AWW App: A SMART Board Alternative

Another gem from a recent training session I attended is the AWW app, which you can use to turn your regular classroom computer, projector, screen, and WiFi into a more interactive platform for free. The “AWW” stands for “a web whiteboard,” and that is exactly what this is. There is no sign-in or registration required, so getting started is as easy as going to the website and clicking “Start drawing.” It really could not be any simpler, and the uses are endless.

Options

Once on the site, you have some color choices, a pencil, eraser, and the option to just type if, like me, you find your handwriting to be somewhat illegible, but the main benefits of this site come from the “menu” options. From this menu, you click “clear” to get a clean slate and start over, “post” to share the image on a social media site, or “save” to download the contents of the whiteboard as a .png image file—which is handy if a student is absent or you want your students to review the material outside of class. Finally, there is “invite,” which is the absolute best part about the AWW app.

Collaboration and Sharing

Click “invite” to get a link for others to join your whiteboard. This is excellent for teachers who get started up at the front of the classroom, but then want to continue updating the whiteboard from another device, such as a tablet, while walking through the classroom. Additionally, students can join as individuals or teams so multiple users can work on the same whiteboard. You can use this with students if they have access to computers in a lab or other devices with Internet access. I teach at a university and all of my students are adults with smartphones, so they just use their own devices. Click “invite” again to stop sharing. You can use this just as you would a traditional whiteboard with the added benefit of being able to design your own interactive collaborative activities to better engage students with content.

Besides accessing the website, it appears you can download an app for Android devices. While I have not yet located it in the iTunes store, you can still use the AWW app via a web browser. Try it out in class today! The AWW app is so simple, that there is not much of a learning curve for teachers or students and, while it obviously does not have all of the features of a SMART Board, you can’t beat the price.

Let us know what you think or share any similar apps you use by leaving a comment below.

About Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen recently completed her Master’s degree in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California. She currently teaches in the Intensive English Program at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has taught ESOL in China, Japan, and Cambodia as well as online. Her primary interests are communicative teaching methods and the use of technology in education.

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2 Responses to AWW App: A SMART Board Alternative

  1. Rosemary Schmid says:

    I just visited the AWWapp.com website, and I was not able to type, only draw – choosing line thickness and color. Maybe the typing function is coming?
    Sure is a great idea, and the ability to use it in a class full of adults with smart phones would be great. Thanks for the find.

    • Tara Arntsen Tara Arntsen says:

      Thank you for the comment, Rosemary! On the site, if you go to ‘pencil’ and then ‘text’, you should be able to type which is great for people who have terrible handwriting like me. Come back to leave another comment once you’ve tried it out with students. It would really be great to hear how it worked for you in class.