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6 Free Online Collaborative Interactive White Boards – 2012 Update

by Kelly Walsh on November 4, 2012

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3 of the original apps from our April 2010 post are no longer available, but here’s 4 more free online IWBs to check out, and they’re all collaborative!

The original April 2010 article, “6 Free Online Interactive White Boards” and the more recent “Using The iPad As A Digital Whiteboard (Plus 4 Cool Free Apps To Try It Out)” have been consistent top 10 pages for viewership here on EmergingEdTech since they were published. Between them, they’ve had over 55,000 views to date. There is obviously a good deal of interest in free Interactive White Board apps. Unfortunately, several of the tools cited in the first post are no longer online, but there are some other great free digital IWBs that readers provided information about, so it’s time for an updated post.

Free Online Collaborative Interactive White Board Apps Logos Pic

I spent some time with each of the remaining functional tools from the April Post. My two favorites from that review, Dabbleboard and ImaginationCubed, as well as Writeboard.com, have all been taken off line. The good news is that I checked out the applications suggested by readers who commented on the original post and four of them have plenty to offer. These apps provide some powerful functionality for free, and each allows for collaborative editing of the white board!

Here is a brief review of these four newly listed free online IWBs, followed by some updated information on three applications from the original article that are still available online today:

Twiddla (http://www.twiddla.com): Inviting others to collaborate on Twiddla was quick and easy – just hit the green GO button to start a session and use the Invite option (towards the upper right hand corner of the screen). This app provides a great set of tools. You can easily add an image, web page, or document as a background to markup. There is a color palette tool, pen width tool, a shapes tool, and text can be inserted. There is even a “browse” option so that links in your background image can be clicked on, which was pretty unique. Not only is there a chat option built in, but there’s even free audio conferencing capability! Twiddla is very impressive and belongs at the top of the list of apps to consider if you need a tool like this.

Vyew.com (http://vyew.com): If you click on the TAKE A TEST DRIVE button, a whiteboard session will open where you can invite others, make notations, etc. I set my screen name and used the INVITE function (in the upper left hand corner of the screen), which allows you to set time limits on how long someone can collaborate with you, and choose between 4 roles for them – Viewer, Reviewer, Collaborator, or Moderator. You have to provide a name and email address of your own in order to be able to invite others to collaborate. It took a little while for the session to start on the computer where I opened the invite, but then it worked fine. You can create multiple boards within a session, and there is a great set of tools for varying colors, widths, and styles of ‘pencil’, adding shapes or text, editing what you’ve drawn, and more. This is a powerful tool and one worth considering if you’re in need of an interactive, collaborative white board tool.

Megascopes’ Whiteboard (http://whiteboard.megascopes.com): Megascopes.com is a unique site that is all about the exchange of ideas. There is much more to it than just this whiteboard application (but that’s the focus of this post so that’s what is discussed here). When you open the whiteboard application, click on the “Request a private session” link (under where it says “Session: public [2]” in big letters). This will open a private session, where you will now see a link (where the “Request a private session” link had been) that can be emailed to someone that you wish to collaborate with. I tested it and it was simple and fast. This is a simple whiteboard providing a pencil with different colors and widths and an eraser and not much more, but it is easy to use and does not require users to create an account. There is some additional functionality associated with the whiteboard (the ‘persist’ and ‘post’ features for example) that are worth investigating further if you are considering using the tool frequently.

Groupboard (http://www.groupboard.com): Groupboard offers a wide range of functionality, including free use by clicking here (you need the right version of Java or html5/ajax installed, I apparently did not, and chose not to pursue this further). Groupboard struck me as being geared more strongly towards paid use, with the free option more of a tempter than something you would want to use regularly. One significant feature of Groupboard is the ability to embed your board in other apps, including smart phones and tablets (one part of the front page says it works with the iPad, iPhone, and Android with no plug-ins required, but then there are buttons to download the app from the Apple Store of Google Play, which seemed contradictory). A scan of the other levels of application functionality on the front page make Groupboard appear worthy of further consideration if you want to get more advanced and scale up use of a tool like this over time.

These are three apps from the original review that are still available online:

Scribblar (http://scribblar.com): Scribblar is a nice tool for collaborating. You do need to sign up in order to use it. You can easily invite others to participate, and there are plenty of useful tools for drawing and editing. You can also chat or use voice to communicate with each other. You can save images (use the Snapshot icon, which will save images to the Assets pane, from which they can be downloaded). Scribblar is another good free collaborative IWB to check out.

Skrbl (http://www.skrbl.com): Skrbl is surprisingly still in beta (its been about two and half years since the first review). The free version does not allow for collaboration, but they do now have a team version available for $10/month. One has to wonder though, why bother when the tools above provide this sort of functionality for free?

ScribLink (http://www.scriblink.com): When I went to run Scriblink, it gave a notice that Java 1.5 was required, and that a corporate firewall might be blocking it. I assume it is still functional and that I could probably get it to wor, but with good options like those above available, I wasn’t compelled to put much more effort into it. I did have various issues with it when I tried it in 2010, and came away feeling uncomfortable recommending it (if anyone uses this app and can advise otherwise, please comment.)

