A new feature we discretely added into the web app last week was a shiny new button that lets you show more posts. All of them. That’s right: you can now go back in time to the VERY BEGINNING of your Glassboard boards.
When we created Glassboard, we implemented the system such that nothing of yours ever gets deleted, unless you explicitly request it (i.e., if you delete a board, everything in it is deleted permanently). However, we also wanted the app to be fast. We also wanted it to be used as sort of an ongoing means of communication, not really an archiving system. This created a dilemma of not being able to see things posted farther back than 100 messages or so, despite those items still existing.
(Premium Glassboard subscribers can download an entire archive of a board, but this is more of a way to back up a board before you delete it.)
Now there’s a way to see it all! For every board you have, you can hit “Show More” to your heart’s content. This feature is just in the web app for now, but please take it for a spin! Safety guaranteed.
We were first alerted to Glassboard’s utility in the classroom when I had a conversation with Micah Humphrey’s, college professor. He used the app with his Agroecology (soil and crop science) class to take attendance and make announcements, among other things.
Now we’re seeing more educators making it clear that Glassboard is a great tool for teaching. This history blog touts Glassboard as useful for small groups of students to have discussions and study together. This teacher is using Glassboard as a means to gather feedback from students for an assignment.
There are a few reasons, as I see it, that are driving this education-focused adoption of Glassboard:
1. The privacy aspect.
Glassboard in inherently private and always has been. For educators and parents, this is a critical feature for keeping students safe and focused.
2. Glassboard isn’t just another social network, it’s a resource so teams can get things done more effectively.
Can you think of many students who would want to friend their teachers on Facebook? I sure can’t. Since Glassboard is so easy to sign up for, teachers can get their students on to a class board in a matter of minutes and the discussion can continue to take place outside of the other networks that everyone uses for social pursuits.
3. Educators, as chairperson of a board, are empowered as moderators.
Since a chairperson can control who has access to the board, as well as the ability to delete posts made by others, Glassboard is easily moderated by the teacher. Also, once a class or a project is complete they can choose to delete a board and start over fresh with a new crop of students.
4. Technology is infiltrating the classroom!
More and more, students are gaining access to iPads and other technologies to enhance learning. As this approach grows in popularity, so too will apps that enable learning. With Glassboard as a discussion tool in the classroom, students are better able to communicate with educators and their peers.
Our Android developer, Nick Bradbury, shares his thoughts on this trend:
“It’s definitely been a boost for both my kids (my daughter started at the same school this year). My kids are exposed to a *much* more visual way of learning, which I think is far better than the way I learned. Instead of staring at static text books, they’re able to learn from interactive examples. In class, teachers project their iPads onto a SmartBoard, which enables them to display online video without the hassle of the projectors we grew up with. Most of their assignments are completed and submitted on their iPads.
They’re using Pages, iMovie and similar apps to create documents and multimedia presentations that are easily shared with other classmates. Some of these projects are team-based, but quite often they don’t need to get together to complete their work – they just do it online from home. One of the coolest things was my son’s Spanish class, where the teacher had “tagged” dozens of objects around the room. The kids aimed their iPhone cameras at the objects, and the Spanish name of the objects appeared on-screen (aim it at a chair, and see the Spanish word for chair).”
Viva la silla!
Finally! The most asked for feature is now available in Glassboard: you can delete your messages and comments from the mobile apps. If you are a board chair, you can delete messages and comments from others as well.
For any comment or message that you would like to retract, simply long-press and the pop-up menu will give you the option to delete. Its easy.
Nick Bradbury, our Android dev, goes into some background behind our reasoning (including why we didn’t include deletion in the first place.
There are other additions to the app in this version, of course, including performance enhancements, but message/comment deletion is what we’re most excited about!
What makes a mobile app easy to use, intuitive, and delightful? In a word, simplicity. When we were in the planning stages of Glassboard, our goal was to make it as easy as possible to communicate with small groups.
The Glassboard team has always agreed on one thing: make the app simple. In fact, this philosophy has been touted by both our iPhone and Android developers in years past, what with this interview with Brent Simmons on learning to be “ruthless about simplicity” and Nick Bradbury on his blog sharing his experience with implementing simplicity in his software.
Which is why when it came down to what features to include in 1.0, and subsequently 2.0, we did a lot of cutting. In fact our biggest priorities for major releases has been to make the app better looking and faster. Adding features at times was an afterthought. A lot of mobile collaboration apps have some great features such as lists, calendaring, and polling. I’m not saying we won’t ever include anything like those in Glassboard, I’m just saying it’s more important to us to give you a simple way to communicate. All the bells and whistles are nice, but we’d like to have a solid base to build those on.
