Using Explain Everything and Animation Creator HD students can help teach each other


iMovie  / Explain Everything  / Animation Creator HD  /  Keynote

In my anatomy and physiology class we are rounding out the year with the last few units, but instead of continuing down the traditional path of a teacher centered lecture followed by a discussion and a lab that usually includes students watching animations or video clips we are switching it up a bit.  As I finished up my last unit and looked out at the tired and drained faces of the juniors and seniors in my class I knew I had to figure out a way to  motivate and reenergize my class.  Some may call it “senioritis” (for some of my students it probably is) but for a lot of my students I think it is more about burn out.  Most of them have already been accepted into college and  have AP tests coming up next week so here is the question…How do we motivate these students?

My answer while certainly not ground breaking has worked really well and I thought I would share it:  Have the students become the experts and teach the class using their iPads as their tool to create multimedia presentations.

I planned this unit on the immune system for my advanced honors human anatomy and physiology class.  While this project is designed for this class this model can certainly be used in almost any disciplin.

The Assignment 

Students were assigned a particular topic of the immune system and asked to research and create a movie to teach the class about their topic. (see below)  Once the research was completed I felt the content each group had gathered was sufficient I gave students choice in how they created their videos.  Students were given the option to use applications including iMovie, Keynote, Explain Everything, Animation HD to create their movie.  Each movie will end up being between 5-8 minutes long but the expectation is that their presentation that goes along with the movie will be between 15 and 20 minutes.  The additional time will be used for student and teacher generated follow up questions, clarification and additional help for students that may not have picked up the information by just watching the movie.  I set expectations that the students will be responsible for teaching the material and answering follow up questions.  I think this is the key because it is too easy for students to do research, create a script and make a movie without actually learning the material.  (Past experience!)  This time the students know that they must be the experts and so far they seem to be not only motivated and engaged but learning the material!

iMovie was used as the final product editor.  Student brought in slides they created in Keynote, movies they made in Explain Everything and animations they created in Animation Creator HD and put them all together.  In iMovie they added music, transitions, voiceovers, titles and credits.  Some students used all of the tools and other only used a few.

Explain Everything was used when students wanted to be able to talk and draw on slides or images at the same time.  While iMovie allows you to add voiceover audio to any movie or still image you cannot use a pointer or a pen to annotate slides as you talk.  We chose Explain Everything as the tool for this because it allows you to export to your camera roll.  This was important because students wanted the ability to add these clips into their larger movie located in iMovie.

Animation Creator HD is a great app to use to make simple to complex animations.  Some students drew and created full animations of cells and pathogens that were quite impressive not only from a scientific standpoint but also an artistic one.  Other students used it in a more simpler fashion by drawing simple objects that were able to appear in sequence while they recored over them.  (See examples of student work below to be posted 5/9/2012)

Keynote although not normally associated with making movies is a great way to make images to insert into iMovie.  Students simply create a slide that is visually interesting using photos, diagrams, and bullet points and then enter into presentation mode and take a screenshot.  This places the slide into their camera roll allowing the students to easily insert it into their iMovie project.

Student Examples

Student Immune System Topics

Complement System

  1. Understand and diagram complement cascades
  2. Role in cell hydrolysis
  3. Role in inflammatory response
  4. Role in promoting phagocytosis

The inflammatory response and the role of Histamines in immune defense

  1. Acute vs Chronic Inflammatory Response  /   Neutrophils /  Macrophages / Mast Cells
  2. Allergies   /  Anti-Histamines
  3. Stopping inflammation…

Interferon and  the usage of Peginterferon

  1. Interferon role and Production
  2. Interferon effect / mechanism
  3. Interferon role in Hepatitis treatment

Physical / Chemical barriers  /  Fever

  1. Types of barriers
  2. Role of Mucus
  3. Lysozymes
  4. Role of non-pathogenic bacteria
  5. HCL
  6. Pyrogens & Fever

Extracellular specific immunity  (Antibody/Humoral mediated)

  1. Role of Macrophage / APC
  2. Helper T, Cytokines, B-Cell vs Plasma Cell vs Memory B-Cell
  3. Role of the Antibody
  4. Types of Antibodies
  5. Clonal Selection

Intracellular specific immunity (cell mediated )

  1. Role of Macrophage / APC
  2. Helper T,  Cytokines, Cytotoxic T-Cell vs. Memory Cell
  3. How Cytotoxic T-Cells work
  4. Clonal Selection

Macrophage / Neutrophil  /Natural Killer Cells / Antigen presenting cells

  1. MHC I and MHC II
  2. CD4 vs. CD8
  3. Antigen presenting and Intercellular Communication
  4. Clonal Selection


  1. Vaccination & Prevention Strategies
  2. Antibiotics & Mechanisms of Action
  3. Anti-Virals, Cytotoxic (Antineoplastic) Agents
  4. Auto-Immune Disease & Treatment, Anti-Inflammatory, etc…

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