Explania in Education

Since Explania is an online resource, students will need access to a computer with an internet connection. Also, headsets may be required when playing the videos in order to avoid distractions to other students in a quiet environment.

Most schools’ internet contains firewall which blocks certain external websites; thus, Explania may be blocked by school’s firewall. However, I strongly recommend this resource to all students because it contains free access to many educational videos on various topics. Thus, approval from leadership team will be required to use Explania in schools for viewing these educational videos.

Reference

Instruxion. (2014). Explania.com animated explanations. Retrieved from http://www.explania.com/en

This entry was posted in Universal Designs for Learning and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *