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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Innovating with iPods - Learning with Apps Part 2 - Whiteboard Free

My next few posts will focus on specific app reviews. Some will be far more detailed than others. Due to some technical issues, I'm going to keep this one very short (whilst I mull over a move to a more competent blogging platform. There, I said it).

The first app I will review is Whiteboard Free - a free whiteboard app! (You probably guessed that, right?) It can be found in iTunes here.

This does exactly what it says on the tin in that it's a simple little app which allows students to write or draw away on a single 'whiteboard' which fits within the length and width of the screen (i.e. not scrollable. There must be a more geeky word for this?)

It's a simple way of jotting down thoughts, workings or answers. We use it as a quick AfL tool just like we would with regular whiteboards, for the teacher to check for understanding and provide instant feedback. 

The benefits over a regular whiteboard are threefold:

1. By pressing the home screen and power buttons at the same time, pupils can take a snapshot of the screen, saving their workings or answers into their Photos app. Pretty cool.

2. It is fully collaborative! I don't know what the physical limit is in terms of actual numbers, but automatically via the inbuilt Bluetooth, users within range of each other can wirelessly connect to each other's whiteboards. This means that pupils can work collaboratively with each other in real time (to play simple games or share ideas). That's a really cool feature.

3. It's really easy to share your whiteboards. The app is neatly set up to post to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and has full email integration.

Top Tip: Take care with regards to e-Safety when using this app. Despite our largely successful efforts to educate pupils about safe use of technology, we have had one incident of a pupil writing inappropriate comments to other pupils using this app, so there is an inherent e-Safety issue to be aware of. Naturally, the situation was promptly dealt with and there have been no further instances of misuse.

The only limitation that I'm aware of with the free version is that you are limited to writing in red. Not a major stress, really. The Pro version is currently available for £0.59 if you're deeply offended by the colour red and need the option to write in black, blue and green as well.

For more information, check out the developer's information page about both versions of the app here.

Have you used this app with your students? Do you have any other ideas of how we could use it? Do you know of a better whiteboard app? Post a comment!

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I didn't know of this app before. Very simple and easy to use! I really like the ease in saving or email what is on the whiteboard AND FREE!!! I have no problems with the colour red ;)
    Looking forward to the next installment.

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  2. Glad you found it useful. I really like this app. Tremendous value for money as well!

    I, too, have no issues with the colour red. Hope you have fun playing!

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  3. Nice find. I won't have an opportunity to use this app at school, but I can see my kids using it in the car to do collaborative doodles. Thanks.

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  4. Anything which has the capacity to keep the kids happy in the car has to be worth a look. Enjoy!

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  5. OK, I don't want to sound uninformed, but what is AfL?

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  6. Sorry! Education is a world full of so many acronyms I just naturally assume people know what I'm going on about!

    AfL stands for Assessment for Learning - the ongoing process of informally checking for understanding to inform future planning and delivery of lessons, etc.

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  7. Thanks - I inferred it was something like that from the context, but I wanted to have a name to hang on it!

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