I was honored to speak to my friend Kim Mattina about the Google Jamboard app on her YouTube Channel, The Suite Talk. After talking about the app and using it to collaborate, our conversation transitioned to Google Keep, a powerful tool for student feedback.
When Google debuted the Google Jamboard, it seemed unlikely a $5,000 piece of hardware had any implications for education. However, Jamboard was created to facilitate collaboration and to do so, Google created an Android app and an iTunes app so collaborators can participate in a Jam remotely. The app is free and does not require the Jamboard device to work. If your students have iPads or Play Store enabled Chromebooks, they can collaborate in the app tomorrow. Owners of a Jam can invite others to collaborate, just like in other G Suite apps and Google Hangouts can occur inside a Jam.
This post is about the Jamboard app, not the Jamboard device. The device is $5,000. The app is free. Now that we have that out of the way, please continue reading and consider ways the app could be used in your classroom.
To start, have a look at this video and imagine yourself and your students doing this not on a $5,000 Jamboard, but on an iPad or Chromebook.
Looks like fun, doesn’t it? To see what this looks like on a device and not the Jamboard, have a look at me playing with the app on my Chromebook:
Peruse this ThingLink for videos showing specific Jamboard app functions:
I enjoy using the Jamboard app on my Chromebook and showing it to colleagues:
— SFUSD Technology (@SFUSDdot) December 11, 2017
After playing with the Jamboard app, here some ideas for using the Jamboard app in the classroom:
- Use a Jam to document a group’s research for projects. If the teacher is added as a collaborator, they can give feedback using Jamboard’s emojis and Google Keep.
- Divvy up topics in a unit to groups in your class. Each group is responsible for creating a Jam about their topic. At the end of the unit, the class can have a Jam Gallery Walk. Additionally, new students can catch up by being added as a collaborator in each Jam. That’s a lot more fun and useful than copying notes!
- The shape recognition tool is very useful. In addition to converting scribbles into perfect shapes, it has the ability to draw angles including perfect 90° angles!
- Use the Google Jamboard app’s auto draw feature to make beautiful storyboards! Thank you, Louise Jones, for this idea!
- The Jamboard app was not designed for this purpose, but I have to say it is the best Android app for jotting notes on a Chromebook. I like using Squid and the Google Keep Android app for jotting notes but Jambord is even better. Jamboard has four pens, handwriting recognition, shape recognition, and auto draw.
More room to jot is always available by adding a new frame to a Jam. Simply click on the frames at the top of the screen to add another one.
The Jamboard app even has an embedded web browser accessible when jotting notes.
- Jams can be used as an artistic tool. One thing I have noticed as I play with the Jamboard app – Jams are messy! That is a good thing, but it makes me pause about assessing something made in the Jamboard app as a final product. The Jamboard app is probably better used as an ungraded collaborative tool. Not grading Jams might increase student engagement and focus on learning when using them. Having said that, students using the Jamboard App can produce some beautiful art. Witness my masterpiece, Sunset at the Beach:
On a more serious note, just like Google Slides can render individual slides as images and whole slide decks as PDFs, the Jamboard app allows frames to be shared as images and whole Jams to be shared as PDFs. Just click the three dots in the upper right corner of the Jam:
I hope this post has convinced you to install the Jamboard app (links in the first paragraph of this post) and give it a try. If you would like to share your ideas about the Google Jamboard app, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney. Thank you for reading.
Google Jamboard Image: G Suite with Google Cloud
Update 1/20/18: I was honored to share collaborate with one of my favorite YouTubers, Mark from Promevo in Google Jamboard. Watch as I use the Google Jamboard app on my Chromebook in San Francisco and he uses a Jamboard in Kentucky.
Update 1/24/18: Google has announced Google Jamboard is now a core G Suite service available to education customers!
G Suite for Education is a great platform for giving students feedback on their work. The apps in G Suite are also great for facilitating student collaboration. Let’s look at how teachers can use G Suite for student collaboration.
A Quick Note
This post is meant for teachers who are almost proficient with or just learning G Suite. Additionally, this post contains nothing about add-ons, extensions, coding, or anything extra. Strictly G Suite.
Sharing (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)
G Suite allows sharing in which collaborators can receive edit access.
Collaborators can also receive “Can comment” access that allows for commenting in a doc, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing.
Email Collaborators (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)
Email collaborators is a great way for collaborators to communicate about a file they are working on. The person initiating the conversation need not open Gmail. They also get to choose the exact collaborators they want to send a message to. Click File>>>Email collaborators… to use this function.
Assign Action Items (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)
Use the comment function and type a “+” or “@” with a collaborator’s email address to assign them an action item. That pushes an email to their inbox telling them they have been assigned an action item.
Suggesting Mode (Works in Docs)
In the Google Docs editor, notice the pencil in the upper-right corner. Click it and choose “Suggesting” in the drop-down menu.
Make edits. They appear as suggestions.
Collaborators can approve or reject suggestions by checking “✔️” or “✖️.”
Version History (Works in Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings)
Version history is a great way for teachers and collaborating students to keep track of ongoing collaborations. Ever wonder which member of a group made a contribution to a G Suite file? Version history reveals all. Click File>>>Version history to access a detailed history of all edits to a G Suite file. Version history allows editors to restore a version. This is a great way to save the day if one collaborator has made many incorrect edits to a G Suite file/
Differentiation in Google Classroom
Let’s conclude with an easy way for teachers to turbo-charge collaboration in Google Classroom. Any post (announcement, question, or assignment) can be shared only with specific students even though the default is set to all students in a class. Have a look at how it works from Google’s The Keyword blog:
Teachers can use this to facilitate collaboration in two ways:
- Create a post that shares files only with group captains. Each group captain can then share their files with their group members.
- Create posts only for groups. This is not that difficult because of the reuse post feature. Use it to use the same post for each group with slight adjustments for each group.
For more information on differentiation in Google Classroom, please watch this video.
The Future of Collaboration in G Suite – Google Jamboard
If your district uses iPads or Play Store enabled Chromebooks, your students can use the Google Jamboard app right now. This online collaborative whiteboard is the new frontier in G Suite collaboration. Have a look at me demonstrating it on my Chromebook. As you watch, please note – I now know what the lasso tool does. It selects elements on the screen, resizes, and moves them. It’s actually very useful.
Thank you for reading. If you would like to share your thoughts about collaboration in G Suite with me, please comment below or tweet me at @TomEMullaney.