How to Create Online Whiteboards You Can Watch Your Students Use Remotely
One of the things that I’ve been stressing to anyone who will listen this fall is to give students activities to do during remote instruction, don’t just talk at them. For example, this week during my Intro to Networking class I had my online students diagramming simple router and switch networks. They did that on Jamboards that I shared with them through Google Classroom.
Using remote whiteboards like Jamboard is a good way to have students create diagrams, to solve math problems, to draw, or to respond to any prompt that might be tricky to type a response to. By using remote whiteboards they can work independently and you can watch them work. Jamboard isn’t the only tool for this. You might also try Whiteboard Fi or Whiteboard Chat. All three tools are explained below.
Jamboard is Google’s free online whiteboard tool. It is different from Google Drawings in two ways. First, it allows you to have multiple pages within the same file. Second, it doesn’t have as many drawing tools as Drawings. That’s not necessarily a bad thing when you want students to focus on answering math problems or creating a rough sketch. Jamboards can be shared just like a Google Doc which means you can see your students working on them. Jamboard can be shared through Google Classroom as an assignment. That process is demonstrated in this short video.
Whiteboard.fi lets you create an online room in which each of your students has his or her own whiteboard to draw on. As the teacher, you can see what your students are drawing as they do it. You have the ability to clear students’ boards and to kick them out of the room if they are not using their whiteboards as intended. Students are also able to see your whiteboard if you choose to push it out to them.
Combine Whiteboard Fi with Google Meet or Microsoft Teams and you can see what students are doing in real-time without having to screen share. Here’s my short video about that process in Google Meet.
Whiteboard Chat is a free service that you can use to create collaborative whiteboards to use with your students. It is possible to use Whiteboard Chat without an email address which makes it quick and easy to get started. Whiteboard Chat includes an option to create individual whiteboards for each student to use that you can also observe. Check out this video to see how it works.
Last week I hosted Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know. If you missed it, you can watch it here. Every Thursday Rushton Hurley and I co-host Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff. You can catch those recordings here.