In my one moment of creative thought this evening, I thought,

“Shannon, how great would it be to collaborate with teachers and students via an online shared whiteboard.”

I know I cannot be the first one to think of this; however, I’m thinking free! Yes, free online desktop sharing, or simply a shared whiteboard for two or more people to think collaboratively, posing questions and seeking methods of solutions. I’m not too far removed from teaching that I have forgotten how much teachers already spend on their classrooms. Teachers do not need to spend a cent more of their own dime if they are willing to give up out-0f-the-classroom time to answer questions from their students. I started a search for a FREE online whiteboard application/resource and found two so far.

http://www.dabbleboard.com/draw

and

http://www.showdocument.com/plans.jsf

I played with the first website the most and found it easy to use, but would require practice to become proficient with utilizing the functions live with students.

This is what I captured.

I have yet to give the second link the same attention.

When I taught mathematics, I use a tablet pc, which allowed me to use a stylist to write just like using a pen, but with using software like Microsoft Office OneNote. I have used OneNote since 2005 and it is amazing! Math is so difficult to “type”, so time is wasted formatting instead of explaining. When explaining mathematical concepts to students in the classroom, I have found students appreciated and respond best to the real-time writing I did during instruction. I was able to use different colors, write on a notebook paper template or graph paper, use a highlighter, and draw shapes to instruct. I was also able to lay out notes for students to record into their binders, a format which was best suited for reviewing, researching and studying. Most importantly, and unlike using the chalkboards of old, I was able to face my students while I wrote, monitoring student behavior and attention. As one administrator observed, “Students have no choice but to listen and learn!”

I’m on the hunt. If you know of a resource that would fit this bill, please post a comment. Whether it would be for math instruction or not, there is a need for online collaboration and instruction for all teachers. What is your favorite resource?

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