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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Unio - A Free Virtual Whiteboard for Broadcasting Lessons

Unio by Harness is a free virtual whiteboard system that you can use to broadcast illustrations and demonstrations to your students' laptops. I learned about Unio from Danny Nicholson and had to give it a try myself.

To get started with Unio you first create a subject heading then create a lesson. The lesson creation tool is basically a simple slidedeck editor. You can draw, type, insert images, and add videos to each slide in your lesson. Lesson slides can also include quizzes that you build within the Unio platform. It's important to note that you have to create the quiz before you broadcast your lesson to your students. When I tried to add a quiz question while broadcasting, the option to add a quiz was disabled.

Once your lesson is created you then broadcast it to your students. Students receive the lesson on their laptops when they go to uniostudent.com and enter the pin number assigned to your lesson. Unfortunately, every lesson's pin is different so you won't be able to get kids in the habit of using the same pin for every activity as you can do in Socrative. With your lesson appearing on your students' screens you can have them annotate what they see and answer your quiz questions. Students can work at their own pace. You can select a student's screen to see what he or she has done and then give them some quick feedback in the form of an emoji.

Applications for Education
Unio could be useful in a setting in which you want to share a lesson for the day have students follow along on their laptops. It's not yet ready to be a remote instructional tool because there isn't a voice broadcasting option. The other shortcoming is that it's not optimized for use on mobile phones. If Unio adds those two features, it could become a great remote instructional tool.