Open-Sankore is free Open Source interactive whiteboard software that is compatible with all types of IWB. It’s based on what was previously called Uniboard software.
The basic tools that you would expect are here. You can write with a pen (still 4 colours only) and a highlighter. There’s a rubber/eraser tool, lines and text. They’ve fixed the issues with not being able to move handwritten items around, which is good. All items get a large selection box which is easy to grab and move them around.
The sidebar also gives access to a gallery of resources, including shapes, clip art and different Flash apps such as timers, protractors and rulers. All the names are in French, even thought the rest of the software is in English. Maybe in the future you’ll be able to choose the Languages used.
You can now group items – although the option wasn’t where I was expecting it to be. Select the items you want to group, then the group option is at the top of the screen on the main toolbar. I was expecting it to be on a right click menu or on the menu for the selected items (where you get the Lock option). But it’s good that you can now group items together – such as text with speech bubbles for instance.
You can choose from 4 different backgrounds – one plain, one dark and then a dark and light grid. You can choose different pen colour combinations to use on each background.
In terms of dealing with files – Open Sankore will let you export as it’s own ubz file type. I’m not sure anything else will open that. You can also export as pdf. The .iwb file import still isn’t working – the two files I tried did not import very successfully.
Open Sankore is certainly becoming much more of a viable option for schools that don’t want to be tied to a particular companies IWB software such as Smart Notebook or ActivInspire. Schools with cheaper brands of board, or interactive projectors would definitely benefit from taking a look at Open Sankore – it might be more useful than some of the software that comes bundled with those boards.
There is a portal for ready-made resources: http://planete.sankore.org again it’s all in French for now and I couldn’t see an English language version just yet. Hopefully in the future.
Open Sankore v2 is totally free, and you can download it here http://open-sankore.org/en/download