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Creately is an easy to use, easy access, affordable web based diagramming tool

by Kelly Walsh on October 26, 2011

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A low cost, web enabled alternative to the other diagramming applications, and it allows for collaboration across the web!

Guest post by Nishadha Silva.

Presenting subject matter in an easy to visualize way is an important part of teaching. Many teachers are looking for easy to use and cost effective diagramming tools to draw charts and diagrams. Creately is a web based diagramming tool, that supports many diagrams types including Flowcharts, Venn diagrams, story boards etc, which are commonly used in teaching. Although presenting the subject matter using diagrams is great, there are a few limitation when it comes to using diagram software. Mentioned below are some of those problems and how Creately addresses them.

Accessibility - One of the biggest problems with desktop diagramming software is that they are limited to that machine. So if you want to access some diagrams from school and home then you need to have the software installed on both computers. Also, if you start drawing a diagram from school and want to finish it at home, then you need to bring it home using a external hard drive or access it through some online storage like email or online file hosting. These things take additional time and can even result in corrupt files.

The advantage of an online diagramming tool is that all your diagrams are stored online, so you can access them anytime, anywhere as long as you have Internet access. Creately even has its own desktop software that automatically syncs with your online account, making it ideal for offline drawing as well.

One of many Creately How-To Videos from the Cinergix Channel on YouTube.

Pricing - Another common problem with diagramming software is the heavy price tag. Even though educational institutes get discounted prices, a personal license for Microsoft Visio can cost from $60 to $100 (and you need to produce your university card and go through the university administration to get the discount). Creately personal plan starts at 5$ per month, which is affordable for most people. For educational institutions that are looking for multiple licenses or a desktop version of the software, there is a discounted price scheme. Contact edu@creately.com for discounted rates. If you are a charity or an open source project, you are also eligible for discounted rates.

Easy to use tools and interface - Creately was featured in TechCrunch and MakeUseOf because of its innovative use of technology and easy to use tools. Since Creately launched, a lot of focus was given to make diagramming fun and easy. There are many templates available so you can start drawing diagrams quickly. There are many shapes and objects like business objects, people shapes, commonly used shapes loaded so you can start using them straightaway. The video above shows how connectors are designed in a user friendly way, making it very easy to adjust and connect objects.

Lots of free resources - There are many resources about diagramming available for free in the Creately website. There are mini sites for important diagram types and articles and pages for almost every diagram type. A good example of a mini site is this Flowchart Information mini site. It has templates for you to download, explanation of the diagram type, explanation of the symbols used in a diagram type, real world examples of using the diagram and other articles about that specific diagram type. It’s a great resource for beginners and expert users alike.

Team Collaboration - Team collaboration is one of the biggest issues addressed by Creately. Although it was designed for use by software teams it is a great tool to be used in the classrooms as well. Imagine two or three students working on a diagram, with it shown to the class using a projector. That’s the sort of thing you can achieve using Creately.

I hope the above facts tempt you to try Creately. It can be used to draw all sorts of things and you can contribute to the diagramming community by making the diagrams public, so others can learn from them. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section or by contacting us through the website.

Nishadha Silva is a Software Engineer turned Internet Marketer. He loves to learn about social media, search engine optimization and traffic generation methods. While he’s not working on his blogs he loves to read, travel and try out various new delicacies. Check out his LinkedIn profile, or follow him on Twitter @rumblinglankan for tips mostly related to Internet Marketing.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
10 Internet Technologies Educators Should Be Informed About – 2011 Update
Free Productivity Resources for Educators
8 Great Free Digital Presentation Tools For Teachers To Try …

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer, and an adjunct faculty member, at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jon October 26, 2011 at 7:42 am

After trying them all out, I strongly prefer LucidChart. Not only is it easier for the kids, but it is 100% free for educators with their educational program. Creately would have cost us a small fortune even with their discounts.

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