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What is it?

Skrbl is a web based application. It is a simple and easy online multi use whiteboard. It can be your own private online clipboard which can save your data, or it can be used by a team as a “shared session” where you can collaborate with colleagues, friends, and family. You are able to access the clipboard and/or sessions from any computer connected to the internet because it is web based. There are no new tools to learn. There is nothing to install and nothing to download. It is free if used privately and $10.00 a month introductory price for a team.

What does it do?

Skrbl is capable of doing a variety of things. It has been described as a “Powerful Collaboration Made Simple.” You can sketch, text, share files, and upload pictures on a common shared space. You can co-browse the web, annotate shared documents, video phone and skype calls. Additionally, freehand drawings can be created; pictures can be uploaded from your desktop or the web. There are multiple languages to be used. It has also been described as the “next best thing to being in the same room.” The team can focus on work and skrbl takes care of syncing and saving.

You can use skrbl to brainstorm. You can use the whiteboard to write down whatever comes to mind. You can use it alone or with a team.

You can use skrbl for meeting notes, to record observations, delegate tasks and responsibilities. It is efficient in that all attendees to a meeting, if they were part of the team, could record their notes, make additions, corrections while saving time and resources. Using it for meetings could avoid miscommunications.

You can use skrbl as an online clipboard. It acts like “things to do” or “catch all” where you can write schedules, telephone numbers, doctor’s appointments or reminders. You can access it anytime or anywhere, where there is internet. It can be shared with a team or marked private.

You can use skrbl as a bulletin board. You can post announcements, notices, notes, deadlines, updates… for a team as they complete projects. Instead of using emails with a long list of to: or cc: the bulletin board can be used to announce certain things to a team.

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

Skrbl’s currently supported browsers include:

· Internet Explorer 6

· Internet Explorer 7

· Firefox 1.5 and 2

The team addition has a 250 MB file storage and can have 5 users with unlimited guests. The free addition has a file storage of 10 MB and can have one single user with unlimited guests.

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

In the blog, it shared that a teacher used skrbl in his classroom. He had invited 19 students to discuss Steinbeck. They were collaborating on the skrbl whiteboard. They read, responded and reacted by writing, commenting and discussing. Students described the experience as the opportunity to keep “our wheels rolling.”

I think it could be used by a teacher in the intermediate grades for the study of Junior Great Books, gifted and talented novels and challenge books. The teacher could act as the facilitator and teach the students to use the features of skrbl to react, respond and discuss the texts. I also think that teachers could use skrbl to teach and have students learn mathematics.

Teachers could teach students how to use the features of skrbl for them to complete group activities and projects. Some projects our students have completed where they can use skrbl include:

· The Multicultural Fair

· State Research

· Career Fair

· Safe Racer

What are other educational applications for this tool?

Since skrbl is a powerful collaboration tool, it could be used by teachers and staff members to accomplish many activities, including the following:

· Committee Work

· Grade level lesson study

· Preparation of a professional development

· Polishing and refining meeting notes as to eliminate miscommunication

· Share instructional strategies

· Posting of announcements for future meetings, deadlines, etc.

· Analyzing data and making instructional decisions by getting input from several educators

What are the limitations and cautions related to the use of this tool?

· The school system may filter out skrbl and not allow access

· There is a limit to the size of a file

· The team introductory price is $10.00 a month. However, you do not know what it will be in the future.

What are the management considerations for this tool?

· Users would probably need to have sophisticated technology skills and fluency to use skrbl

· Users would need to learn to use each feature of skrbl.

· There may be resistance to use skrbl.


June 30, 2008 at 5:30 pm 1 comment


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