Whether you are teaching full remote, hybrid, or fully in-person, this web based tool just might be the answer to your teaching prayers! In my work as an instructional technology coach for my school district, increasing student engagement is the number one request I hear from teachers these days. I truly believe that this tool has everything you might need to bring student engagement back to life!
Trust me when I tell you I have vetted all of the whiteboard tools teachers can use to increase engagement and feedback with their students. Here are my favorites (in no particular order).
- whiteboard.fi: great for seeing individual screens
- Jamboard: Great for collaboration. Add text, sticky notes, shapes, drawings, images. Have multiple pages within one board. I love to use this to build drag and drop templates for students to interact.
- Aww App: A great whiteboard where students can collaborate in real-time, but all the features are not not free, therefore I don’t recommend. 👎
- Canvas Chrome App: A very simple interface with drawing tools and the ability to save image. This is great for flipped teaching if you use a screen recording tool (Quicktime, Loom, Screencastify) and record your narration and drawing to build a flipped lesson.
- Keynote: If you are a school using iPads with managed Apple IDs, this is a great way to collaborate real time. What sets Keynote apart from all the others is the ability to insert video right from the camera and audio right from the device. There are other features such as drawing, shapes, and animations that can make collaboration a dream come true!
- Whiteboard.chat: It’s the newest of all the tools and it has some very exciting and promising features. This is the tool I am going to talk about in this post. This collaborative whiteboard tool delivers great results for teachers and students, especially during this time of uncertainty in education.
Let me tell you about Whiteboard.chat
What’s cool about whiteboard.chat is that it’s entirely based on suggestions received by teachers. Simply send them feedback and they will try to make that improvement for you. It will be exciting the improvements and additions that come along as the result of teacher requests.
What I am really liking about Whiteboard.chat
- Teach, explain, observe, coach, or model to the entire class at once or individually (all real-time). As a teacher works on his or her board, it is replicated on all students’ boards in real time.
- Tool is web based and works on all platforms (Mac, iPad, PC, Chromebook)
- Create boards ahead of time or as you go along in your lesson.
- Use this tool while live on Google Meet or Zoom in synchronous sessions, or use this when asynchronous learning is taking place. During asynchronous learning sessions, teachers can engage with students real time.
- For the middle school or high school teacher, make one board and save a copy for multiple class periods.
- View students as they complete their work in real time by using the grid view. Zoom in on one particular student’s board to see if they need help. If so, teachers can easily join their board and offer feedback real-time.
- Students can raise their hand if they need help and teachers can immediately jump in their board and provide feedback or coaching.
- Upload PDFs and images. Import multi-page PDFs and create a workbook. Students can annotate each of the PDFs with text and drawings. Students cannot delete anything posted by the teacher.
- This tool doesn’t require a high amount of bandwidth! Whiteboards are not shared as video streams.
- Teachers can create individual breakout rooms for cohort groups.
- A built-in timer helps with time management for both individuals and groups as they work through assignments.
- There are no adds (huge plus for a free program)! Note to developers! 🙂
- The built-in backgrounds are great! Primary and intermediate teachers will rejoice! Also…there is a special gift for music and math teachers!
- Boards are private so students cannot see each other’s boards.
- Ability to type in mathematical equations directly on board
- COPPA compliant
- Students can be invited with link, class code, or QR code. Teachers can post join links in Google Classroom, Canvas, or Seesaw. The teacher can mandate students log in and can also remove students.
- Students can use the chat feature if working together.
- Probably my most favorite…manipluatives! SAY WHAAATTT??? So many! Math blocks, rulers, charts, and more. These tools include music, letters, alphabet, holidays, currency, clocks, pattern blocks.
- Lock objects in place so students don’t get frustrated by moving them around if drawing or annotating on object.
- Ignite creativity by drawing concepts and animating. What a great way to show learning concepts!
Can you tell I’m excited by the potential! Those are just my highlights…so much is offered. So, here’s how you get started:
- Open whiteboard.chat
2. Click start drawing and then you’ll start teaching! Students would enter a classroom code or if given a link it will take them right to your class.
3. Click on the gear to login with your Google account. This will allow you to save all your boards. After you sign in, you can change the settings of your boards.
4. Whiteboard.chat interface
5. Now you are ready! Create. Engage. Interact. Collaborate. Share.
Here are images that showcase some of the tools and manipulatives embedded within the application.
I hope you’ll give it a try and see how this can increase the real time communication and collaboration in your classroom!