Table of Contents
Skrble was developed by the privately owned company Ruveka. Ruveka, which is located in Irving, Texas, focuses on developing new Web 2.0 technologies.
Akama.com says about Ruveka, " The Web 2.0 revolution offers an unmatched opportunity to deliver great online functionality. At Rukeva, we live the 2.0 philosophy - rethink, retool, rebuild to create elegant products with compelling real-world functionality. our first launch is skrbl. It's an easy, multi-user, web-based whiteboard with rich text editing."
1303 W. Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, Texas 75038-30303
Purpose of Skrbl
Skrbl is an easy-share online whiteboard application that allows the user to:
- · Draw
- · Type
- · Upload Pictures
- · Share Files
- · Express one’s imagination and creativity
Skrbl can be used personally, as a public sharing space, or as a meeting whiteboard. It is free of charge, and there is no downloading or installation required. It is used by 445,000 people and they have created 141,000 Skrbl boards. There is however, a limit on how many photos a person is able to upload. There is a max of 2mb per file and 10mb of storage.
How Skrbl Works
If a user wants, he or she can register for Skrbl. Registering allows for the user to share files with others. Others can see what the user has created on the whiteboard. This tool allows for collaboration. Once a user creates an account, he or she can set the whiteboard to private or public. A private Skrbl whiteboard allows users to have a place to keep notes, files or pictures that one wants to store online but not share. Several other viewing options can be created by the user. They can make their whiteboard password protected or make it visible to anyone on the internet. If they would like for others to see what they have developed, they can send others an e-mail, inviting them to their whiteboard. Those invited do not have to have register to use Skrbl. One of the newest editions to Skrbl is the team application. This edition is built around an enhanced whiteboard and has new features to extend team collaboration. This works just like the normal Skrbl but users can browse the internet together and also have video conferences. It is only open to the team members that are part of a specific group. This provides teams with a virtual meeting place where they can express group ideas or goals. However, the Skrbl team edition costs about $10 a month.
Skrbl in Relation to Other Applications
You can embed some of the applications onto your own website. This allows users to keep everything in one place but also incorporate other applications.
With Skrbl, you can save your whiteboard as a PDF or HTML to upload or link it in other applications. You can also upload files and pictures. You can even invite people to join the whiteboard thorough email.
Unique Ways to Use Skrbl
There are also a variety of different applications that are available on Skrbl that will help teams stay organized and keep in touch.
1) The Skrbl white board application. This works just like a real whiteboard and is a great way to brainstorm. Say, for instance, that a group of people from a company are working on a project. However, they cannot be in the same room together. The whiteboard application allows one person to write down and edit ideas, while other members look at and contribute their ideas as well.
2) The Meeting Notes application. Within this application, a group and/or person can record observations, list items that need to be done, and assign specific tasks for people in their group. Everyone can take their own notes and at the same time, since everybody is watching, make corrections. This helps saves time and allows for fewer complications at the end.
3) The clipboard application. With this particular application on Skrbl, one can write down telephone numbers, reminders, or other things to pencil into an agenda. You can even mark it as "private"; that way nobody else will be able to access the information.
4) The graffiti application. This fun application allows a person to use their imagination and create anything they want. Also, if you love what you have created and want to share it with the world, you can embed it into your individual web page at absolutely no cost.
Skrbl & Education: Lesson Plans
Learning About Planets
After students learn how to use Skrbl computer application and the different characteristics of each planet they will be able to draw 6 planets so that they are distinguishable from the rest of the planets in shape, size, rings, and color.
2.1.6 Use tools to investigate, observe, measure, design, and build things.
A brief description of the planets or a photograph from a science book, Computer Access, Skrbl Application
Using Skrbl have students "draw" the nine planets using the shapes on the tool panel. Students should try to adjust the sizes of each planet in relation to the others (i.e. Pluto should be the smallest). The students should then go back and add the special characteristics unique to each planet. For example, Mars should be red and have two moons above it. Mercury should have smaller circles on it to represent its craters. Each planet can then be labeled.
