Tag Archives: webconferencing

Free Web Conferencing Tools for Teachers – Guest Blog Post

Free Web Conferencing Tools for Teachers

Awhile back Karen Schweitzer contacted me about an opportunity to guest post on my blog.  The topic of web conferencing is one that is near and dear to my heart and I have a wiki devoted to the topic of web conferencing/video conferencing in the classroom. Here is Karen’s post on web conferencing tools – thanks Karen!

MWSnap01069Web conferencing is a great way for teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms and their daily lives. There are many free web conferencing tools that can be used to schedule meetings, host parent-teacher conferences and webinars, broadcast videos, collaborate, and share computer screens online. Here are a few free web conferencing tools that work well particularly well for teachers:

Phonevite – Phonevite is a free broadcasting service that can be used to invite people to a web conference via telephone. Teachers can record a message for attendees and have the message sent to a specific group of telephone numbers.

SAM – SAM is a free online meeting scheduler. The tool eliminates the need for multiple phone calls and notes by setting a meeting date and inviting attendees to join via email.

Yugma – This free web conferencing service can be used to conduct online meetings and share your computer screen with other people. Yugma works with up to 20 attendees and supports Windows, Mac, and Linux users.

Dimdim – Dimdim is an easy-to-use web conferencing tool that requires no download. It can be used to deliver live presentations, whiteboards, and to share video and voice over the Internet.

Vyew – This free platform provides real-time interaction and live web conferencing. Teachers can use it to give live presentations, host webinars, or conduct parent-teacher meetings.

Mikogo – Mikogo is a free cross-platform tool for desktop sharing. It can be used for online meetings, web conferencing, and much more.

TokBox – TokBox is a free video chat and messaging service that works well for parent-teacher conferences. It is simple to use and works with email and instant messaging systems.

Palbee – This free online meeting tool connects up to 10 people online. Palbee users can talk face-to-face and collaborate on a web-based whiteboard.

USTREAM – USTREAM is a free video broadcast platform that can be used to broadcast live streaming video to an unlimited number of people. Video broadcasts are interactive so that viewers can interact with the broadcaster and other viewers.

Edmodo – Edmodo is designed specifically for teachers who want to be able to privately communicate with parents and students. This free site has many different features, including the ability to send alerts, files, and events.

Skype – This free software has become very popular among teachers and other people who want to make free video and voice calls. Skype also offers instant messaging capabilities and file sharing.

ooVoo – ooVoo is a free video chat service that connects up to six people at once. Two-way chat is always free and perfect for online parent-teacher conferences.

Meebo – This free online service can be used to instant message other people no matter which IM provider they use. Meebo works with AIM, Facebook, MSN, Yahoo!, MySpace, and many other popular services.

SpeakLike – SpeakLike is a free instant messaging service that can be used to communicate with parents who speak other languages. The service instantly translates any text that is typed. SpeakLike is available for communication in English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish.

GroupTweet – GroupTweet is a free Twitter app that works well for teachers who want to be able to send private messages via Twitter. The app only sends message to people who have been invited to join the group.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen also writes about online colleges for OnlineCollege.org.


01514Those 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 Scriblink Whiteboardpeople 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.