Home Try-a-Tool-a-Week Challenge WEEK 5: Twiddla (Collaborative IWB)

Try-a-Tool-a-Week Challenge WEEK 5: Twiddla (Collaborative IWB)

Tool-A-Week edtech teacher challenge

WEEK 5 – Twiddla

Twiddla is an online Interactive White Board that you use to edit collaboratively with anyone that you invite. What makes Twiddle extra cool is the ease of use – you don't need to create accounts and it's super quick to start a new whiteboard and invite someone to edit with you! You can even pull in a web site or document and notate or mark it up together.

I should mention that, while most of the tools we're learning about in The Challenge are totally free, Twiddla does have paid account levels. That being said, what you can do for free, at any time, without even having to create an account, is pretty awesome. Check out the video to see for yourself.

Here's a 3 Minute Teaching With Tech Tutorial for Twiddla:

Here's some perspective on using using Twiddla from other teachers and technologists:

REMEMBER, AFTER YOU TRY Twiddla … Please comment below and share your experience! What did you use it for? Was it easy? How did students like what you created?


About the Challenge:

The Try-a-Tool-a-Week Challenge started March 1st. Every Sunday through the end of May we're publishing a new web page with a new, awesome free tool to try. Everyone who provides their name and email address (click here to open the Challenge introduction page and SIGN UP) will get an email providing the link to the page. The goal is just to have fun and learn about these powerful free web applications for teaching and learning, and along the way you get the opportunity to win some giveaways we'll award at the end of the challenge to randomly selected participants! To have a chance a winning, just participate and share some observations about the tools you each week!

Week 1 was a blast with nearly 500 teachers signing up and dozens of great comments shared about Socrative, our Week 1 tool! Socrative is a popular Student Response System that students can use from just about any device.

For Week 2, more participants kept signing on and we checked out the free functionality of ed.ted.com! Creating a robust, interactive lesson based on any YouTube video or TED Talk, including a simple quiz, is easy-peasy with this outstanding tool from TED.

In Week 3, we got a 2-for-1 bonus, learning about LessonPaths and Blendspace, awesome free web apps that make it a snap to combine web content and your own content into a set of organized lesson content.

Our Week 4 Tool was Remind, a free one-way texting tool that teachers just love. And that “one way” thing is a bonus as far as many teachers are concerned, since they don't have to deal with replies. Think of it as the 2015 version of the take-home flyer or note (they can't reply to that either, right?). Quick, convenient, and far more likely to be paid attention to than pieces of paper or emails.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Was therefore excited to use this tool… the interface worked very well on laptops. after I used it at school with my students – UN agency all have iPads I used to be annoyed to seek out that although you may edit the document, you may not truly see on the iPad screen the modified image.

  2. Thanks for your observation, Mark. I exploit Zoom often and haven’t noticed any on-line whiteboard as a part of it (I will share screens and use a whiteboard, however that doesn’t create it collaboratively editable – however I really like the concept of coupling a Twiddla session with a Zoom session!). As for doing this Google Hangouts, I’ll provide it a shot!.

  3. I can see this being used in a professional setting much more easily than a classroom setting (I teach third graders). I was disappointed that we can’t save in the free version, and as a teacher, I really rely solely on free tools.

  4. Thanks for the feedback and ideas Kathryn!
    Patty – Having groups use different sessions should work better if each new session is initiated on a different computer.

  5. I tried to use this yesterday and was very disappointed. Maybe I don’t get it and you can give me some advice. My idea was to divide my class into four groups—each group assigned to a board to edit and then project for the class to view. I signed into 3 sessions and then when I started the 4th it said I had too many simultaneous sessions. Log out of all of them and decided to just do two. It would not allow me to create 2 new sessions. After 15 minutes I threw in the towel. I was very excited and hope someone can tell me what I did wrong so I can try it again. Thanks

  6. I was very interested in trying Twiddla, but I couldn’t immediately think of a way to use it in class, so I let my students provide some ideas. Like Karen mentioned, it did not work well with a whole class because the kids enjoyed erasing other students’ work. 🙁 Students tried to claim corners, “I’m writing in the upper left corner!” but we had too many devices on one screen.

