Mobile App Review: ShowMe, personalized video tutorials

I presented a webinar with the OCLC last week on Web 2.0 resources and mobile apps that can be incorporated into or improve your library classroom instruction. We covered all sorts of technology, from OPAC apps to screencasting software, and received great feedback from our participants. Thanks to all who attended!

There’s nothing like discovering a new app that you know will bear a permanent location on your favorite device’s screen, am I right? Sometimes it’s as silly as an addictive word game, but discovering something practical, useful and educational is even better. Which is why I want to fill you in on ShowMe.


Launched in Summer 2011, ShowMe is a free iPad app that has already grown to hundreds of thousands of users. Co-founded by San Kim, a Columbia University graduate and longtime tutor, he developed ShowMe as a way to make education available to all students.

“While I was tutoring, I started to get the feeling that I was part of the problem, not the solution,” he said. “The kids I was tutoring came from privileged backgrounds and got the best education money could buy, while those who needed education the most wasn’t getting access to it. This was one of the catalysts to starting ShowMe.”

With ShowMe, educators and students alike can make visually stimulating videos with the touch of a finger. Teachers can create “how-to” videos about specific topics, and students can creatively demonstrate newly acquired skills or knowledge. “There’s an awesome lesson on the water cycle made by this kid named Alessandro–I think he’s in elementary school,” San said. “For me, this is a great example of what some call ‘learning by teaching.’ One thing I realized from my experience is that teaching something is the best way to learn it, and it’s awesome to see that happening on ShowMe.” For those of you with iPad classrooms or BYOD initiatives at your school, incorporating ShowMe into instructional lessons will make it more appealing, engaging and interactive for your students.


The app is dead easy to use. Simply download it from the App Store, open up the whiteboard space, and start teaching! Use multiple colors or add photos from your device. Once you’ve figured out how you want to explain your topic using the whiteboard, record it straight from the iPad. Then, share it with people you know, or make it public for the world to see on ShowMe. You can also watch video tutorials created by others on

ShowMe’s popularity has grown organically since its inception, which speaks volumes. “Teachers have been evangelizing ShowMe from the beginning,” San said. “We don’t spend a ton of money or advertising or marketing, and depend on our community to spread the word about ShowMe. They deserve all the credit.”

Learn more about the ShowMe story and make sure to check out their website.

Emily Gover is the in-house librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. You can find her on Twitter, @Emily_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.

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