Effective Whiteboard Use

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When teaching in-person, the whiteboard can be an effective teaching tool in the classroom.  It helps students visualize content and recall important terms, concepts, and ideas.  Effective whiteboard use can help make the lesson more accessible for all students.  

The way you decide to use the whiteboard in your class is selective. In the video below, we offer basic advice that you are welcome to adopt or adapt as you see fit.  

Key Take-Aways

  • Practice sectioning off the whiteboard, using one area for the day’s agenda, and others to highlight key terms or for diagrams to help illustrate content, or for collaborative discussion.
  • Blue and Black dry-erase markers are the most accessible, as they provide the highest colour contrast on the whiteboard. Red can be hard to read from a distance but can be used for underlining words, or for arrows in diagrams.
  • Ensure that your writing on the board is large enough to be seen by students sitting at the back of the room and is not in all capital letters or cursive.
  • Collaborative whiteboard use allows students an opportunity to brainstorm and see their own ideas visually represented in the conversation.  It can also help shift the energy in the class if you invite students to come up to the front and contribute to the discussion.
  • Students, even if they’ve taken diligent notes throughout the lesson, may want to photograph the content on the whiteboard at the end of class before it’s erased. They are welcome to do so. Please just remind them to come to the front of the room to do so to ensure they don’t inadvertently include other students in the class or the professor in their pictures, as these individuals may not feel comfortable being photographed.

Lauren Spring

Lauren Spring, PhD, has been a post-secondary educator since 2012. Before joining Conestoga as a Teaching and Learning Consultant, Lauren taught at Wilfrid Laurier, Brock, Ryerson, York, and the University of Toronto where she also completed her PhD in Adult Education and Community Development. She has also led workshops for students and faculty at colleges and universities across the country. Lauren holds an MA in International Development and has expertise in critical disability and mad studies, trauma work, research-based theatre, role-play simulations, and feminist and arts-based approaches to adult education and community engagement. Lauren has also worked as an educator at the Art Gallery of Ontario since 2008 where she designs and delivers art tours and workshops for elementary and high school students and diverse groups of adult learners.

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