Whiteboards and chalkboards have been a fixture in classrooms for ages. They’re great for gathering ideas and making thinking visible.
But there are drawbacks …
- Having to write “DON’T ERASE!” next to important stuff
- Taking pictures of the whiteboard with your cell phone
- Markers drying up or running out of ink
- Having only so much whiteboard space in your classroom
If you can sympathize, you’ve got to check out Google’s Jamboard app. Jamboard (jamboard.google.com) is a physical device — an interactive touchscreen display/monitor, and it’s pricey. But thankfully, the app that runs on those interactive displays is a teacher’s favorite price — FREE!
The Jamboard app is a fantastic tool for learning in face to face environments and for virtual/remote learning. The features are simple and intuitive. It’s really easy to collaborate. Plus, it’s very visual.
What is Google Jamboard?
You can find Jamboard by going to jamboard.google.com. You can also find it by clicking the “New” button in your Google Drive and hovering over “More”.
When you open Jamboard, you’ll see all of the recent jams you’ve opened. You can click the + button in the bottom right to create a new jam.
1. Draw: Use a pen, marker, highlighter or brush. You can draw from pre-determined colors.
2. Eraser: Erase something you’ve drawn.
3. Select: Choose and adjust a shape, sticky note, image, text box.
4. Sticky note: Add a sticky note with text. You can choose from several colors.
5. Image: Add an image from your device, image search, Google Drive or Photos.
6. Shapes: Add a circle, square, triangle, diamond, rounded rectangle, half circle, bar or arrow. Choose border color and fill color from the menu bar at the top of the jam.
7. Text box: Add a box where you can type and format text.
8. Laser: Use a pointer to emphasize and highlight certain items on the screen when presenting ideas to others.
9. Background: Choose from dots, lines, graph, or dark colors.
10. Clear frame: Wipe everything off your frame with one click. (Undo if it was a mistake!)
11. Frame bar: See all of your frames in one place. Add new frames, duplicate or delete.
12. Menu: From here, you can rename your jam, download it as a PDF, save a frame as an image, remove, or make a copy your jam.
13. Zoom: Zoom in, zoom out, or fit to window.
14. Undo and redo: I’ll bet you know all about this one already.
Note: If you watch videos or read documentation about Jamboard, you might get excited about some features that you can’t access by just using the free app. Integrating Google Meet, adding files from Drive, and some other features only work when you purchase the interactive display. When in doubt, try it out on the app first.
Student collaboration with Jamboard
Jamboard is made for collaboration! You can also share your jams just like you’d share a document or slide presentation. Click the “Share” button and share with individuals and groups or create a shareable link.
Students can interact in jams in lots of ways:
- Students can brainstorm and create in small groups face to face on one device.
- Share an “everyone can edit” link with students in Google Classroom for whole-class collaboration.
- In remote or online settings, students can work together in small groups in the same jam.
In lots of the ideas below, you can add a layer of collaboration by giving students an “anyone can edit” link.
Note: Jamboard does not have a version history. This does remove an element of accountability that encourages students not to abuse the activity, writes Wes Fryer in his Speed of Creativity blog. You know your students, so you may well know whether they’ll abuse this situation or not. I could see using it with small groups more readily than a whole group because the one who acts out is usually trying to perform for a large audience. You can always use Jamboard to display your own ideas and make them viewable later.
20 ideas for using Jamboard in class (+ FREE templates!)
So … what could this look like in class? I’m glad you asked! Here are several ideas for using it with your students. If you like the ideas, then click the “Get this template!” button and make a copy of a template you can use right away with students!
Have you used Jamboard? What are your best tips, tricks and ideas? Please share them in a comment below!