Thursday, March 22, 2018

5 Online Collaborative Whiteboard Services

An online, collaborative, whiteboard can be a great tool for hosting a quick review session for your students. Your students can also use these tools to conduct online study sessions with each other. Yes,  this could be done with something like Skype, but having a built-in whiteboard is particularly useful when having a review session on a topic in math or science. Here are five free online whiteboard tools to try.

WebRoom is a free service for hosting online meetings. WebRoom doesn't require you to download any software and you don't need to register in order to use it. WebRoom lets you use your webcam if you want people to see your face during the meeting. A whiteboard space is provided. You can draw on the whiteboard or upload a file to share and discuss on the whiteboard. A text chat space is provided in each WebRoom meeting. It is possible to share your screen with other meeting participants. However, to share your screen you will need to install the WebRoom Chrome extension.

Know Lounge is a free platform that will let you create a live broadcast from your laptop. Know Lounge includes a whiteboard that you can draw on and share with your audience. Students can ask you question by writing them into a chat box. Additionally, you can allow students to use their webcams to ask you questions during your broadcast. Update 2/9/2019: This tool is no longer online.

Stoodle is a free online collaborative whiteboard tool hosted by CK12. On Stoodle you can create a whiteboard space and invite others to use it with you. Registration is not required in order to use Stoodle. Stoodle has voice and text chat options, but it does not have a video chat option. In the video embedded below I demonstrate the features of Stoodle. Update 2/9/2019: this tool is no longer online.

Draw Chat is a free service that allows anyone to create a video chat over a whiteboard, PDF, image, or map. To use Draw Chat you just have to visit the site and click "Start New Whiteboard." Once your whiteboard launches you will have the option to enable access to your webcam and microphone. You can have people join your whiteboard video conference by sending them the link assigned to your whiteboard.Draw Chat allows you to draw or type on a shared whiteboard. Additionally, you can upload a PDF or an image to annotate on the whiteboard. A fourth option for drawing on Draw Chat is to import the URL for a Google Map and draw on that map.

Scratchwork is an online whiteboard and video conferencing tool designed with math students in mind. The platform works like many similar services as it provides you with a whiteboard on which you can draw, type, and import images to annotate. Scratchwork is a little different than other services because it includes a Latex editor for writing equations. Scratchwork also offers an option to draw on a tablet and import those drawings. The collaboration aspect of Scratchwork comes into the picture when you activate the video conferencing component built into Scratchwork. Scratchwork's free plan has a limit of four boards and three collaborators.

Kahoot Now Lets You Share Games Through Remind

Last fall Kahoot released a new feature called "Challenges" that are review games your students can play at home or anytime they are outside of your classroom. That feature has proven to be popular. Today, Kahoot announced a new integration with Remind that will make it easier than ever to send Kahoot Challenges to your students and their parents.

Now when you create Kahoot Challenge you can distribute it through Remind. The Remind option is in addition to the existing Google Classroom distribution option. Watch the following video to learn how to distribute a Kahoot Challenge through Remind.

Quizalize Announces a Game Design Competition for Students

Quizalize is one of my favorite services for creating and running review games for your students to play in your classroom or at home. Now they want students to get in on the game design fun. For the next five weeks Quizalize is accepting submissions to their Design-A-Game competition.

The Design-A-Game competition asks students to draw and write a description of a team review game to play on the Quizalize platform. Students don't have to actually build the game, they just need to create a drawing and write a description of how they envision the game to be played. Winners will be chosen from states and countries around the world. Winners will receive $200 cash for themselves and $250 for their schools. Winners of the first round move on to the final judging round where an overall winner will be selected. The overall winner will have his or her design turned into an actual game on the Quizalize platform. View the complete entry requirements here.

If you have never tried Quizalize, watch my video to see how it works.

Picture Dictionary and Custom Colors Added to Immersive Reader

Microsoft's Immersive Reader just might be my favorite accessibility tool. This free add-in for Word, OneNote, Outlook, and Edge enables students to have articles read aloud to them at pace that meets their needs. Additionally, Immersive Reader will identify individual syllables, highlight each word as it is read, and identify parts of speech for students.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the addition of two great updates to Immersive Reader. First, Immersive Reader now includes a picture dictionary. Second, Immersive Reader now lets you customize the colors that are used to highlight the parts of speech in a document.

The new picture dictionary in Immersive Reader enables students to click on a word in a document and have a picture appear. Furthermore, students can click on a single word and have it read aloud while viewing the related picture.

Students and teachers can now apply custom colors to the parts of speech highlighted by Immersive Reader. This means that one student could have nouns highlighted in blue while another student has nouns highlighted in green. The benefit of custom colors is that students and teachers pick the color schemes that work best for them.

These updates to Immersive Reader are rolling out now. Click here to read Microsoft's full support details regarding Immersive Reader.

In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate Microsoft's Immersive Reader in action.

Click here if you cannot see the video.

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