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Best Virtual Whiteboard for Teaching

Online whiteboards have come a long way in recent years. The emergence of drag and drop simplicity has led to many great online whiteboard programs. In this post I want to explore six of the best online whiteboard programs based on usability, compatibility, and price.

I was recently asked by a reader if I knew of any online whiteboards that she could use to teach her classes. I thought this was an excellent question, since there are many different learning management systems available, but not many are compatible with one another. So I spent some time looking for the best online whiteboard apps out there, and here’s what I found.

1. AWW board

AWW board is an online whiteboard that works exclusively in browsers. In other words, no download or installation is required. The AWW board interface is clean and simple with a dotted grid. The toolbar on the left features basic tools such as a pen, eraser, and textbox.

For users who prefer to have an application on their mobile devices, AWW board, unfortunately, currently does not have a smartphone or tablet application. 

Available in: 

Free version of online whiteboard:

  • Includes: Basic annotation tools, Chatbox, Advertisements
  • Excludes: Share PDF or PowerPoint documents, Email support, Multiple pages on each whiteboard, Download scribbles and writing on the whiteboard as PDF without watermark
  • Cost of the paid versionUS$9 per month for teachers
Aww board interface. Screenshot by the writer.

2. Ziteboard

Ziteboard boasts of its ability to facilitate real-time collaborations among participants from different parts of the world. Its main selling point is the ability to add sticky notes that users can repurpose as todo lists or to leave notes to follow up later. 

The downside of Ziteboard is that it restricts the number of pages and quality of images that free users can upload to the online whiteboard. Students and teachers may not be able to share all of their worked solutions or notes. Since voice and video chat functions are only available for paid users, a secondary application for communication will have to be used as well.

Available in: 

Free version of online whiteboard:

  • Includes: Shareable whiteboards, Three whiteboards per account, Unlimited number of collaborators in real-time, Sticky notes, Import only first page of PDF documents and images of low resolution, Only public boards
  • Excludes: Infinite number of whiteboards, Highlighter tool, Import PDF files and images of high quality, Chatbox, Voice and video chat, Both public and private boards
  • Cost of the paid version: Starts at US$9 per month
Ziteboard in Chrome browser. Screenshot by the writer.

3. Miro

Miro is designed for team collaboration in the workplace with templates and moveable sticky notes to keep track of work progress. For instance, different columns such as ‘ideas,’ ‘work in progress,’ and ‘finishing touches’ can be used to categorise each task documented on sticky notes.  

For teachers, the mind map templates in Miro may be useful to help students visualise concepts and to draw connections between subtopics.

Available in: 

Free version of online whiteboard:

  • Includes: Three whiteboards per account, No sign up required for viewers, Whiteboard templates
  • Excludes: Infinite number of whiteboards, Private whiteboards, Anonymous editors with no sign in required, Export whiteboard in high definition, Video chat
  • Cost of the paid version: Starts at US$8 per month

https://www.youtube.com/embed/7L1-0DOGHDY?feature=oembedMiro online whiteboard features on YouTube

4. Limnu

Limnu’s online whiteboard is available for teachers and students even if they do not register for an account. The biggest selling point for free users is that Limnu features an expandable whiteboard. Since users can zoom out to reveal more empty spaces to write on, they will never have to worry about running out of whiteboard space. 

However, Limnu’s security appears to be lacking for free users, and video-conferencing capabilities are only available for paid users. 

Available in: 

Free version of online whiteboard:

  • Includes: Each whiteboard is only accessible for fourteen days, Unlimited whiteboard collaborators, Limited security features
  • Excludes: Infinite number of whiteboards, Infinite number of collaborators, Private boards, Full security features
  • Cost of the paid versionFree pro plan for educators at public schools. Starts at US$5 per month.
Screenshot of video chat superimposed on Limnu’s online whiteboard. Photo by Limnu.

5. Zoom

Zoom is primarily a video-conferencing platform and its whiteboard feature is not its main selling point. Even so, Zoom is unique as it allows hosts and participants to annotate on the screen in the middle of a screen share. In other words, Zoom’s annotation feature is not just on its built-in whiteboard, but on anything that is shared on the screen. 

