August 29, 2010

Sneffel – Helping Online Educators

Sneffel is a web-application aimed at online educators and the students they teach. By using a virtual drawing pad in the same way as a chalkboard, distance-learning teachers can draw out their ideas and lessons and watch as their students respond in real-time. What makes Sneffel even better than a traditional chalkboard or whiteboard, however, is that these virtual drawing pads can be saved and “replayed” as an animation, giving students as many chances as they need to review the lesson they’ve just been taught and really learn the material at hand.

If you can write on a basic whiteboard, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to use Sneffel just fine. Start with a blank drawing pad, and type in any text you’d like to appear on the board. Once this text has been posted, you can move it around or delete it at any time. For ideas and theories that can’t be described through words alone, grab the pencil and start drawing. If you make a mistake, there’s no need to worry. Sneffel offers an eraser that can be resized depending on how much of an error you made. Of course, Sneffel is a collaborative tool, which means students can jump in and start participating at any time, as well. Each collaborator’s work will show up in a different color, and you can invite even more people to participate by sharing the provided URL on the bottom left corner of the page.

When class is over, Sneffel lets you give your students something to take home and study. Just click the “replay” button to view a full animation of everything that happened on the board during the lesson, then distribute that animation URL to students to view as many times as they need while doing homework and cementing the lessons in their mind. For distance learning educators, students, and anyone else who uses a whiteboard regularly for work or play, Sneffel is an easy-to-use application that is worth checking out.

Practical Uses:

  • Teach a distance learning class
  • Explain complex equations to students who aren’t in the classroom
  • Create a group presentation for class or work
  • Give students a video of the day’s lesson that they can watch from home

Insider Tips:

  • Buy SneffelCredits to access upgraded features such as moderated boards and exporting abilities
  • Distribute the animation URL to allow people to watch the day’s lesson without actually participating
  • Change the color of your whiteboard marker at any time
  • Embed the virtual whiteboard into your own blog or website

What we liked:

  • Students can draw on the board just like they would with a traditional whiteboard
  • Eraser tool makes it easy to change or update information quickly
  • Easy to invite others to participate by emailing out the provided links
  • Users can embed the whiteboard onto their own student website

What we didn’t like:

  • Users are limited on the number of times they can replay an animation without purchasing additional Sneffel credits


Company Info:

  • Launched: July 2010 (Beta)
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: London, England
  • Founded by: Matthew Eric Bassett
  • Web site:


  • Free (in beta)
  • $15 for 100 SneffelCredits, which can be used to reactivate boards, export images, and become a whiteboard moderator


  1. Just a comment – Sneffel doesn’t have any limits on whiteboard use anymore, its entirely free to use. Also, you can create a custom subdomain with your own logo [for a fee]. see or for an example!

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