At it’s core, Ormiboard is a collaborative and interactive whiteboarding app that allows teachers to share and collaborate with students. As I mentioned above, you can get a free account to test out the service and see if you like it, or if you'd like to pay $20 for unlimited board creation, you can do so here.
When you sign in, you can hit the big red + button at the top right to create your board (aka your presentation). From there, you’ll be taken to their delightfully simple editor, where you can move and use the toolbar to add in whatever you would like to.
To start building, click the Edit button and from there you can add in text, drawings, images, clip art, or use the eraser to get rid of anything you don’t want.
You could also start a session at any time (as shown in the video above) so that your students could be connected and watch from their devices as you add in content. This is also where you will be able to upload PDFs, PowerPoints, and images to use in your presentation.
And for those of you who have already created presentations in interactive whiteboard format, you can actually import those from the My Boards tab and then modify them for use within Ormiboard. They'll even retain most if not all of their functionality.
If you’ve ever used a SMARTboard or something similar, you’ve probably been frustrated by the navigation system (at least I have been, and so, so many times). What I really love about Ormiboard is it’s ease of navigation through the tools. Just tap on the tool you want to use, or tap the center circle to go back a level. Or you can just tap outside of the toolbar to go back to the home menu.
On the clipart side, you probably noticed that a wheel popped up with lots of options. Those can be customized (as can the categories) so that you can have all the different types you want, and only the types you want as well. That way you’re not having to dig through mountains of clipart to find the images that you use on a regular basis. And you could categorize them by subject area, or unit, or anything you want to. The Ormiboard team has also added in a search feature here so that you can easily find exactly the image you're looking for.
When you’re presenting to your students, you also have the ability to see everything that’s happening on the student screens, and pick a screen (or up to 4) to share with the class. This is an awesome feature for pulling up student examples, and I love that you can share multiple examples at the same time, so you can compare what students are working on.
You can also collaborate with your students by editing their presentations or adding notes and then sending it back out to them. This allows you to provide individual feedback on each student's board as they're creating and working.
When you're building a board, you also have the option of adding in multiple slides to your presentation by clicking the + button at the bottom left corner of the app. Once you click that, you'll be able to start a new slide from scratch or use one of their prebuilt templates to make things a little easier. If you're planning on adding in any kind of media to your slide, they've got templates prepared for that option as well.
And in case you want to see an example of that matching activity in action, check out the third slide of their excellent Mission to Mars example (this presentation will also give you an idea of some other really exciting things that are possible with Ormiboard).
On top of that, everything the students do during your session is automatically saved in the cloud, so that you can look through it later if need be.
So, imagine you’ve got some PowerPoint slides that you want to spice up. You add in some discussion questions, some prompts, some collaborative possibilities, and you upload them into Ormiboard.
From there, you can send them out to the students, they can interact with those slides on their devices by adding text, drawings, images, whatever you want them to add in. Then, you can pull up those student examples on the main screen to show with the class.
Let’s say you wanted to do a science experiment. You create slides for each step of the experiment, and you’re asking your students to use Ormiboard to add in pictures, procedure notes, results, and all that good stuff. Then, not only will you have a record of their work as they went through the experiment, but you can also pull up each group’s progress and final results to share and discuss throughout the class. Pretty awesome.
After each session, the session material (any lessons, activities, etc. shared by the teacher) are saved with the session, along with other student inputs. All of this material is archived so that teachers and students can access it later, which is great for any students who might have missed the day, or who want to go back and review later.
Overall, I’m a big fan of Ormiboard. The software does everything you wish a SMARTboard would do, only it does it better, with a simpler interface, and the ability to collaborate across devices. The fact that the system saves everything your students do is awesome, and the ability to show multiple screens is great for in-class collaboration. On top of that, Ormiboard has complete integrations across Google Classroom, Evernote, and Dropbox.
I think $20 a year per teacher is more than a fair price, especially if you look at what similar software/hardware like this costs. Plus, you don’t even need an interactive board (so you can save thousands of dollars there). You could run Ormiboard from your desktop, ipad, or tablet, and as long as you can project it, that’s all you need.
So, if you’re in a 1:1 environment, and you’re looking for a great way to make your content more engaging, interactive, and collaborative, I absolutely recommend checking out Ormiboard. You can even start out with the free plan which will allow you create up to 10 boards and see if the service is a good fit for your needs!
The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I was not compensated for writing this review.