Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2019

MURAL

Multifaceted interactive whiteboard promotes collaboration

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
K–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Students can work together on projects in an effective, visual way, in class or remotely.

Cons: Project boards can get overcrowded; students require access to a device, which they may not have at home.

Bottom Line: MURAL facilitates lesson presentation and group project collaboration from anywhere by making idea sharing a simple, visual process.

Teachers can use MURAL as a dynamic way to present material, encourage class participation and interaction, and get students making their own murals for brainstorming, solo or group project organization, and presentation. MURAL is really flexible, and you can make your own templates for things you do often. It can also be integrated into Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Calendar, and other programs.

Since MURAL for Education provides a free starter account for teachers and students in the public school system, it's an easy option for delivering lessons, promoting collaboration, and assigning visually oriented activities (it's also ideal for distance education or a flipped classroom). Use MURAL to present information to your students, and then later have them collaborate on their own murals. Use it as your digital workspace for organizing lessons behind the scenes, and then share murals with your class when ready. Students can use MURAL in class or on their own time, from any device. Students can also build private murals for their own school projects, or create open ones to be critiqued by their teachers and peers.

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MURAL is a virtual collaborative whiteboard that's useful to teachers and students as either a reference tool or an interactive workspace, with everything stored securely in the cloud. All users have space for both private and open "rooms" in which to create murals; private rooms contain murals accessible only to the user, while open rooms include murals that others are collaborating on.

When creating a new mural, students choose from one of many stock templates, one of their own created templates, or a blank slate. They can then start adding and modifying content including text and links on stickies, shapes and connectors, icons, frameworks, images, and writing/drawing. Students can customize element sizes, colors, and more. Elements can be commented upon, and the interface includes an activity timeline, chat window, and comments window. Students can also turn mural elements into outline items simply by right-clicking and choosing the option; then, left-clicking in the outline zooms in on that part of the mural. Students can access all their murals and rooms from the dashboard. Murals can be saved as new templates, exported or downloaded, or set as favorites. Notifications can be customized for user needs.

For those new to MURAL and those needing inspiration, some of the templates and a series of included guides provide  ideas for use, including some that are geared toward learning and teaching.

MURAL's structure can be used to facilitate classroom or small group projects. Teachers can create rooms, which essentially function like folders, to house murals. They can invite students to a room and give them access to all murals in it to collaborate on projects. Two or more students can access boards and collaborate in real time, and teachers can monitor content and manage access to rooms to keep them as a secure space. Students can also create murals in their own private room when working on individual projects.

Students who tend to think in a very linear way may find the design frustrating; similarly, boards with many users can get crowded, fast. However, this can be seen as an opportunity to exercise different ways of thinking and organizing ideas, expressing everything in a visual environment (with the option of including text as needed). The site provides an effective method for sharing ideas and can be especially helpful to contemplative or shy students who are reluctant to speak up in class. Designed to accommodate multiple users, MURAL can give students a chance to contribute and build off of other students' posts in their own way, and to design their own murals and get feedback.

Overall Rating

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

It's fun and easy to use; students exercise creative control, bringing a visual element to research or projects. Shy students, those working remotely, and other team members can easily collaborate with each other.

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

An open-ended platform upon which to implement lessons or complete assignments. Students can interact with lessons, collaborate with peers, and develop innovative visual resources of their own.

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

Help is built into each feature, plus there are templates and guides to help students and teachers think of ways to use MURAL. New and archived webinars on the website, along with helpful articles, also support its use.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Chad S. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Perris High School
Perris, United States
It's like an interactive corkboard that can be used as a presentation, much like Prezi with less motion sickness!
Mural.ly allows users to save text, images and video on a zooming Prezi-style board, but is much more akin to a literal interpretation of Pinterest’s pinboard. My students are able to create something like a flowchart to display what they have learned. Videos, graphics, and websites can be included in an exciting visual display. Students set up an account and can invite other students to collaborate on the same project. Teachers can set up a mural.ly and invite select groups of students to work on it ...
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