Realtimeboard: The Online Whiteboard for Teachers
So you need some whiteboard software?
Basically, there is software that is out there that mimics a whiteboard.
Then there’s Realtimeboard.
Online, creative, systematic, intuitive, custom, automatic, flexible. All the things you want in many software apps. But without adding so many options that it wipes out any function.
I’ve been using Realtimeboard for a while now, but was always limited by their “3 board for free” policy, where free account users could only create three ‘boards’. Being that I would probably prefer to have one board for each subject, or one board for each topic, or even one board per lesson, the 3 board for free policy wasn’t really going to work.
Recently, there has been a big push (even by Apple) for schools to ‘prove’ that they are a school, in order to offer educational packages to certified education institutions. Realtimeboard recently created a ‘education’ account that educators could sign up for. Their education package includes essentially their premium features, for the free package price. You can’t complain about that!
Below are some of the features that make Realtimeboard my new app of choice:
If you want your app to be successful, it needs to be online. No question about it. People need to be able to access it on any computer, or even, any device; phones, tablets, netbook, notebook, laptop, or desktop computer.
Realtimeboard is exactly that. It runs from the website, realtimeboard.com, much like Google Docs does, or WordPress. And like those, it has a dashboard that you’re taken to when you log in, with a grid or list view of your ‘boards’. As mentioned, the free account allows you to create only three boards, however, with the Education or Premium plan you can create as many as you like.
To spread the use of your app, there is one thing above all else that will do that. The ability to share. Google does this seamlessly with their host of apps, all tying into Gmail and user contacts.
Likewise, Realtimeboard allows you to send your board to any email address to share it. You can set the privacy to be view only or edit – though I suspect that such users may be required to sign up to the Realtimeboard service as well – which is how they spread their product.
Sharing, in turn, also leads to collaboration, and is a key buzzword with anyone talking about technology and teaching together.
Integrating with a larger company’s product is a must. Realtimeboard not only allows you to sign up to its services using a Google Account, but then allows you to link with your Google Drive, and use your existing Google contacts list. This makes sharing boards a lot easier, especially with those on the same domain or those who also use Google Apps (which is most teachers these days). Add to that the fact that this will also work for students on Chromebooks, and it makes Realtimeboard an incredibly powerful tool.
Web App on Chrome
So more and more people are using Chrome, and people are discovering that they can add Web Apps to the home screen. Realtimeboard also does this, as well as having a Google Extension that users can add to quickly copy content from webpages into a board of their choice in Realtimeboard.
The web app itself is little more than a link to Realtimeboard.com, but it sits nicely next to your Google Apps to remind you that it’s there, waiting to be of service!
With Realtimeboard, you can create a blank board, or use one of numerous templates which come pre-built with different layouts, different features, and different looks and feels. With that said, I mostly use a blank template to begin with, but in time, I can see the benefit of the templates if you have a specific learning module that requires one of the layouts seen in a template.
Using the ‘Frames’ mode, users can use a frame to show a progression, turning Realtimeboard into a powerful presentation tool, much like Prezi or Impress.js. Each day in a series of lessons, or each lesson in a unit over the course of a term could be ‘framed’ up and put into a selective order. This makes it very flexible and usable for more than just keeping notes, or jotting down brainstorms.
As I say, I have only just started paddling in the pool of possibilities with this app. There is no doubt a range of uses and applications for it, both in the classroom as teachers, but also for students.
So go ahead and get signed up. Get using it. Explore a new realm of possibilities in real time.
Keep an eye out for an upcoming Check out my post on this site for how to use Realtimeboard, with real screenshots of the different tools and functions that the app offers.