For teachers and parents, security is a core concern with incidents of ‘zoom bombers’ disrupting classes by exposing students to obscene images. However, the free version does not include security features such as call encryption. 

Available in: 

Free version of online whiteboard:

  • Includes: Up to 100 participants, 40 min limit on video calls with more than two participants
  • Excludes: Record meetings, 24 hour limit on video calls, Custom meeting ID, Customised URL, Encrypted calls
  • Cost of the paid version: Starts at US$14.99 per month.
Zoom user annotating on screen. Photo by Zoom.

6. IDroo

IDroo is an online whiteboard designed with educators in mind. On IDrio, users can type equations with the text box feature. IDroo also saves the messages sent in its chatbox as well as the content that has been shared on the whiteboard for future reference. 

Unfortunately, users on a free subscription plan cannot upload images and documents. For teachers who hope to use IDroo to share notes and for students to upload their worked solutions for review, IDroo may not be the optimal choice. 

Available in: 

Free version of online whiteboard:

  • Includes: Five whiteboards, Access to basic drawing tools
  • Excludes: Upload documents and images, Administrative controls, Voice calls, 20GB of storage per user
  • Cost of the paid version: Starts at US$10.11 per month.

Conceptboard (good interactive whiteboard for agile teams)

Conceptboard is visual collaboration software. The app was launched in 2010 by two computer scientists from Stuttgart, Germany. 

Conceptboard is a highly professional whiteboard experience. It’s great for agile teams doing brainstorming, design collaboration, project management and remote meetings. It’s got an infinite canvas. You get tons of visuals like sticky notes and mind map icons, as well as templates. When team members edit a board you get notifications in real time. There are live conferences with live moderation features. Conceptboard also tracks data like the number of boards you create, projects and tasks.  

Conceptboard offers a free plan which lets you add up to 100 objects per board. Paid plans go for $6 and $9.50 per user per month billed annually. For enterprise plans contact Conceptboard.

Conceptboard is best for:

  • Small teams
  • Startups
  • Agile teams
  • Remote teams
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Project management

Website: Conceptboard

 

Whiteboard Fox (best free web whiteboard)

Whiteboard Fox is a big name when it comes to free online whiteboards. It’s very user friendly on your web browser, letting you start drawing instantly. 

Whiteboard Fox’s blank canvas is a grid. The drawing tools are the most basic ones to draw and erase. You can also add pics. Aside from being an online tool, Whiteboard Fox can also be used on iPads and Android tablets. For teams, all changes get synced in real time for all remote users. To share boards, you just get an easy link which you can email. There are other neat team collaboration tools. For example the admin can allow people to add and erase stuff from boards, or to only draw but not erase.  

Whiteboard Fox is a free whiteboard tool. 

Whiteboard Fox is best for:

  • Individuals
  • Small teams
  • Startups
  • Ease of use
  • Team collaboration
  • Project planning

Website: Whiteboardfox

 

Ziteboard (good whiteboard software if you need wireframes)

The name Ziteboard is a portmanteau of zoom and whiteboard. This company hails from Hungary. It aims to help with real-time collaboration mainly for education but also for general team brainstorming.

Ziteboard is good for designing things like wireframes, workflows as well as basic whiteboarding content. You get to draw freehand and then Ziteboard gives you line smoothing and shape recognition. You can insert images and PDFs, graphs, sticky notes and navigation boxes. Real-time collaboration on interactive whiteboards allow text chatting, and audio and video conferencing tools. Digital whiteboards can be exported as high-resolution PDFs.

The free version of Ziteboard lets each user own 3 whiteboards. Pro subscriptions are $9 per month or $85 per year.

Ziteboard is best for:

  • Small teams
  • Startups 
  • SMBs
  • Freehand drawing
  • Wireframes
  • Project planning
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Presentations

Website: Ziteboard

 

Stormboard (best online whiteboard templates)

Stormboard is a Canadian company from Edmonton that launched their collaborative whiteboard platform, Edistorm, in 2009. It got rebranded as Stormboard in 2013.

