Online whiteboard to enhance reading activity

The scale of the universe is an amazing interactive animation showing the universe from the smallest to the largest. It was created by 14-year-old twin boys.

I decided to use it in a reading activity alongside trialling the use of an online whiteboard.

As students explored the scale of the universe they had to note down

  1. 5 new things they discovered
  2. make notes on 10 objects
  3. write down 10 new words they met

I told my first group  to write the above into an online whiteboard – DabbleBoard (now defunct, see picture below, names removed to protect the hopeless).

It turned out that I should have advised them to first open up a notepad, use that and then copy paste into whiteboard. Since they had difficulty entering text directly and which would disappear occasionally.

Another issue to be aware of is the temptation for them to fool around drawing over their classmates words and such like. Although this is the other side of the coin of using such a tool.

I am not sure if I would use an online whiteboard for a reading activity again. I plan to try it with a video listening activity where students would invent some comprehension questions, write them on the whiteboard and then try to answer their classmates’ questions.

Dabbleboard reading activity
Dabbleboard reading activity

(Dabbleboard reading activity)

Additional note –  a good thing about Dabbleboard is that you don’t need to invite users by email, guests can just go to web link for the whiteboard, this saves the need to collect emails.

Update 1:

Dabbleboard is somewhat buggy and you risk losing drawings, so I cannot recommend it for now. I guess I will go back to Google docs! If anyone can recommend a good online whiteboard which doesn’t require participants to login let me know!

Update 2:

Recently did this activity again and recorded the shared Google document groups used to answer the task questions (revised questions to two). The recording below is of a low intermediate group.

Update 3:

Nathan Hall () has been writing about online collaboration tools which you can read about here and here.

Penny for your thoughts

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