Wed | Feb 26, 2020

Whiteboard goes virtual

Published:Sunday | February 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMGen Clacken

In today's world, time has, seemingly, become scarce and with technology giving us tools to effectively manage time and also tasks at hand.

Research indicates that some of the best strategies for navigating projects, tasks, and errands, involve collaborating with others.

The sharing of ideas often results in the creation of innovative solutions and provides support. Collaborative technologies have been growing in popularity and use over the last decade, and the whiteboard is the latest to experience this technological change.


Value of the Whiteboard


The whiteboard, manual or electronic, has long been a tool to jot down reminders to self, mind maps, and other ideas articulated by individuals or groups, and it is the perfect place for "sticky notes".

But what if the collaborative space captured on the whiteboard could be replicated online? What if the whiteboard could be more accessible and more flexible? What if the whiteboard could be carried in one's pocket or purse, and what if anyone could put ideas on someone's whiteboard, from anywhere in the world and at any time?

This is exactly what Realtime Board does.


The Whiteboard reconceptualised


While the whiteboard was introduced into schoolrooms and other places in the 1950s, it did not become popular until the 1970s when the dry erase marker was invented.

By the 1990s, the whiteboard was successful in eclipsing the blackboard.

Today, the 'traditional' whiteboard is being replaced by a virtual version that is able to defy the space-time continuum.

Relatively new on the apps market, the Realtime Board currently has as around 1.5 million users worldwide.

It is popular among business people and project managers as it is used to connect teams remotely for brainstorming and concept and process mapping, among other things.

It is even used in some industries for daily planning meetings (scrum meetings), replacing what was once called the stand-up department meeting. But the most important benefit of the Realtime Board is that it can be made accessible to anyone, from any location, and at any time.

This means that teams can work together on a common canvas that also facilitates the embedding of video and audio files while at the same time hosing images and virtual sticky notes in ways that resemble the actual board.


Instructional Value


The Realtime Board is being used to facilitate workshops and class delivery in areas such as language arts and mathematics. It is also becoming very popular in the online and blended learning environments as the technology finally provides classroom teachers and trainers with the 'perfect' alternative for the blackboard or traditional whiteboard surface.

It facilitates group activities as well as guided exploration sessions where the facilitator leads, or models, targeted

behaviour, and as it is accessible via the Internet, the opportunities for extending the learning experience, are practically limitless. The various tools and features of the app facilitate the improved visual appeal of the learning experience and it can lift the interactivity of any classroom to new heights.

The Realtime Board is available at, and one has a variety of options to choose from from free, personal, team, and teacher accounts.

Paid accounts start at US$40 per month, but beginners are encouraged to create free accounts that carry few functionality restrictions. Try it out and see what possibilities can unfold.

- Gen Clacken is an educational technologist with 16 years' experience in online education. She can be found at