    Their ideas for whole class use of Twiddla:
    The students thought the chat feature might work a bit better for some responses, so we tried that a bit. Another good suggestion: present a question/problem, and choose one person to complete the answer on Twiddla (while the rest of the students work on their own paper.) One other idea was to use Twiddla for error analysis, and construct an incorrect (math) problem and have students circle or highlight errors.

  7. Twiddla is a very interesting tool, especially useful in marking up webpages I want students to use. Not being able to save the board is a bummer, but there are obviously ways around that. Not having the ability to control who can do what on the board is also a difficulty. If there were a “lite” version of it that gave control to an administrator, that would be awesome. Using it with high schoolers can have unintended results, but if the class is motivated, good things can happen. Using it in a flipped classroom model would definitely be worthwhile, especially if students can’t get to class on a specific day. Also, having the available technology would help as well. If there is an app for it on smartphones, I think students would use it more readily. That said, I feel it is an overall good tool to have in my toolkit.

  8. I used Twiddla with my Intermediate Photography students. They each were to find a good and a bad example for the topic we were studying. They took turns pulling the examples into Twiddla and discussed them. The ability to mark on the images and collaborate in the creation of a rubric for the next project was great.

  9. I tried Twiddla with a large group and it was not very productive. With no one in control, anyone could wipe the board. There seems to be no way to save the board except a screen shot with the free membership. The students felt that it was a tool they might use when working with a student or small group in placement (the students are working toward an Educational Support diploma which certifies that as Educational Assistants). I did like the fact that it was quick and easy with no sign up required. I will try it again when we have an appropriate activity.

  10. Thanks for your observation Mark. I use Zoom regularly and have not noticed any online whiteboard as part of it (I can share screens and use a whiteboard, but that doesn’t make it collaboratively editable – but I love the idea of coupling a Twiddla session with a Zoom session!). As for doing this Google Hangouts, I’ll have to give it a shot!

  11. Was so excited to use this tool… the interface worked really well on laptops. When I used it in class with my students – who all have iPads I was frustrated to find that though you could edit the document, you could not actually see on the iPad screen the changed image…

    I then tried my luck with an alternative realtime board whose interface with google works very well. Better with iPads also. The drawback was that each owner could only use 100MB before having to pay.

  12. Just tried twiddla out. Showed it to a colleague. We plan to use it at our next meeting so people don’t have to drive to meet, they can twiddla the meeting! Can’t wait.

  13. After exploring this Twiddla, several ideas came to mind that I am eager to try with my students. One way I could use this tool would be in collaborative writing activities. This tool would be great for students to add their ideas to the various graphic organizers that are used weekly.

    The tool would also be effective during math instruction. Students could solve problems by showing their work, while I could also provide individual help to students that require further instruction.

    I also think Twiddla would be a great tool to use in Google Hangouts with co-workers and students. I could collaboratively discuss documents with co-workers or provide students with individual tutoring sessions. I am looking forward to experimenting with the wonderful possibilities!

  14. Verbal interaction during collaboration is important, and online whiteboarding is built into nearly every web conferencing tool available. I’m not sure I see much value here for anyone with a free Zoom or Google Hangouts account (which do allow recording).

  15. Amazing tool! Free, collaborative, time & work saving.
    Users collaborate while they share, chat, edit text and graphic based images.
    Using the tool without having to create an account is versatile as the session or rather the screen is saved by the user only.
    I intend using it in class to encourage collaborative round robin writing!

  16. Good point Bobbi – a screen shot can do it – or you could use the Snipping Tool (if you’re in Windows) to grab what you want, or even to piece together a large screen by grabbing multiple ‘snips’ and putting them together in another doc.

  17. Hi everyone,

    I’ve tried twiddla. It’s great, very easy to use, with a lot of choices of things you can do. I also love the fact you can chat. BUT: I don’t really see how I could use it in my class as the free version doesn’t allow to save the work. It’s really too bad that there isn’t a free teacher account.
    So, I will keep using other website that are free, though not as great not beautiful, like http://board800.com or that doesn’t have a chat option like http://groupzap.com.

  18. I like the idea of collaboration but would prefer to be able to save it. that said, a screen capture works in a pinch.

    The simplicity is great, love not having to sign in for a change. I’m not sure how I would use this tool yet. Perhaps on something of a more personal nature like redesigning my kitchen and using a layout to mark up with a friend or contractor.

    Thanks 🙂

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