Using an interactive whiteboard is a great way to increase engagement in an online synchronous class. While Zoom includes its own whiteboard and annotation tools, Office 365 and G Suite offer two interactive and sharable whiteboarding applications that can be used synchronously or asynchronously via the web.

Please Note: This page only covers the browser-based versions of these tools. Microsoft Whiteboard's downloadable Windows 10 and mobile app versions offer far more features than the browser-based version. For more information about the Windows 10 and mobile versions of Whiteboard, see Microsoft’s Whiteboard Help page. Jamboard's mobile app includes handwriting, shape, and drawing recognition in addition to the tools listed below.


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Google Jamboard and Microsoft Whiteboard are accessible using a web browser on your computer, and offer mobile applications you can use from a tablet or other mobile device. The browser-based versions make the applications far more accessible to individuals who may not have a mobile device, tablet, or stylus available. Using the browser-based versions of these whiteboard tools, you can type text, draw using your mouse, create sticky note activities and more. The chart below highlights some features available in the browser-based versions of the applications.

Both Microsoft Whiteboard and Google Jamboard offer drawing tools, a text tool, sticky notes, mobile applications, and the ability to share the boards with a link. Microsoft Whiteboard offers one large white board per file and is accessible via Teams. Google Jamboard offers the ability to add images, draw shapes, create multiple boards within one file, a pointer tool to use while presenting and the option to share with only specific individuals.
Figure 1: A Venn diagram comparing Whiteboard and Jamboard’s browser-based features. This diagram was created using the shape, text, draw, and sticky note features in Jamboard.
Note: The Windows 10 and mobile app verisons of Whiteboard include many of the features attributed to Jamboard in this diagram, but are unavailable in the browser version.

 

Google Jamboard

Google Jamboard is a robust whiteboarding application. You can create and save a “jam” from your web browser by visiting jamboard.google.com and logging in using your Penn State credentials (abc123@psu.edu). You can access all of your jams via the web or the mobile application, regardless of which version you used to create the jam.

You can share your jamboard easily with individuals, or with large groups via a link. Google offers several levels of sharing options that can be adjusted at any time- from allowing anyone to edit, to only allowing a few individuals to view.


Figure 2: Google Jamboard’s share settings can be customized and adjusted at any time

Jamboards have the option to create several slides (called frames) within each jam session. This allows you to set up and run multiple whiteboarding activities within one file without the need to erase or leave a file in between activities.


Figure 3: A sample Jamboard sticky note activity

Once your jam session is active, you have several tools available to create interactive boards. You can:

For more information about the many tools available in Jamboard, please visit Google’s Jamboard tools reference and glossary.

Note: While most tools are available in the web version, some are only available from the application. The reference and glossary contain information about each tool.

Once you are finished with your jam session and no longer want to make edits, you can save the jam as an image or pdf to share with your collaborators, or you can switch the Jamboard over to view only access and share the jam via a link.

For a detailed walkthrough of how to use Jamboard for web, please view the video below.

 

Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard is accessible through your Penn State Office 365 account, or at whiteboard.microsoft.com. In addition to the web version, there is a downloadable version for Windows 10 and a mobile application for iOS.

On the web, you can create a whiteboard by clicking create new Whiteboard on the Whiteboard homepage.

You can share your Whiteboard with anyone at Penn State by clicking the Share button in the upper right of the whiteboard, turning the share link toggle on, and copying the link. Users will have to log into their Penn State Office 365 accounts to access the board. You can disable the shared link at any time.

Note: Anyone who accesses your Whiteboard using the shared link will be able to edit your Whiteboard.


Figure 4: Microsoft Whiteboard allows you to share your Whiteboards via a link.

Whiteboard for the web currently supports the following features:

  • Create and join boards
  • Add and edit sticky notes
  • Add and edit text objects
  • Draw using pens
  • Erase
  • Select and move objects


Figure 5: An equation written on a Whiteboard with the pen tool using a laptop trackpad.

The Windows 10 and iOS versions offer more robust tools and templates. For more information about the Windows 10 and iOS versions, please visit Microsoft’s Whiteboard Help page.

Once you are finished editing your Whiteboard, you can disable the shared link and save the Whiteboard as an image to share with your collaborators.

Microsoft Whiteboard is also accessible during Teams meetings. While whiteboards are not visible in Teams meeting recordings, you can access your Whiteboard after the meeting from the Web, Windows 10, or iOS versions of Whiteboard. For more information about Whiteboard in Teams, please visit Microsoft’s guide to using Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams.

Note: Whiteboard is only available in Teams meetings, not in calls.

Training for: 
Faculty
Staff
Students
Type of Training: 
Documentation
Other online resources
Training Topic: 
Collaboration
Teaching and Learning
Service or Technology: 
G Suite for Education
Microsoft O365
Training Level: 
Introduction

Training for: 
Faculty
Staff
Students
Type of Training: 
Documentation
Other online resources
Training Topic: 
Collaboration
Teaching and Learning
Service or Technology: 
G Suite for Education
Microsoft O365