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Online Whiteboarding vs. Whiteboarding Apps: Which Is Better for the Classroom?

In the digital age, even whiteboarding is evolving with the advent of web-based and app-based whiteboarding tools. As online learning and remote classrooms become more prevalent, these new digital tools offer a fresh perspective on brainstorming and visualizing ideas. However, the landscape is ever-changing; even Jamboard— a digital whiteboarding mainstay by Google— is discontinuing.  This poses a dilemma for educators: the choice between online and native whiteboarding applications.

To make informed decisions based on your classroom’s needs, read on to explore the options. Or, explore myViewBoard Whiteboard to experience the digital whiteboarding advantage firsthand.

In today’s classrooms, having a robust digital whiteboarding solution is essential. Unlike the past, where whiteboards were primarily for writing, today’s software has transformed them into dynamic canvases for creativity and collaboration. Educators now have a wealth of options for online and native digital whiteboarding solutions, each with its pros and cons. So, the decision should not be underestimated.

With this in mind, let’s delve into these options and uncover the unique benefits of the two main types of digital whiteboarding solutions.

What Are the Digital Whiteboarding Options?

If you’re here, then you probably already know what a digital whiteboard is, but if you need a quick refresher, you can dive deep into the details here. In short, digital whiteboards, also known as virtual or online whiteboards, enhance the functions of physical whiteboards on devices like computers, smartphones, or tablets—preferably those with touchscreens for interactive use—by incorporating multimedia, interactive modules, and more.

Online digital whiteboarding solutions offer flexible accessibility through any browser on various devices. This format is particularly popular for workspaces, with online whiteboarding software like Google Jamboard offering templates, annotation tools, and image search functions to create a digital space where collaboration can flourish. On the other hand, native digital whiteboarding apps, either downloadable or pre-installed, integrate with hardware for an optimized experience.

What is a Digital Whiteboard

Choosing Between Online and Native Digital Whiteboarding Apps

In this guide, we’ll delve into the differences between online and native digital whiteboarding apps, helping you decide whether the flexibility of online apps or the optimized performance of native solutions suits your needs best. At the end of the day, your choice will depend on the specific requirements of your educational environment.

Accessibility and Platform Compatibility

Online whiteboarding apps have surged in popularity due to their user-friendly interfaces and accessibility, providing a seamless collaborative experience free from location constraints. This accessibility empowers the smooth running of remote lessons, as teachers can effortlessly import their existing teaching resources—be it editable PowerPoint and Google Slide presentations, or PDFs—into online whiteboard sessions. Imagine conducting lively remote lessons, adding real-time annotations, and then, once the class wraps up, exporting and sharing those annotated files for students to delve into for study. Online whiteboarding apps make this possible, delivering seamless learning experiences beyond the confines of a traditional classroom.

In contrast, native whiteboarding apps stand out through platform-specific integration and optimized performance. Tailored to work seamlessly on installed devices, they prioritize efficiency. While their accessibility may be confined to specific operating systems, such as iOS or Windows, native apps leverage unique features for a more intuitive user experience within a particular ecosystem.
Essentially, the choice between online and native whiteboarding apps comes down to preference: universal accessibility or platform-specific seamlessness. Online apps cater to a broader audience, fostering collaboration in flexible settings, while native apps excel in delivering a tailored and optimized experience on specific platforms.

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Collaboration Possibilities

Online whiteboarding apps and native whiteboarding apps both excel in fostering collaboration. Imagine students engaged in a science project through an online whiteboarding app. They can screen share their whiteboarding sessions for an initial group brainstorm. Then, they can divide tasks among themselves and work individually to develop their ideas with annotations and diagrams. Finally, they can combine their contributions into a single consolidated file for class presentation.

