7 Tips for Getting Started with Jamboard in the Classroom

7 Tips for Getting Started with Jamboard in the Classroom

Jamboard is Google’s app for free-form collaboration and brainstorming. It is very useful for teachers because Jams save to Drive, work with Classroom, and add fun to learning. It even has some nice drawing tools.

Yet, there are some things about Jamboard that make it tricky for teachers:

  • Unlike Docs, Drawings, Sheets, and Slides, Jamboard has no version history.
  • There is a twenty frame limit for any Jam. Many class sizes are well above twenty.
  • Jamboard Jams start to glitch at around twenty collaborators.

Teachers should know about these concerns and still incorporate Jamboard. Here are seven tips for teachers wanting to try Jamboard for their students.

Tip 1: Create Jams in Google Drive Folders

Staying organized is so important for teachers. Create Jams in a unit’s Google Drive folder and it will always be there for future use. Go to the folder in Drive. Choose New>>>More and Google Jamboard.

In Google Drive, click "New" then "More" then "Google Jamboard to create a Jam in a Drive folder.
Create a Jamboard Jam in a Drive folder.

Tip 2: Have an Untouched Original Copy

Once students have access to Jams they get messy. Always make copies for student use and keep an untouched original. Copy a Jam by right-clicking it in Drive and choosing “Make a copy.”

A Google Jamboard Jam in Google Drive. The right-click menu appears and "Make a copy" is selected.
Right-click a Jam in Drive to make a copy.

Or click the three dots in the upper-right of the Jamboard editor and choose “Make a copy.”

Three dot menu in the upper-right corner of the Jamboard web editor. "Make a copy" is selected.
Three dot menu in the upper-right corner of the Jamboard web editor. “Make a copy” is selected.

Tip 3: The First Jamboard Task is Independent

Introduce Jamboard to students with an independent task. Let students get familiar with Jamboard Jams before they collaborate. Teachers can use “Make a copy for each student” in Google Classroom to automate this process.

Tip 4: Be Explicit About the Undo Button

Introduce students to Jamboard by demonstrating its tools. One tool to emphasize is the Undo button found in the upper-left of Jamboard on the web. Be repetitive about it. Be annoying. So students can’t forget the Undo button. When it is time to collaborate and a student deletes an element, they will know to use the Undo button.

The Undo button in Jamboard on the web is found beneath the Jamboard icon in the upper-left corner. In this image, the Undo button is circled with an arrow pointing to it.
The undo button is one of the most important buttons for collaboration in Jamboard.

Tip 5: The First Student Collaboration is in Pairs

The next step is collaboration in pairs. Give pairs a task in a Jam. Starting collaboration in pairs sets students up for success in larger collaborations.

Tip 6: Collaboration in Small Groups

Jamboard is perfect for small group collaborations. Seven is a good upper limit for groups in Jamboard. Is there an ideal group size for Jamboard? I argue there is: five. Insert a sticky note in a Jam. Look at the color options:

The sticky note in editor in Jamboard. Color options are yellow, green, blue, pink, orange, and transparent.
Use the five sticky note colors or organize students.

Besides transparent, there are five sticky note colors:

  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Pink
  • Orange

Assign each student a specific sticky note color for notes they add to the Jam. This brings structure and accountability. This is the first frame of a Jam that assigns five students a specific color. Make a copy for yourself to save time.

A Jamboard Jam with five different colors of sticky notes. Each color is assigned to a student name.
Each student is assigned a specific sticky note in the first frame of the Jam.

Use Google Classroom’s differentiation feature to assign a Jam to a small group. Use Reuse post to get other groups their copy of the Jam.

What about whole-class collaboration? Using the right tool for the right job. Having thirty students collaborate in a Google Doc would get very messy. The same is true for Jamboard. Remember the Jamboard concerns raised in this blog post’s intro. Google Slides is a wonderful tool for whole-class collaboration. There is no slide limit and it does not glitch with twenty participants. Teachers can assign each student a slide or slides to groups. “Group 1 has slides 1-5, Group 2 has slides 6-10…”

Tip 7: Never Grade Jams on Neatness

As stated, Jams get messy. The app is inherently imprecise. Have a look at this Jam I created to show the unique features of the Jamboard mobile app:

A Jamboard Jam with six sticky notes. The Jam is messy.
Jams tend to be messy and imprecise.

Jamboard Jams can be a tool for assessment but neatness should never be a criterion.

Here are some more resources for getting started with Jamboard:

What do you think? What activities will you create for students using Google Jamboard? Please comment below or tweet me, @TomEMullaney.

Does your school need remote professional development to make the most of Jamboard? Have a look at some of my offerings and connect with me on Twitter.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels.

4 Comments

  1. I have sent my first graders links to make copies of jamboards. They now have 5 in their Drive. They also have the jamboard app. It seems like they always have to go to their drive to access the jamboards. Why don’t they show up in the Jamboard app?

    Like

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