Physical and Digital Whiteboards
In previous semesters, I’ve written about the variety of ways that Indiana University instructors use writable surfaces (white boards and glass boards) in their classrooms to facilitate active learning, including supporting collaboration, encouraging class discussion, and facilitating ice breaker activities.
Writable surfaces are one of our most popular learning technologies at Indiana University because they provide students (and instructors) a shared “gathering space” to make their thinking visible. It’s so easy to brainstorm, to show and share work on a writable surface: all you need are some markers!
This fall, many instructors lose the benefit of our in-classroom writable surfaces due to safety restrictions of the pandemic classroom. Social distancing protocols makes it difficult to congregate around a shared surface. Fortunately, Indiana University instructors have the benefit of a variety of interactive digital whiteboards that can be successfully utilized in all modalities of fall 2020 instruction.
Digital whiteboards allow students and instructors a similar shared, collaborative experience compared to their physical counterparts. But they also allow contributors to provide additional types of content in the form of images and links. Further, whatever students and instructors create on a digital whiteboard easily can be saved for future sharing or reflection.
Digital whiteboard surfaces are especially helpful for supporting:
- Collaboration: Digital whiteboards allow students a virtual space to collaboratively discuss, analyze, and synthesize brief questions or broader disciplinary problems that instructors might pose.
- Formative assessment: Asking students to work at digital whiteboards gives instructors immediate feedback on whether (and the extent to which) students understand course material.
How do I use a digital whiteboard in my class?
There are numerous ways to use digital whiteboards in your class, especially via Zoom (or other online collaboration platforms), but here are a few approaches to get you started:
- Debate: Students debate an issue using a digital whiteboard to share their arguments and then discuss competing claims or evidence as a group. See the, “Is a Taco a Sandwich,” example above.
- Summary Meme: Ask students to encapsulate a concept in a chosen meme drawn from the internet. Then allow them to discuss the reasoning behind their choices.
- Summary Drawing: Ask students to summarize a concept or an argument in a drawing. Then ask students to explain their summaries.
How about you? How are you using digital whiteboards in your own courses this fall? Share your ideas below.
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