Tools for Learning Activities: MS Whiteboard

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The information in this article is correct at the time of writing, please check our TEL Blog for the latest information on Technology at the University of Reading.

Whiteboard is a Microsoft Office application that can be used for collaborative and individual work, with options for blank-sheet style collaboration and document mark-up.

MS Whiteboard can be opened in a limited browser version, via either Office.com or by sharing a Whiteboard in a MS Teams meeting, or using the app. 

Availability

  • Free (university subscription)
  • Online (limited, browser-based)
  • Teams Meeting (limited)
  • App (Desktop, Android, iOS)

Key features

  • Collaborative working in real-time
  • Freehand drawing tools (4-colour pen & eraser)
  • Insert basic text & Sticky Notes
  • Integration with Teams
  • Autosaves progress
  • Add, move & delete text or sticky notes
  • Export as an image (PNG)

App only

  • Additional colour choices for pen tool
  • Insert files for markup (insert whole documents or individual pages from PDF, Word, PowerPoint documents)
  • Insert local, web, or camera images
  • Insert tables
  • Smart inking & drawing tools
  • Alternative grid-backgrounds
  • Premade templates for group work
  • Accessibility features
  • Can be shared via email, to Teams & OneNote, or as an image (PNG or SVG)

Benefits

  • Integrates with Office products
  • Simple interface
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Saves automatically to the cloud
  • Easy ad-hoc activity

Considerations and limitations

  • Requires some practice and clear managing of expectations
  • Annotations are anonymous – requires trust in students 
  • Better with small groups
  • App version does not integrate with Teams meetings
  • Cannot be locked from editing after a session

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