Open-Sankore is free interactive whiteboard software that is compatible with all types of IWB. It’s based on what was previously called Uniboard software. It’s been in beta for a while, and from what I can see this is a recent release, although it still needs some work.
The basic tools that you would expect are here. You can write with a pen (4 colours only) and a pencil. There’s a rubber tool, lines and text. Annoyingly you can’t move anything written with the pens – they seem to be fixed once you’ve drawn them onto the page.
The sidebar gives access to shapes – but you can’t group shapes with text. So a speech bubble with a text box over the top will remain separate objects. You also can’t fix layers either – so if you click on the bubble it will pop over and hide the text.
The sidebar also gives access to different apps such as timers, protractors and rulers. There are folders for clip art and videos, but these seem blank right now.
You can choose from 4 different backgrounds – one plain, one dark and then a dark and light grid. The colours of the pens change automatically when you choose a dark 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. It will apparently open .iwb files but the two I tried did not import very successfully – I only got text and none of the images or annotations.
I’m really hoping that eventually we’ll get a decent open-source alternative to the big two for users of other boards, interactive projectors,and for teachers who want to write platform-independent resources. We’re not there yet with Open Sankore, but maybe in the future it will get there. But for now it’s just too clunky and lacking in features. As an alternative to Smart or Promethean you’re still going to have so buy Easiteach for now.
You can check it out at http://open-sankore.org/ The download page is in French, but the software will work in English once downloaded.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.