I am so excited to share the benefits of Scribblar with you! If you remember, I shared the benefits of Twiddla with you in a post a few months ago and one of my biggest concerns was that my clients and I couldn’t see each other. The second concern I had was that graphing software was not provided. Well, guess what! Scribblar has video included and graphing capabilities! Once I found this out, I immediately started making the transition to online tutoring with Scribblar and decided I needed to tell you all about it.
Video, Audio, & Texting
Having video, audio, and texting included while tutoring is so helpful! The video and audio components allows me to read a student’s expressions and comments just as I would in person! The texting feature is also useful. Texting has proved to be a great way for us to share links, write notes, and type questions. Now I have access to all three in one piece of online software, Scribblar.
If you have ever done online tutoring without video, you understand how valuable seeing and hearing your client can be! I didn't know how much I depended on reading my clients' expressions until I wasn't able to see them. Now that I can see my clients, I am able to read their faces for signs of confusion or the aha moment.
Okay, so let’s get down to business. As you know, I tutor and blog over at Math Ninja, so you won’t be surprised that I am excited to share two great math tools available with Scribblar’s paid plans. Scribblar has embedded an equation editor, LaTeX, and an equation solver, WolframAlfa into their tutoring software!
If you tutor math, you will quickly find that a whiteboard feature for online tutoring is not enough. You will want to use technical math language that is difficult to write with a mouse. This is why I am so excited about the LaTeX equation editor. With an equation editor you can type in math problems and they will look mathematically correct!
In addition to being able to use math symbols with LaTeX, I am now able to create graphs by typing in an equation! As a math teacher, I know the importance of connecting equations, tables, and graphs when teaching algebra concepts and now the graphing component is so much easier with WolframAlfa. In the picture above, I typed the equation y = 2x+3 into WolframAlfa and it graphed the equation!
There is only one thing missing from the LaTeX equation editing tool. It really needs a list or set of buttons to help with inputing the math symbols onto your whiteboard. In order to use this editor, you either need to know the coding language used, or you can do what I do. I have been using CodeCogs to generate math sybols as I need it. Once I have added it, it becomes a part of a running list of previously used math expressions and equations within Scribblar's LaTeX editor.
Free vs. Paid Access
I know, don’t tune me out as soon as you hear “paid.” Like you, I am always searching for the free option, but this is definitely one of those times when a paid plan is totally worth it. You get video with the free plan, but you don't get access to the great math tools, LaTeX and WolframAlpha.
Another couple of great tools are the persistent room contents and the improved freehand tool. Persistent room contents allows you to leave a room and come back to it later. This feature means that the files and whiteboard notes are still available after you leave a room and return! This benefit allows you to pull together notes, diagrams, etc. before meeting with a client online. The improved freehand tool makes your writing look so much more natural.
Their basic paid plan is currently only $9 a month and if you do any online tutoring it is totally worth it. Think about it. If you tutor 9 times in a month it is only $1 per session. The more you tutor online the less per session it costs! Scribblar even has a discount for paying annually.
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 Scribblar. In addition, the environment is easy to navigate. After playing around with it for only a few minutes, I was able to find everything I needed.
All in all, I am extremely happy with Scribblar as my new online tutoring tool. I am so happy with it, in fact, I have embedded it into my website. Maybe I'll tell you all about embedding Scribblar in a future post!