Online whiteboards

Update – totally revised and updated version of this very popular post – March 2014

The updated version has some new tools and a great deal more detail.

Something I use a lot. I should explain my requirements – I often answer students’ questions on mathematics on our school VLE. Now writing mathematics can be a pain (and yes I know about LaTex), all I want to do is to be able to communicate quickly. An online whiteboard which can be saved is perfect – I just post the link to our student forums, these have been very well received. Note that a graphics tablet is essential.

Now I am wondering which is best for my use….

An interesting toolscreenr seems to do exactly what I want, it is very easy to use and plays back as I want it to – send straight to your chosen application or get the url (or both). screenr test 2. The screencast can be published easily to YouTube. Update: You can now sign in to screenr in a variety of ways (formerly just Twitter). For a training video on using Screenr – see this by Russell Stannard. (From his Teacher Training videos site).

(See also Online Whiteboards and Feedback)

Screencast-o-matic – now here is an interesting tool – very easy to use to capture the screen. I tried capturing myself using the interactive whiteboard software. Simultaneous Equations example here!

twiddla – good in that we can all use but files cannot be saved – good for collaboration.

Scriblink – this seems to work well, files can be saved, an email (which takes rather too long to arrive) provides the link.

Another to try: Board 800

Update – August 2011 – another easy way to have a quick scribble – see quadratic example. Select Doodle Now, doodle, then publish; I used my Twitter account, other options are available including Facebook.

Update – October 2011 – AWW which provides a very easy way to easily share a whiteboard sketch – no sign up or installation required – just write away then share!

32 comments on “Online whiteboards

  1. Hi Colleen,

    Can I use my ipad as a graphics tablet? I am wondering whether I can connect my ipad to my laptop and then use ipad in combination with a stylus for drawing or writing.

    Please advise.


  2. Hi Colleen. This refers to our earlier conversation regarding a graphics tablet for online teaching. I am looking to buy a graphics tablet. I am looking for a tablet that is not very expensive and gives a very good user experience. Can you please suggest some? Also, can you please tell me what should be ideal drawing area, pen pressure level and accuracy. What should be the most important things I should look at when buying a tablet?
    Thank you


    • Thank you very much Jason, this looks good – I shall experiment and add to the post.

      Note for readers: there are various pricing plans for collaboration but the board seems to be free.


      • Hi Colleen. This list is very helpful. I have some concerns though. Could you please tell me whether I would need a digital pen to teach math online using any of these tools? Also, I have used basic version of Webex, which is free, but I feel that I need some tablet or digital pen to write equations. The tools built in the Webex are not convenient to write complex equations. Please tell me whether there is any whiteboard which is easy to teach math.


      • Sam I certainly need my graphics tablet to be able to hand write mathematics on any of these online tools; I could not cope without one! As I have said in the post these are all online whiteboards where I can use hand writing. Note the much updated post here I have not used Webex but it looks to me as if I would want my graphics tablet with their whiteboard if I want to be able to hand write smoothly and quickly


    • Thank you Peter, that does look interesting, the free option is very limited though. My aim here is to let people know about all the tools that it is possible to use at minimum cost! This post is so popular, I
      think I will revisit it.


  3. Pingback: 06/03/2013 | limfablog

  4. Hi Colleen. Great website – I look forward to having a proper look around.

    Have you come across It’s an online whiteboard & meeting / collaboration site with a free subscription option. I’ve used it for online lessons (1-2-1 and group) and even to broadcast an actual lesson from within school when a couple of A level students were off sick but wanted to take part from home! You can set up various rooms and each room is persistent between sessions, which means we have also used it as an online notice board where students can leave messages or questions for the rest of the class outside of hours. Interested to know what you and others think…


  5. One possibility would be to use JING for your screen capture, and you can audio narrate as you go. The vids can be up to 5 minutes, and depending upon whether you are using the free or paid subscription, you can save the video in either .swf or .mp4 formats. *I think the .swf files are visually crisper.

    You could use a graphics tablet with any program, probably even Paint, for actually doing the math on screen.


  6. another great app to use… if you have iPads is Showme Teachers (or students) can make whiteboard presentations and post them online. This could also be used as an absentee notes or presentation page. I am not sure if you can upload formats or just create them. If you can upload into show me, that would make notebook, scriblink, and other whiteboard tools inter-compatible.


  7. Sweet website , I hadn’t noticed before till my coworker told me about it.
    Keep up the great work! I will be contributing more at

    Looking forward to some good times here at


  8. Pingback: Presentations « Mathematics, Learning and Web 2.0

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