Let me explain why I won't be buying Explain Everything

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A few weeks ago, I received an email from one of our most talented and dedicated librarians requesting that the board consider purchasing “Explain Everything” for our Chromebooks. If you don’t know about Explain Everything, pause here and watch this video

Explain Everything™ – Interactive Whiteboard for iPad from Explain Everything™ on Vimeo.

Also, before I go further, I have to declare a bias…I love Explain Everything. In fact, this is the only app that our school board puts on every single iPad (almost 2000 of them now). It is an app that by its nature encourages students towards higher thinking… the creating, evaluating and analysing end of things if you are a fan of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Our french consultant was looking for a french specific app to recommend to our teachers: Open your iPad Settings -> General -> Language & Region -> iPad Language and choose the language you would like to start using. Open Explain Everything and c’est voila. Long story short..this is my deserted island app, if I could choose only one app for our students this would be it.

Having now come clean about my love for Explain Everything, and honestly willing to do just about anything to support this librarian, I started to look in the Chrome store for Explain Everything. Three stars out of five. I ask myself, how could that be? No Google Drive support. How can you launch a program for a Google Chromebook with no Google Drive support, I did not even think that was possible. Regardless, I am willing to overlook this as I love the program and have faith that this feature will be forthcoming in a future release. I email the folks at Explain Everything to get pricing and inquire about a bulk purchase and this is where the wheels fall off. They have changed their pricing model since we purchased for all our iPads. Now they have developed the application so that it stores all your data on an Explain Everything account and without an account, you cannot run the app. I really do understand why they would want to do this, it means more stable revenue for them, better metrics on usage and presumably a better user experience for those people who are using multiple devices that cross platform/os lines. Here is the company’s take on things

To make matters worse, all the comments decrying this change, hundreds of them, have been removed from the iTunes store. The developer appears to have re-enrolled their app under a new name and removed their old app. Dirty pool if you ask me. The bottom line is that they are now looking for $2.67 per named user per year. I have 14462 students and about 1600 employees who should have access to this wonderful app. To date, I have spent about $10K on Explain Everything which (I thought) would give us perpetual access on our iOS devices. Now I am being told that I have to pay $43K every year and that our “perpetual” licensed app, now being called Explain Everything Classic will, in their words, “ride off into the sunset.”

What do you think? Will you be subscribing to Explain Everything or moving to a different product/service? Do you see other apps moving in this direction? Tell me in the comments.

Categories Educational Technology, School


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