Zoom White Board for Student Engagement

The use of a virtual whiteboard in Zoom asynchronous sessions has replaced the physical whiteboard used in traditional classrooms. Although the concept is largely the same, there are extra benefits made possible through the use of digital whiteboards. In traditional classrooms, it is usually the instructor who makes the annotations on the whiteboard. However, with Zoom whiteboards it is possible for students to make annotations on the same screen at the same time. This makes it easier for students to brainstorm and collaborate with one another to complete a task. You can add different shapes, draw lines, and write directly on the whiteboard. You can also move, resize, and erase annotations, make it easy to reorganize or make corrections.

Some suggestions on how you can use the zoom whiteboard in online sessions include:

  • Give students open-ended prompts and ask them to respond on the whiteboard.
  • Draw separate sections in the whiteboard and ask students to discuss different aspects of a topic, potentially to assess prior knowledge of a new topic or to affirm their learning after teaching a topic . Students type in their response in the appropriate section of the board.
  • Ask students to enter their reflections after a specific activity. You can use prompts like “What were your opinions?”, “What are your suggestions?”, etc.
  • Have other students draw connections between ideas (provided by you or them).
  • Have students a star or checkmark if they agree or an “x” if they disagree. 

Multiple Annotation Tools

You can get creative with the different annotation tools. The tools can be used in the following ways:

Use the Select tool to move or resize objects. You can select several annotations at once.

Use the Text tool to type in text in the screen.

Use the Draw tool to insert lines, arrows, and shapes.

Use the Stamp tool to insert predefined icons like a checkmark, a star, an ‘x’, a heart, or question mark. These could help you and your students express your feelings or thoughts about a certain topic without creating an interruption.

Use the Spotlight tool to bring attention to a specific area in your whiteboard. This allows you turn your cursor into a spot light or the arrow. The spotlight works like an online laser pointer to point out parts of the screen to students. The arrow is used to display your name to point out any part of the whiteboard. Each subsequent click will remove the previous arrow placed.

User the Eraser tool to erase parts of your annotation.

Use the Format tool to change the formatting options of annotations like color, line width, and font.

Use the Undo and Redo options to undo/redo your latest annotations.

Use the Clear tool to delete all annotations, only your own, or all viewers’ from the whiteboard.

Use the Save tool to save all annotations on the screen as a screenshot. A PNG file will be saved file will be saved to a preset folder, which you can see by clicking on the Show in Folder or Show in Finder option which appears right after saving a Zoom Whiteboard.

Whiteboards in Breakout Rooms

Whiteboard can also be used in Zoom breakout rooms for small-group activities and discussions. The whiteboard allows students to enter their thoughts or ideas on the whiteboard, save the whiteboard as an image, and share the image back with the larger class to discuss their findings and contribute to the community knowledge. Visit Group Work in Zoom to learn more about Zoom break rooms and group activities. Have a look at this tip sheet on how to annotate and use the interactive whiteboard on Zoom.

Note: to share a whiteboard you need to have zoom client installed. The pre-requisites are available in this zoom support page. If you do not want your students to write on the white board, you can disable annotations by sharing the whiteboard, clicking More (3 dots) then selecting ‘Disable Attendee Annotation’.

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