Conclusions
I strongly recommend Twiddla and Vyew, and suggest considering Megascope’s Whiteboard, Groupboard, or Scribblar if neither Twiddla or Vyew meet your requirements.

If you a are interested in free white board apps for the iPad, be sure to check out, “Using The iPad As A Digital Whiteboard (Plus 4 Cool Free Apps To Try It Out)“.

As always, if you know of other free IWB tools or apps, or have experiences you would like to share about using any of the above mentioned tools, please feel free to comment and share!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Apple TV In The Classroom – The New Smart Board
10 Emerging Education and Instructional Technologies that all Educators Should Know About (2012)
Using The iPad As A Digital Whiteboard (Plus 4 Cool Free Apps To Try It Out)

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 Class 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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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Macy Dalby July 19, 2014 at 11:10 am

Thanks this is a great list! I recently used Lucidchart’s free network drawing tool and it was super easy to understand. They have great online collaboration capability and it’s really cost effective! It could be used as a interactive whiteboard for any kind of project management. Here are a few examples for you to check out: http://www.lucidchart.com/pages/examples/network_diagram_software. Let me know what you think!

Diana June 2, 2014 at 7:05 am

I would like to recommend http://www.proofhub.com/

Jason May 24, 2014 at 12:17 am

eduWeaver by BrainCert is the most advanced free online Whiteboard and Collaboration tool I have ever tried.

Free Online Whiteboard – http://www.eduweaver.com

Virtual Classroom – https://www.braincert.com

Alicia May 14, 2014 at 10:47 am

A free online whiteboard is also available at https://www.notebookcast.com/en/landing
I really enjoy explaining things there, its very usefull and available in English and Spanish

Doro January 11, 2014 at 11:34 pm

I suggest Flockmod.com because it has so, so, SO many advanced tools and has a great variation of users and art that is so inspiring. :)

Jelani October 7, 2013 at 1:31 am

Maybe these are not new anymore. I have tried Padlet, Awwaap Linoit. Work well for me…

Shubham Pathak September 29, 2013 at 11:16 am

Is Java plugin essential to download. After downloading 95% my computer stops downloading.

Jeremy September 21, 2013 at 8:40 am

Best customisable brainstorming template and whiteboard tool for collaborative teams. Professional account has been released http://www.groupmap.com

Pick templates or create your own for online brainstorming and planning activities.

Emma August 8, 2013 at 7:33 am

Hi, I use http://kanbantool.com/. Very easy to customize!

Greg July 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

As a Math tutor I highly recommend http://tutorsbox.com as a live web whiteboard for Science and Math tutoring.

Fred Clinton July 19, 2013 at 4:23 am

I recommend a powerful online collaboration tool named “CUMeeting” http://www.cumeeting.com . It also contains whiteboard feature. You can use it to conduct video conferencing, online training for all business.

Chris Petereson July 12, 2013 at 12:54 am

Thank you for the above list. Has anyone tried using on premise RHUB appliances for conducting web conference, online collaborations etc.? It provides whiteboard which is available for drawing.

Easy Projects Man June 6, 2013 at 8:21 am

Hi,

I can recommend Vyew from personal experience. It is truly a nice collaboration tool, enterprise level. Conferencing is awesome with them.

vrobbi February 23, 2013 at 4:02 am

I created a simple interactive whiteboard and chat only with html5 attached, there is no need of recording
http://vrobbi-nodedrawing.herokuapp.com

Ben Karim January 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Hi Kelly,

Interesting article.

We’ve created an online whiteboard at http://www.smartercalls.com as it works in real time, no install etc., and have wrapped it up as part of wider set of apps to help you work better such as an ‘online to-do’ list and a ‘post it / notice board’. It’s free to use and comes with conference calling and file sharing (soon).

We’re trying to tease out the specific use case for particular collaborative scenarios. We’re always improving the application, so why not take a look and tell us what you think?

Best wishes,

Ben

David December 3, 2012 at 11:45 am

Thanks for your comments about Groupboard. The apps for Android, iPad and iPhone are all optional – they just give a smoother experience than using the web browser. I have tweaked the language on our main page to clarify this. Also, you won’t get the message about missing java any more – now it will just automatically use the html5 version if you don’t have java installed.

Maria P November 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Have discovered ‘Doceri’ – free iPad app ( but with paid upgrade $40 NZ for life ) that is many things: virtual desktop remote, IWB, annotates over any document from your PC, works over a ‘solid’ wifi system and options galore for pen widths, colors, types, backgrounds and just so much more.

Still experimenting but love most of all that you can record screen, voice and annotations, saves it as a video file that can be then embedded into any LMS (including Moodle). Not without negatives especially if your wireless network is weak but otherwise LOVE IT!

http://doceri.com/

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