The students will complete a project and be able to draw the planets close enough to what the actual planet looks like so that the planets attributes are distinguishable. Students will also show good communication with others when discussing others work on the Skrbl program.
Developed From: Ann Marie's Using Computers to Learn About the Planets
Example 1: Impressionism
- Understand important facts about Impressionism, including artistic styles and techniques.
- Describe the style and technique of one Impressionist painting.
- Compare and contrast the works of different Impressionists.
- Compare and contrast the styles of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.
- Discovering the Arts: Impressionism and Beyond video
- Computer with Internet access
- Color printer
- After watching the video, remind students that Impressionism was an artistic movement that begin in Paris in the 1860s. Ask students to think about the paintings featured in the video and describe the typical style of these works. What did students notice about the palette and the brushstrokes? How was light important to the Impressionists? Would students describe these works as realistic? Why or why not?
- Talk about the subject matter. Were the paintings typically illustrating aristocracy? What was the typical setting of these paintings, inside or outdoors? How were these paintings like photographs? How were they like still images within a movie?
- Remind the class that although there were basic similarities among the Impressionists, there were also important differences. Tell the class that they're going to create a classroom Impressionist exhibition to compare and contrast some of the major artists of the movement. Divide the class into small groups and explain that each group is going to create a mini-exhibit about one Impressionist. Assign or let each group choose one of the following artists:
- Mary Cassatt
- Edgar Degas
- Edouard Manet
- Claude Monet
- Berthe Morisot
- Camille Pissarro
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- Alfred Sisley
- Have groups work together to explore the works of their assigned artist. Within each group, have each student select and make a color printout of one painting considered a good representation of Impressionism. Many works for each painter are at the following sites:
- Have each student create a label for a selected work, including the artist name, title, date, and a description, which should address the following:
- Describe the subject: What does the artist show in this picture? What details or symbols give clues to its meaning? Where is the scene supposed to take place?
- Describe the technique: How would you describe the artist's use of color and light? How would you describe the brushstroke?
- Why would this be considered an Impressionist work?
- How is it different from the work of other Impressionists? What makes this work unique to this particular artist?
- Have groups post their images and descriptions together in a designated spot around the room. Give students an opportunity to walk around the classroom, viewing and reading about works by other Impressionists. Then come together and have a class discussion comparing and contrasting these artists. How are they alike? What makes each artist unique?
- To conclude the lesson, show students works by the following artists: Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gaugin, and Georges Seurat. Explain that these artists are often considered Postimpressionists. The following site links to several works from these artists:
- Postimpressionism (see also Georges Seurat under "Pointillism")
- Ask students to examine these works and compare them to those in their Impressionist exhibition. What similarities do they see? How might the Impressionists have inspired them? How are they different? How did the artists break away from the Impressionists? (Many of these artists continued to show real-life subject matter, using bright colors and visible brushstrokes. And like the Impressionists, these artists were not interested in showing a realistic view of the word with fine details. However, the Postimpressionists moved even farther away from realism, often showing subjects in more abstract, geometric forms, sometimes in unnaturally bright or unexpected colors.)
Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
- *3 points: *Students demonstrated a strong understanding of Impressionism, including artistic styles and techniques; developed a clear, thoughtful description of the subject matter and technique of one Impressionist painting, answering all the questions; provided at least one similarity and one difference among the Impressionists; provided at least one similarity and one difference between Impressionists and Postimpressionists.
- *2 points: *Students demonstrated a satisfactory understanding of Impressionism, including artistic styles and techniques; developed a clear, complete description of the subject matter and technique of one Impressionist painting, answering most of the questions; provided at least one similarity or one difference among the Impressionists; provided at least one similarity or one difference between Impressionists and Postimpressionists.
