“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
It has been about five weeks since I have been teaching remotely and if I tell you that I was having a ball, I would be lying! This is HAARDD! Give me back my face-to-face learning, please! By the way, even my 3-year-old daughter has online learning! Thankfully, her schedule is only three 30 minutes lessons per day with 30 minutes break between. But I tell you, I was surprised to see how much she looks forward to these remote sessions. It’s so fascinating to see how much she enjoys this.
Anyway, even though I definitely would prefer face-to-face teaching any day. Nevertheless, I have been trying to enjoy this online teaching and learning process and so I have been playing around with a number of resources as well as tips I learn from my weekly staff PDs (professional development) sessions.
So, as promised, I am back with my feedback on how my second virtual whiteboard is working for me and my students. Drfrostmaths whiteboard.
My HOD did training with our team on how to use Drfrost whiteboard and I must say that overall, I really like it. However, I would like to caution you that this needs to be used to supplement your lesson, so do have all your questions pre-planned and saved on a PowerPoint or on Google’s Jamboard (see my review here https://easymathslpt.com/2021/01/12/the-virtual-whiteboard-for-online-learning-part-1/)
What I love about Drfrostmaths whiteboard:
- The best feature of this whiteboard is that it allows each of my student to have his/her very own mini-whiteboard. Coupled with this is the added privacy – so each students can only see his/her own board and the main board of the teacher unless the teacher chooses to highlight a student’s board. This is great since some students are uncomfortable with everyone seeing their work with all the possible mistakes.
- Teachers are able to interact with individual student’s screen/board. This is so amazing, can you imagine giving individualised attention to all your 25 – 30 students in one lesson in the space of 5 to 10mins? I don’t know about you but this makes me feel powerful (haha … well, within reason). p.s. I spotted one of my year 7 doodling on his board and wrote on his board ‘can you explain how this drawing became the solution to the problem?’ and another student who had a blank screen I started writing on her board and she was ‘miss, my board! someone is writing on it!’ Anyway, they were good for the rest of the lesson. This was the first time they were using this virtual whiteboard. Power to technology! (see images of how I interacted with two students individually)
- The teacher can see all the screens simultaneously! Now, this is great news to a teacher’s ears as this feature satisfies our need to know if all our students are working, who is speeding ahead or struggling through or simply not even writing! It is a win-win here! (see images of teacher’s view)
- If you register for your free account, you are able to access loads of resources including excellent lesson PowerPoints for years 7 to 13 GCSE maths, question banks from various exam boards as well as UKMT challenge problem-solving questions among many others. These questions can be added with relative ease to your whiteboard for all students to see.
- You can insert pictures of questions on the whiteboard from sources outside of the drfrostmaths website. I have mainly been using this feature as often times I already have a specific exam paper or worksheet from another source prepared for my lesson. (see below, an image of the teacher’s view with a question that was inserted as a picture)
- Textbox features, multiple colour pens and many of the regular features you expect are all available.
- If you do not have a drfrostmaths account, you are still able to use the whiteboard.
Now for the disappointing bits:
- Due to the fact that the whole world is using the internet seemingly at the same time, my internet lags behind a few seconds. Unfortunately, when this happening and I refresh my page I lose all the work/question that I had on the teacher’s main whiteboard. Additionally, the link code changes, and my students have to re-join and start over their work using this new link. (This can be quite annoying especially when your students were halfway in their working on.)
- There is no ‘undo’ button! Say what! Yes, you heard me, no undo button and if you press the back button you lose everything and get a new code as I said above. (I used to get so annoyed by this flaw but, I figured out a solution – have my tasks backed up on my jamboard)
- Nothing is saved on this whiteboard for access another time, when your lesson is done the information on the board is cleaned and a new code is ready (not an issue really, why do you need to save the students working anyway right)
- Some of my readers have told me that they have problems registering for an account because they do not have a UK address. If this is the case for you then you do miss out on the wonderful resources on the website. Sorry. However, take comfort in the fact that you do not need an account to use the whiteboard.
- This last point is not really a negative but is more of a caution for anyone who was hoping to set a whole worksheet on this virtual ‘mini-whiteboard’ – it is a mini-whiteboard so you can only set one or two questions at a time for students to complete on this their ‘mini-whiteboard’ ! (hehe haha – someone I know very well had this in mind! No name and shame here!)
So, I KNOW you are still with me at this point and you DID NOT skim read this article (I got my eyes on you 🙂 I hope that if you have not been trying out these amazing virtual tools to get your students fingers busy during your live lessons then this will be your motivation to have a go.
As always, I want to better my best so please share with us your feedback on using these or other virtual whiteboards or any tips or resources that you have been finding effective with your students for in-person teaching or for use during this challenging but interesting time of teaching and learning.