However, these options differ in accessibility and usability. Online whiteboarding apps are designed to function on various devices, whereas native whiteboarding apps optimize performance based on the hardware of the device they’re installed on. This means that the capabilities of the running device can limit the performance of the native digital whiteboarding app, which can be a disadvantage if the user’s hardware is outdated, or the internet connection is unreliable. When dealing with outdated hardware, juggling tasks such as streaming an online meeting, screen sharing, and running the whiteboarding app all at once can really strain the device’s limited performance, resulting in a slower experience. In such a scenario, opting for an online whiteboarding app can offer a smoother remote collaboration experience, as these apps are generally less resource-intensive, meaning they typically demand less processing power.

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Performance and Responsiveness

When assessing digital whiteboarding apps, consider factors like smooth functionality, potential delays, and their ability to handle complex content. These elements significantly impact the user experience for you, your students, or your colleagues. After all, a digital whiteboard that is a headache to function is far more troublesome than using a conventional whiteboard.
With web-based online whiteboarding apps, their performance is impacted largely by the stability of your internet connection, the performance of the server hosting the app, and your choice of browser. This means that if your internet connection is unreliable, or if you often work from different locations, then online whiteboarding apps like Google Jamboard can’t guarantee smooth operation all of the time.

On the other hand, native whiteboarding apps—often preinstalled on devices, such as myViewBoard Whiteboard on ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive whiteboards—excel in environments with limited internet connectivity, making them ideal for in-person collaboration. These native apps leverage the processing power of their running devices to optimize performance. Additionally, pre-installed native whiteboarding apps typically feature user-friendly interfaces tailored to specific hardware, smoothing the learning curve. They can also offer device-exclusive features to enhance the user experience. myViewBoard Whiteboard demonstrates this with Participate Mode for ViewBoards, which divides the digital whiteboard into smaller screens so that students can whiteboard in their own space at the same time, elevating student participation in class materials.

Online Whiteboarding vs. Whiteboarding Apps: Which is Best?

Before deciding between an online or native digital whiteboarding app, it’s crucial to assess your situation. Consider whether you work or teach in-person, remotely, or in a hybrid environment. Evaluate the availability and reliability of internet connectivity, the types of devices used by students, and the specific features you need. Additionally, understand the classroom’s specific needs and goals.

Native Whiteboarding App vs Online Whiteboarding App

In-person Lessons

In traditional classrooms, native digital whiteboarding apps are practical due to their optimized performance and seamless integration with device hardware. These apps enhance in-person lessons with dynamic and interactive features like stylus and multi-touch input and gestures, making them ideal for engaging students during face-to-face lessons. Conversely, online whiteboarding apps like Google Jamboard can be challenging to use in schools or individual classrooms with limited internet connectivity.

Remote Lessons

For remote teaching, while native digital whiteboarding apps can work, they might run into hiccups if your computer is outdated. That’s where online digital whiteboarding apps come to the rescue! These online apps ease some of the load off your computer, allowing for smooth online lessons with live screen sharing and recording of your whiteboarding sessions. Then, you can effortlessly share those recorded lessons and whiteboard files directly with your students. This makes quality education more accessible without the hassle and costs of being physically present. Plus, it gives your students the flexibility they need in their schedules.

Hybrid Learning

In hybrid learning environments, both online and native digital whiteboarding apps play practical roles. Educators can benefit from using online whiteboarding apps for collaborative work that spans different locations and devices. On the other hand, native apps, with offline usability and optimized performance, prove handy during in-person sessions, ensuring a smooth transition between digital and physical learning. Educators in hybrid settings can strike a balance by integrating both types of apps based on the specific requirements and preferences of their school, peers, and students.

Final Thoughts

Digital whiteboarding apps transform collaboration and learning with advanced tools for dynamic, interactive education. Whether for group projects, creative expression, or immersive learning, they are essential in modern education. Choosing between online and native apps involves practical considerations: Online apps excel in accessibility for remote or hybrid learning, while native apps prioritize hardware optimization for reliable in-person lessons. Fortunately, myViewBoard Whiteboard simplifies the choice, offering the best of both online and app-based options, ensuring you’re equipped for every teaching scenario.

Whether you’re new to digital whiteboarding or looking to switch to one that combines the best of online and app-based whiteboarding, explore the features of myViewBoard Whiteboard here.

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