Those who know me well know that I am interested and fascinated by the advancements in webconferencing websites and tools. I have seen first hand how using this type of technology in the classroom is very cost effective when using only a laptop/computer, project, webcam, microphone and external speakers. Most classrooms have at least one computer setup in the room or have access to the equipment just referenced. I have a wiki featuring tools, software, tips and strategies to use this medium to enrich instruction at http://caisefiles.wikispaces.com. As a result, I am always on the lookout for any type of tool or website that can assist people wanting to use webconferencing to bring in subject matter experts, extend the flat classroom or have students study and interact with different cultures around the world.
I recently came across a site called “Scriblink – Your Online Whiteboard“. This site allows you to invite people to participate via a long distance phone call, VOIP, or via a URL. I created a test session at http://www.scriblink.com/index.jsp?act=phome&roomid=5218&KEY=06F31C8729790 DD1CF8D347D14450E7E that you are welcome to click on to see the setup.
If you click on the ∏ (Pi) symbol you can access special math, symbols and characters. I tried to do this but could not get the special characters or symbols to embed in the whiteboard. You can upload images and have those embedded in the whiteboard as well.
The colors of the writing pen and pencil can be changed along with the thickness of each instrument. The background can also be changed and they have great choices to choose from. I couldn’t find a way to find a softer color as most of the colors for the background are very bright and wouldn’t be conducive in many collaboration sessions.
This has potential for classrooms that don’t have a whiteboard or if you wanted students to collaborate on one document/whiteboard area. You could also collaborate with colleagues online and use the URL for everyone to get together for a meeting. There are some exciting possibilities here despite the one bug that I encoutered. Overall, it is definitely worth checking out and giving it a trial run.