Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Focus #5 - Online Whiteboard Collaboration

Online Whiteboard Collaboration is probably the one of the most trendy applications to come from the whole Web 2.0 movement.  There are quite a few out there all trying to garner your attention and use.  Generally they all have similar features but a few standout because of a feature or two that they offer that others do not.  These are in no particular order, so visit and see which ones you like best.












Twiddla is the first online whiteboard site that I was introduced to, so I feel kind of obligated to mention it first.  What I like about Twiddla are the math applications that you can input on to the whiteboard.  Students could log in their laptops and instead of going to the board to complete the example, they would work the problem from their desk!  You can upload images and documents to the Whiteboard as well.  The other aspect of Twiddla that I like is the "Twiddle This" feature which allows you to add a bookmark and "Twiddle" over webpages that you are visiting.  Would make a great tool for lecture when you are showcasing a website and want to highlight certain sections.  You can also add a "Twiddle This" to your own webpage so that viewers can "Twiddle" on your site without having to add the bookmark.  No membership is required.  If you want to play around on a whiteboard I created, you can go here.





Scribblar is very similar to Twiddla.  No sign up is needed, but you can if you want to.  I have created one for this post here.  Some of the differences are that you can change the background color if you prefer and it has a Stamp feature that also is beneficial.  It has a lot of shapes that you can choose from as well to put on the whiteboard.  It has an audio feature just like Twiddla if you wanted to conference on it.  You can also take an image of the whiteboard and save it for later if you made important notes.  Scribblar does not neccesarily stand out to me, but it has a lot of similar features.




Dabbleboard is kind of neat.  It offers a little more drag and drop features.  I have a sample one for you to play around with here.  The difference I am noticing is that you can edit what you have drawn or written after the fact (change color, positioning, size, shape, etc.)  Much more user friendly.  You can embed it as well into a webpage or blog as well.  It would be an interesting way to create a mind map because of the arrow features that it has.  It will turn what you are doing into a shape or a certain line if not in "freehand" mode, so it does take some gettind used too.  Just try it out.






Imagination Cubed is from GE.  Now it is more for playing and not neccesarily for collaboration, but I thought I would include it.  It has a lot of the same features as the others.  The only feature I saw it had that the others did not was the ability to "replay" what you just drew.  So it would be neat to watch a replay of your creation.  It does allow you to "invite a friend" but other then that, not much else is available for you to do in terms of collaboration.  It is worth looking and and playing around with.




Now I would love to provide some information on Scriblink, but unfortunately the firewall at my school is blocking access to the application, so if you have information on it, please share, otherwise I will try and add to it later when I get home.  It seems like an interesting Whiteboard application.







Thinkature could be categorized as a mix between Sticky Note Collaboration and Whiteboard.  It gives you the ability to incorporate "textbox" as well as free write.  You can also highlight certain areas of the whiteboard using a tool within your canvas.  The other aspect that I like is that you can also create mind maps.  It has an arrow tool that allows you to mind map with the software as well.  It does require signing up to use, and upon trying to do so, it appeared to freeze, but that could be my firewall again.  Will try later when I get home.

One thing I am noticing is that they all have a feature that the others do not.  Someone needs to make one that has all the features in the same Online Whiteboard Collaboration Tool.  A way to draw on a website,. drag and drop, mind map, Replay, etc.  Pull all these together and make one that encompasses everything and we will have a complete website.

Are there others that you know of and use?
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