Another factor that we’ve often mentioned is the privacy settings in Glassboard. There aren’t any because it is always private. Although Facebook and Google+ provide a way to collaborate as a group privately, there are a number of steps to be taken to do so. In fact, this post about bringing G+ to the workplace inspired me to write this: although G+ is loaded with features for collaboration, one has to take an extra step to ensure privacy within a group.
If you find Glassboard to be wonderfully simple, yet effective and screaming fast, we’ve done our job. If you’d like to see more out of Glassboard, that’s great! We like to hear suggestions for what features to add. As long as we know what’s most important to you, that’s what we’ll look towards adding next.
Do you love Glassboard? Want more out of it? Want to pay us money?! Today we are proud to announce the introduction of Glassboard premium.
Glassboard premium was created to give you more of what you need from Glassboard – more storage, more boards, the ability to bookmark messages and much more, all for just $5/month.
Heard enough and ready to dive in already? Sign up now!
Now to introduce the goodies available in Glassboard premium!
Don’t forget that message, bookmark it!
We’ve been there. “Where is that one link? That message that I wanted to save?” No more scrolling through all of your board content to find that one important tidbit. Bookmarks will allow you to save a message or comment- forever if you’d like. Once you bookmark a message, it will always be available in your bookmarks.
Kinda like a yearbook, only shorter and more personal. Export that board!
Some boards have a shelf life of only a week, or maybe just a weekend. After that, we wanted to make it easy for you to share your collection of work with everyone – and now you can. Exporting a board will deliver your entire news feed into a web page that you can share with others, including all pictures and video. It includes every message, photo, video, comment and like for the life of the board so you can relive everything!
More Storage. Share the love.
As a premium member, you’ll jump from 100MB to 1GB of storage across all your boards. Yes, you read that right. All of your boards that you chair will get 1GB of storage. It’s not just you who benefits from this, everyone on your boards will benefit also, you snazzy photog you.
More Boards. A LOT more. Keeeep going…
Don’t run out of boards, ever, because now premium members can create an unlimited number of boards.
Keep the conversation going. Transfer board chair to someone else.
We know how it is. As the board chair you sometimes need to hand the reins over to someone else. Now you can. With Glassboard premium, you can transfer your board chair status over to any other premium board member in your board. Now they can WIELD THE POWAH.
Ready to become a Glassboard premium member to reap all of these benefits? Sign up here!
Do you have more questions about Glassboard premium? Talk to us!
There has been no shortage of people using Glassboard who have asked, “Ok, you’ve got this great app. How are you going to make money?” It’s nice to know that people love the app enough that they WANT to give us money. We like hearing it.
Back in June, Brent Simmons alluded to our soon to exist business model. Now we’re going on the record to let you know that it is about to come to fruition. Here’s the gist:
- In the near future (i.e., the next few months or so, give or take a few weeks), we will be rolling out a premium version of Glassboard. It will have some neat features that include some things we’ve heard a lot of requests for.
- Since this is the way we’ll be bringing in dough, it also means that 1. We will not show ads, and 2. We won’t be selling your data.
- The base version of the app will stay free.
We’re very excited to offer both a free version for everyone to use, and also a very robust, feature-rich version of Glassboard for those who decide they’d like more from the app. It’s win-win!
Got any questions? Want to tell us how you’re using Glassboard? Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Whenever I take a look at my phone to see what’s happening in Glassboard, I always start with notifications. Notifications will tell you when:
- Someone has commented on or ‘liked’ your message
- Someone has commented on a message that you commented on
- Someone has joined your board
- Pro tip: on iPhone, if you see a notification on the front of your phone and you want to go straight to that message, tap & hold the Glassboard icon and slide all the way to the right. That action will take you directly to the message.
All Boards (News Feed)
Once i’ve reviewed all my notifications, i’ll head over to the All Boards news feed. Like Facebook’s news feed, this is a central list of every message from every board you belong to. It is a date ordered list, so the most recent items are always at the top. For each message you’ll only see the 3 or 4 comments most recent comments, to see all comments, you’ll need to tap on the message. Since I know the order of this list isn’t going to change, as soon as I recognize a message I know I can stop.
So that’s it in a nutshell. You can catch up with the important goings on in Glassboard in 2 easy steps. Don’t forget you can also dive into any board just by tapping its name in the sidebar – then your news feed will only show messages from that board. Either way – you can get caught up quickly!
Do you have another way? Let us know in the comments!