Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2014
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SyncSpace Shared Whiteboard

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Limited collaborative whiteboard; more features, flexibility in iOS version

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (3 Reviews)

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Pros: Zooming function is unique, and syncing device to computer works well.

Cons: iOS devices can't sync to Android devices, and vice versa; no voice or recording functions.

Bottom Line: Collaborative whiteboard allows kids to work in pairs or small groups. iOS version has more features; Android version allows more free whiteboards.

Without sound or recording functions, SyncSpace is not the best option for flipped learning. It is useful for pairs or small group projects, however. Teachers could also use whiteboards to work one-on-one with students in remote tutoring sessions, and students could plan projects or study together remotely. The iOS version, with its ability to add maps, images, and websites, is much more versatile, however, so teachers can use it more easily for specific projects or content.

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SyncSpace Shared Whiteboard is the Android version of the iOS collaborative whiteboard, SyncSpace Free: Collaborative Zoomable Canvas. Teachers or students can create whiteboards, add text or drawings, and then share the whiteboard by email or sync the documents to share with other tablets or computers. The sync link can be emailed to collaborators, and a password can be added for security. The iOS version, however, includes several features not offered on the Android version, starting with a tutorial screen that explains each control, and the option to enable palm rejection for the right hand or left hand. The iOS version also allows users to add websites, images, or maps, and it can easily find drawings on other iOS devices using the same Wi-Fi connection, making collaboration much easier. With both versions, collaborators can add text or drawings to documents in real time (or with a slight connection delay) on a compatible tablet or over the Internet.

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While the iOS version offers more features, it allows only three free whiteboards; it costs $9.99 to add more. The Android version includes unlimited free whiteboards. The unlimited zoom, which allows users to add images, websites, or maps -- and is most helpful on the iOS version -- seems to be the defining feature.

Unlike other collaborative whiteboards, SyncSpace provides no way to record a session, nor is it possible to add voice -- or even to talk or text while collaborating. Syncing with others is remarkably easy -- by simply emailing or texting a Web link to the board. Only the iOS version allows users to connect via a Wi-Fi search, but users on different devices can connect over the Internet, accessing the whiteboard through the Web link rather than through the device. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

With no options to add voice or talking, communication is limited to writing on the whiteboard, which limits engagement and options for using the tool. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

SyncSpace lets kids learn cooperatively by working together on a shared whiteboard. Students are empowered to add their own ideas and see others' ideas, encouraging brainstorming.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Besides a sample whiteboard showing the controls (in the iOS version only), there's no help or tutorials available. Whiteboards are automatically saved in the gallery, but the free iOS version limits saved boards to three.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Ann L. , Special education instructor
Special education instructor
Van Wyck Junior High School
Wappingers Falls, NY
Helps mobilize the teacher, and works from desks.

Having used other apps, this one does not stand out as having any qualities that make it better than the rest. It does what it says it can do. The kids might enjoy the interaction, but they would no matter what app or device you use.

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