- *1 point: *Students demonstrated a poor understanding of Impressionism, including artistic styles and techniques; developed an incomplete or unclear description of the subject matter and technique of one Impressionist painting, answering few of the questions; had difficulty identifying any similarities or differences among the Impressionists; had difficulty identifying any similarities or differences between Impressionists and Postimpressionists.
Definition: An addictive, intoxicating drink made from wormwood; a cross between hard liquor and heroin
Context: Degas' most famous painting of café life is "Absinthe Drinker," depicting a woman stupefied by a narcotic drink sitting next to an alcoholic.
Definition: Showing something with symbols that represent something about human life
Context: Adolphe Bouguereau quickly sold this 19th-century adaptation of Botticelli's "Birth of Venus." The angels and cupids make the woman allegorical, or noble.
Definition: An artistic movement or style of painting in which brushstrokes of bright colors are used to show the effects of reflected light
Context: Impressionism means painting nature in bright colors, such as painting the light that falls on a pleasant object.
Definition: The appearance of objects in a painting or drawing that shows their distance from the observer
Context: The architectural details and perspective had been minutely worked out before he painted the scene.
Definition: An official art exhibition in Paris sanctioned by a government-approved jury; beginning in the 18th century, the exhibition was public and held in the Louvre.
Context: For the artist who wanted to make a living in France in the 1860s, there was one gallery where his paintings simply had to hang, the Salon in Paris.
National Arts Education Associations
The National Arts Education Associations have developed national guidelines for what students should know and be able to do in the arts. To view the standards online, go toartsedge.kennedycenter.org/teach/standards.cfm.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
- Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
- Using knowledge of structures and functions
- Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
- Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
- Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
Example 2: Hurricanes
Tuakau College’s classroom for collaborative essay writing, and brainstorming and planning activities. Here are three examples:
1. Students were directed to two skrbl boards, each with a general discussion question: ‘What is fate, do we control our own fate?’ and ‘What cultural attitudes to fate do you know of?’ The student responses showed a range of attitudes existed.Alison Cleary uses skrbl boards in thewww.skrbl.com/39392373
2. The class was studyingFive people you meet in Heaven
(Albom, 2003), which suggests a view of heaven based on
five important incidents from the main character’s life.
This was the first time that I had studied this text and I had
anticipated reluctance to discuss ideas such as heaven, faith
and the afterlife. The starting questions were: “What images
or views of heaven have you seen or read about before?” and
“Does the heaven in the book match this view?” Again, they
provided a range of interesting responses.www.skrbl.com/516569853. Much has been made about students using ‘text language’.
I have always had a firm belief that most students know when
it is or is not appropriate to use ‘txt talk’. This task supported
Here four students worked collaboratively, planning and writing
practice essay tasks. They did use ‘txt talk’ when they were
brainstorming but when they were writing the draft introductions
and the essay, there’s not one example of ‘non-standard English’
used. In fact, they chose not to plan a great deal at all! Instead
they decided independently to discuss the topic and then take
turns at writing. Though this was not exactly the task I asked
of them, I accepted and respected their decision, as it still
involved collaborative writing and a very valuable discussion
came out of it.
Educational benefits of Skrbl:
- Students working on group projects can use the program to exchange ideas, data, and other information.
- With Skrbl, students working on a project have ability to communicate at any time and from any number of locations.
- Teachers can use Skrbl as an online after-school help session for their students who may be struggling to complete an assignment or solve a problem.
- Students and teachers can have discussions on certain topics and comment on each others' posts.
- Can be used by teachers to conduct a lesson plan.
Video Demo of Skrbl:
Business & Industry:
Click here to view the Business & Industry Lesson Plan
Examples of Skrbl Being Used for Education
Skrbl Outside the US
In Australia, Skrbl is listed as a recommended technology for teachers in educational resource sites such as Education Queensland and EDNA. EDNA states Skbrl's usefulness as a brainstorming, drafting and note taking tool.
