I heard about Whiteboard.fi in a recent FLAG webinar on student engagement. I love using whiteboard activities in my face to face classes, and I wondered if it could serve as an alternative for my distance learners.
With Whiteboard.fi, students join with a code and get a blank screen to draw on, create text boxes, and insert shapes and images. You can see all your students’ boards simultaneously, updating in real time. There is also a feature where you can create text or images on your teacher whiteboard, and push it out to all your students. For more info on how to use Whiteboard.fi, check out this tutorial.
I created a room, invited my students to join, and pushed out a blank Bingo board to all their screens. A few students joined late, and I told them just to use the insert image feature to add their own blank Bingo boards. Since we are working on time vocab, I had them fill their own boards with times ending in :00, :15, and :30. When they were ready, I started calling out times, and they marked the spaces with the draw tool. To replay with the same board, students can just click undo until all their marks from the previous game are erased.
I really liked this activity for several reasons – it included all my students, and allowed me to do one of my favorite activities from pre-COVID times. Whiteboard.fi has a lot of safety features as well, like turning on a lobby and locking the room once all your students have joined. You can project students’ boards on your classroom whiteboard (and/or screenshare on your video call), show or hide student names, or just view their whiteboards on your monitor if you don’t trust students to keep things school-appropriate. I’ve also used this site as an end of class formative assessment, having students respond to questions or statements (ie, how do you respond to ¿Cómo estás? how do you respond to mucho gusto?), or given students drawing questions with our vocabulary words like lápiz, bolígrafo, cuaderno. I think this could also work for playing Pictionary, as well as a quick practice activity for grammar topics like verbs or adjective agreement.
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