Stormboard is a very high-end shared digital workspace tool. It is especially tooled for remote teams and distributed workforces. The canvas has no boundaries. You can add text, free-form drawings, files, images and videos. There are Substorms and index cards for collecting and organizing large amounts of ideas. There are also whiteboard post-it notes. Stormboard has a good library of whiteboard templates. These include templates for agile scrum, daily standups, presentations, affinity mapping, and of course, brainstorming sessions. You can use Stormboard online or on your mobile device. 

Stormboard for teachers and other individuals is free. It gets you 5 boards and allows up to 5 users per board. Business plan is $8.33 per user per month billed annually, and Enterprise plan is $200 per user per year.

Stormboard is best for:

  • Remote teams
  • Startups
  • SMBs
  • Large business
  • Designers
  • Project planning
  • Video conferencing
  • Templates

Website: Stormboard

 

MURAL (best digital whiteboard for enterprise)

MURAL was first conceived back in 2011. The co-founders were aiming to create a visual collaboration platform that would be ideal for remote work. 

Today MURAL has a suite of visual collaboration tools suited for any business size. You can easily collect ideas, notes or tasks on sticky notes. These can be turned into charts, wireframes, flowcharts and more. MURAL is also a great virtual teaching tool. There are many settings for moderators or instructors to lead virtual conferences. MURAL has over 100 templates. These include operations dashboard, idea sketch pads, and design canvas. MURAL also gives its clients lots of help learning the platform as well as great customer service.

The Starter and Plus plans cost $12 and $20 per user per month billed annually. For Enterprise prices contact MURAL.

MURAL is best for:

  • SMEs
  • Large Businesses
  • Enterprise
  • Virtual classrooms
  • Templates
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Remote collaboration

Website: Mural

 

IPEVO Annotator (good free whiteboard tool for teaching)

Annotator is an interactive whiteboard tool from IPEVO. IPEVO is a specialist for distance teaching and learning. Annotator is a great tool for this.

IPEVO has another app called Whiteboard for iOS and Android devices. This is good for displaying or drawing live images or camera snapshots. Many of IPEVO Whiteboard’s features are available in IPEVO Annotator, which is even more interactive. Here you still get all the whiteboard tools like drawing, shapes, zooms and annotations. There is also a live cursor, screenshots, videos and live recordings. Two users can work at the same time with a multi-pen mode. Whiteboards can be exported as JPEGs and PDFs.  

IPEVO Annotator is free, as is IPEVO Whiteboard. 

IPEVO Annotator is best for:

  • Small teams
  • Remoter teaching
  • Virtual classrooms
  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Presentations

Website: IPEVO

Microsoft Whiteboard (good free whiteboard tool for startups)

Microsoft has its own version of online whiteboard collaboration software. Microsoft Whiteboard is a solid real-time collaboration and teaching platform.

Microsoft Whiteboard has good drawing, line straightening and shape recognition. It works best with touch screens. Teams can work together to have brainstorming sessions. Managers can lead meetings. Teachers can hold group lessons. Everything takes place in the cloud and gets autosaved. Microsoft Whiteboard also works great with other Microsoft apps like 365 and Teams.

You can use Microsoft Whiteboard for free with a Microsoft account on iPhone, iPad, Android device, desktop or web. You just need a Microsoft account which is free, for example, with Hotmail. 

Microsoft Whiteboard is best for:

  • Startups
  • SMBs
  • Large Businesses
  • Brainstorms
  • Project planning
  • Presentations
  • Video conferencing
  • Teaching tools

Website: Microsoft Whiteboard

Conclusion

A lot of teachers use the whiteboard to teach their students. Be it a primary classroom in Florida or teaching in Pakistan, most teachers would want to use an online whiteboard service in order to share information with their students in real time. A whiteboard can be shared among multiple users at once, whose interface can be accessed by every user on the same page.

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