Given the online nature of Skrbl, its possibilities for use outside the US are very similar to how it is used inside the US, if not the same. It allows people to collaborate over distances and enables them to share ideas with people they cannot meet face-to-face with, in a whiteboard like environment.
by Scott Snyder, teacher, Lewisberry, Pennsylvania
A few days ago I blogged about an activity I'd run a couple weeks back and my desire to reduce some of the lectures I've given to increase student involvement and to make the whole affair a bit more meaningful to the kids. We, of course, know that when students DO, they are more likely to retain what they've done. One of my hopes was to make the activity even more asynchronous, active, and collaborative: make the kids less passive, make me even less of a gatekeeper and let the information develop and disseminate as the students located it using the resources available to them.
Immediately after that activity, I started looking for different options that would allow the students to record their findings as they came across them. I wanted something that was "live" and evolving. I wanted something that would allow posting, immediate display, and might encourage the kids to go look up something they had seen posted. I wanted something that would be easy to use for the kids. My CFF coach Laurie V happened by my room that same day, and I asked her for some ideas. We bantered around some initial ideas.
A wikispace was dismissed fairly quickly because of issues my co-workers had with multiple edits happening at the same time. Google Docs came up, but did I really want to take the time to get user names and passwords set up or have the students do so? For some reason I can no longer remember, SubEthaEdit was also ruled out. Free was definitely a concern as well as was the ability of up to 25 students (and perhaps as many as 30 in the future) to access at the same time.
A week passed, and I was coming up on my next novel introduction. It was time to get serious about this new approach I wanted to try. Enter SKRBL. (Get it yet?)
I don't know whether Laurie V mentioned this first (Laurie definitely mentioned something, but I inadvertently deleted that email) or I came across it over at EduWiki.us, but SKRBL definitely fit the bill. SKRBL (still thinking?) is an on-line interactive whiteboard that allows users to do all kinds of free hand and typed scribbling. (Ah, finally got it! Don't worry, it took 30 minutes before it dawned on me.) Free with no limit on simultaneous users, I thought I'd found my solution. As a bonus, boards can be either open to the public or password protected and saved as a static web-page for future reference when an activity is over. This was perfect!
So, last Wednesday night I set off to give it a field test. I created an account (very fast!) and set up both a public and password protected board. I drafted several fellow Twitterers (Thanks Chris C., Elisha, Kirk, and hmm, who else was it?) to give it a run. Up to three of us were on the public board at once, and I got a feel for how the password protected pages worked too. Granted three users was a far cry from 25, so I was just going to have to try it under real world conditions to see what would happen.
Friday morning, 8:00 a.m. was zero hour, and for some stupid reason, I invited some administrators by to see it in action. (What was I thinking? I'd never done this before!) Anyhow, I got laptops in the kids hands, explained the task, discussed the approach, and the kids were off and running. The activity ran pretty smoothly, except some of the kids couldn't initially post to the board. I thought we'd reached the limit of the site's capabilities at about ten users, but note this: Skrbl must be run using either IE 6 or 7 or Firefox 1.5 or 2.0; Safari on a Mac...no go. I projected the board from my laptop, and it was just incredible to watch the kids and the content start popping up on the board. Check out what 19 kids did in about 30 minutes here (a saved, static record of our work).
What would I do differently? The kids got in to playing with different text colors after awhile to make their notes stand out. When, in the middle of the activity, it struck me that I wanted different kinds of information color coded, I was pretty much screwed. In the future, perhaps I'll start have the kids start with black text and have the color coding happen later, or I'll just start with some color-coded categories from the get go. Still have to work on my direction giving for the paper support notes: I thought I made it clear I wanted facts recorded with citations as evidence of individual work. I'm going to have to work on a visual example for this I guess. Otherwise, I'm very pleased with how this activity ran (we'll see about the admin. on Monday), and Skrbl has a major fan in me!