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Monday, April 6, 2015

RealtimeBoard for Collaborative Whiteboards - Free (Premium) Educational Accounts #edtech #edtech @realtimeboard

Today I played with a great tool called Realtime Board that allows you to open a collaborative white board space and invite others to collaborate in real time.  I played with it for about 15 minutes and found it to be a very intuitive and easy-to-use tool that I believe has a great place in the classroom setting.  Their free account allows you to have 3 unlimited white boards but they have educational pricing that allows educators to apply for an educational account that will give you unlimited white boards.  It took less than 24 hours for them to approve my educational account.

There is no app for iOS or Android, but that's okay because the service has been written in HTML 5 and avoids that pesky, battery-hogging Flash.  Just open a browser on any device and away you go.  The tools are very easy to use and included are a pencil, shape creator, text tool, sticky notes, comments, and object linking.  Within minutes I was able to create a white board, share it with another account, and see changes happening in real time on each screen.

Students will love this tool and it's full featured enough to do many classroom activities.  You also have the ability to download your board as an image, PDF, and save to your Google Drive, so teachers using Google Classroom could have students turn in work they've done in Realtime Board.

One note of caution is that once students open up this tool and start playing around with it they will want to spend some time monkeying around with everything and seeing it show up on each other's screens.  My word of advice is instead of clamping down on that creative collaboration, give them a few minutes to play around, possibly with a fun purpose that is unrelated to your lesson plan.  They once they're figured out the tool and played around a bit turn them loose on the task you have in mind.

Also, their help section is pretty extensive and they do have occasional webinars.

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