Hello Ladies and Gents. May I introduce myself. My name is Kay Alexander and from today on I will write on this blog about tools and tricks for online teachers. Why? Because I can.
Joking aside, some might already know me as co-founder of the E-Teachers Academy. I am the business partner of Kirsten Winkler for a long, long time and the tech guy of the Winkler web estate. I work with computers (yes work, not play) since I was fourteen or fifteen and connected myself to the pre form of the internet with a 2400 baud modem. Since this time I live online.
But back to the actual topic of this very post here. I am planning to make a mini series out of it where I present you tools you can easily use with Skype for your online teaching. It’s basically a spin off of the epic battle between Skype fangirl Kirsten and the pro virtual classroom legion.
The first tool in this mini series is Dabbleboard. Dabbleboard is a whiteboard which offers all the functionalities you would expect from such a tool. What makes it especially useful for online teachers is the very quick setup.
Let’s say you have your lesson going on over Skype as usual but then you would like to revise some grammar rules. Instead of ending the call to start a virtual classroom or to push the topic to the next session all you need to do is
- Open your browser.
- Go to http://dabbleboard.com
- Click on “Get Started” to open a new room, no signup needed.
- Click on “Clear Canvas” to get a blanc whiteboard.
- Click on “Insert Document” to upload your slides or pdf documents.
- Click on “Invite Others” to get the link of the classroom, copy it and send it over Skype to your student.
He / she can then join the Dabbleboard and you will be able to work on the slide / text like in a classic virtual classroom. The whole process should not take more than one to two minutes (depending on how fast you find the file you would like to upload on your hard disk :P).
To sum this up: this is a quick solution if you would like to share a slide, table, text spontaneously with your student. It offers you all the tools you need to work on the same screen together but has of course no fancy features like recording or co-browsing. It can be setup in about a minute so it won’t interfere with the flow of your lesson and from our experience it is rock solid and works on most computers as Dabbleboard does not need the newest Flash plugins. There is no download needed from both sides and it is not an application you need to install with Skype hence I think it is the most convenient tool out there if you would like to have a whiteboard at hand when you need one.