The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the physical ways and methods of teaching and learning, accelerating the digitization of them. Video conferencing has replaced the face-to-face engagement in a physical classroom; screen sharing and presentation slides have become the new whiteboard. As education is rapidly turning digital, the need for and the availability of tools to facilitate online learning and teaching has surged over the last few years; and online whiteboards are gaining popularity by the day.
Digital whiteboards allow teachers and students to replicate the experience of a physical whiteboard online, with an infinite canvas. They offer shape libraries and premade templates that can be used to create content (i.e. charts, diagrams, posters, visuals, etc.). They also digitize the content created, which makes it easier for anyone to access it online from their own personal device. Advanced online whiteboard tools like Creately (https://creately.com/lp/online-whiteboard-tool/) also offer in-app video conferencing and real-time collaboration features where teachers and students can work on the same canvas and track each other’s changes with real-time change previews and mouse tracking.
An online whiteboard is primarily a collaboration tool. While you can use it during lessons/ lectures to visualize and simplify concepts and ideas for the students, you can also get the students to contribute. For example, on Creately, once you create a new document, you can add students to it as collaborators. You can also share an Edit enabled link with the students via email or a chat platform you use, to communicate with each other online. Visuals make a great way to synthesize content. While you can present important concepts in the form of a chart, graph, or diagram on an online whiteboard during the lesson, you can encourage students to use the same tools to take down their notes. Research shows that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and that people tend to recall data better when visuals are involved. By encouraging students to use a mind map, concept map, flowchart, or graphic organizer to take down their notes, you can help improve their ability to retain information. Creately offers an array of premade templates that students can quickly put to use during note-taking. You can also create a template prior to the lesson and share it with the students for note-taking.