I am so flippin’ excited to share this post with you all!  Please welcome Angela Culley, an online math tutor.  Today she shares with us her favorite online tool, Twiddla!  YES!!!  Don’t be bashful – Please leave your questions or compliments in the comments.  Angela is super talented and here to help.  -Adrianne

As a math teacher and tutor, I have been looking for a website that allows students, teachers, and tutors to collaborate on homework, projects, and questions.  There are plenty of products out there, but I have only found one, Twiddla, that meets the majority of my needs. Twiddla is found at www.Twiddla.com.

First off, it’s FREE!

 
First and foremost, I want to be able to collaborate with students and colleagues for free.  As educators, we spend our own money on many resources, but I want to avoid adding a monthly fee, for a collaborative website,to the list.  Luckily, Twiddla offers a web-based software that is free to use.  The free access is perfect for any meeting that doesn’t require privacy or the ability to login again later to review saved meetings.  Even better, if you create a 30-day trial account, you can contact info@twiddla.com from a teacher email account (.edu) and request that yourfree trial account be converted into a free pro version account! 
 
 

 

MATH SYMBOLS

 It can be difficult to discuss mathematics without the necessary symbols.  This fact alone has held up my search until now.  Although many sites offer the interactive whiteboard, you will quickly find that the markers are meant to be a quick tool to focus attention, it is not extremely easy to write and read math expressions and equations.  Luckily, Twiddla has a great set of math symbols that can be embedded into your whiteboard space.
 
 

EASE OF USE

When inviting a colleague or student to collaborate, I want them to join the conversation without the hassle of creating an account or downloading software.  As long as you have a computer (pc or mac), browser and an Internet connection you can use Twiddla!   There is no software to download which is extremely helpful. All the host needs to do is select Go (Start a New Meeting) and you have a meeting started.  You are immediatelyprovided a URL to share with others. As others join, their username shows up on the right.
In addition to the stress-free invite process, each tool is easy to use, with very little explanation.  The site is basically set up so that you can explore each tool without the worry of ruining anything.  Did you make a mistake?  Use the erase tool or start a new sheet!

VARIETY OF BACKGROUNDS

The user can upload a homework document to review and mark up, a picture of graph paper to graph an equation, a website for demonstration purposes,a text pad that allows all participants to type simultaneously, and a video to share. The possibilities are endless!

AUDIO AND TEXTING

 Finally, you have options on how to communicate with others.  Texting and audio are both available. 

VIDEO CHAT AND GRAPHING SOFTWARE

 With all of the positives, come only two negatives.  I would like to see video chat added to Twiddla.  It is always helpful to see facial expressions when working with others because the same words can be interpreted differently based on a person’s expression.  Also, I would love to see an embedded graphing calculator.  The best I can currently do is use a graphing website through Twiddla or take and upload pictures from TI-SmartView software.
 
All in all, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Twiddla is a self-described “web-based media playground,” and I have to say that I agree!  With free access, you get a bountiful list of useful tools to try out for yourself.  What have you got to lose?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
 

About the Author:

Angela Culley
Owner and Tutor at Math Ninja
As the founder of Math Ninja, Angela provides online and in person math tutoring for all ages including those studying for the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, PPST, and other math specific subject assessments. Prior to launching her business, Angela coached K-12 educators on effective teaching strategies, curriculum writing, and assessment development. As a classroom teacher, she taught math to students ranging from grade 5 – 12. She has also taught both undergraduate and graduate math courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia and Mountain State University.
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