Digital whiteboards are getting a lot of attention from a number of large vendors, including Google, Microsoft and Cisco. All aim to replace traditional flip charts and whiteboards with touchscreen-enabled hardware designed to ease collaboration during meetings and brainstorming sessions.
Interactive whiteboards are desirable peripherals these days. When hooked up to a computer, the whiteboard’s screen becomes a “live” computer desktop, which can be tapped to pull down menus, highlight, and move or open files. Users can also circle relevant sections on the projected image, draw geometric figures, and underline. Then they can save the screen — complete with annotations — which can then be e-mailed, made available on a shared server, or printed out.
Most interactive whiteboards connect to computers via USB cables, but some recent models communicate wirelessly using Bluetooth technology. Many interactive whiteboards need LCD projectors in order to project a computer image onto the screen, but some models have an integrated projector behind the screen. These models are more convenient and have fewer wires but are much more expensive.
Wondering how to use an interactive whiteboard in the classroom? Consider these ideas.
Presentations and Projects. Students can present multimedia projects with the whiteboard, controlling the entire presentation without touching a computer keyboard.
Web Streaming and Video. Teachers can show streamed or downloaded video clips using programs like Windows Media Player and QuickTime. Clips embedded into multimedia presentation programs can easily be shown as well. The interactive features of the whiteboard allow users to pause, circle, annotate, highlight, and more. Of course, a DVD or VHS player can be connected to the projector, too.
Printing and Saving Notes. Interactive whiteboards let users print or save anything they’ve written. Teachers can put notes in a file on a shared server for students to download or post notes on a Web page or blog. Notes can also be printed out and distributed, allowing students to participate in the presentation instead of simply copying from the board.
Encouraging Critical Thinking. Interactive whiteboards encourage critical thinking. Imagine using the whiteboard with concept-mapping software like Inspiration or Kidspiration, for example. Students’ ideas could be written directly on the whiteboard; if the teachers switches to outline view, the class can brainstorm together in an organized fashion.
For Students with Special Needs. Interactive whiteboards may be beneficial to students with special educational needs. The large fonts and bright colors might be helpful for both visually impaired students and those who have trouble staying on task, while students who respond well to kinesthetic learning will benefit from touching the board.
Students nowadays are using the internet to do their homework, collaborate, and sometimes discuss. They need a virtual place to share their ideas. One such place is an online whiteboard. Many online whiteboards support collaboration and sharing. They allow multiple users in a single session; some even have chatting, audio and video capabilities.
I have chosen the five online whiteboards below because they don’t require login (except 5) and they have variety of uses that may cover the needs of many users. I also find them easy to use.
1.) A Web Whiteboard. A Web Whiteboard or AWW is a free and no login online whiteboard with basic tools: pen, eraser, color, and text. Users can share boards through a URL and download sketches as png file. AWW can also even be embedded in websites. Aww is free if used stand-alone and has an upgrade for shared boards.
Special Feature: You can embed AWWW on your website.
2.) Web Whiteboard. Web Whiteboard is a no login online whiteboard with basic tools such as pen, eraser, and sticky note . You can also share a board using a URL. In addition, it supports read only and password protected whiteboard. As of now, it is still in beta form, and according to the author, basic features will remain free for use.
Special Feature: Individual or groups whiteboard linking.
3.) Twiddla. Twiddla is no login online whiteboard that has a lot of good features. This includes collaboration, sharing, and documents and graphics upload. It also incorporates text and audio chats during sessions. You can also save and export your Twiddla whiteboard.
Special Feature: Unlimited number of users per whiteboard
4.) PixiClip. PixiClip is another no login whiteboard (or more on a canvass as the website describes). It lets you create and audio narration and record your video while creating your sketch.
Special Feature: Audio and Video Recording
5.) RealTimeBoard. RealTimeBoard is a whiteboard that can be stored and shared on the web. This whiteboard enables you to stick images, videos and documents from your device or those from the web. RealTimeWhiteboard offers 3 whiteboard and 100MB of free space for its free plan.