Is online learning better than studying in traditional classrooms? What are the advantages of in-person learning compared to virtual lessons? Should you choose an online whiteboard or a traditional blackboard? There are no perfect answers to these questions that will provide solutions for everybody because the decision for the best educational method depends on many factors: from the subjects and the topics of the lessons to the preferred learning methods. We can also add to these factors accessibility to technologies and even the current world situation with all of the unexpected events, such as a global pandemic.
One of the best ways to get more of the benefits of different educational methods is to choose blended learning. This hybrid form of studying has a lot of advantages for both students and teachers. Blended learning offers great flexibility for studying, organizing classes, and much more, and it provides broader access to multiple resources for students and teachers. There are countless variations of this hybrid method of learning which makes it difficult to define in just a few sentences. In general, this is a form of studying that incorporates both face-to-face interaction between the teacher and the student and online learning activities that are carried out either during the live sessions or during the students’ independent studies at their own pace. Blended learning is suitable for both synchronous and asynchronous education, depending on the particular programs, goals, accessibility to the internet and technologies, etc.
The forced transition to online studying due to the global pandemic that has chaned the world over the past year has increased the interest towards blended learning even more; hence, the demand for more effective and easy-to-use tools. One tool that is becoming an essential part of the virtual learning experience is the online whiteboard. Its user-friendly interface and wide array of features help ease the transition to teaching and studying in a virtual classroom.
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How do you use the online whiteboard for blended learning?
The online whiteboard is a marvelous virtual tool for collaboration activities. It is a software solution that can be used by multiple participants at the same time. It creates a great environment for all kinds of group activities, creative projects, brainstorming sessions, and much more.
- Interaction and team player skills – Use it in the traditional classroom when teaching to both online and on-site students. The online whiteboard becomes the shared space for working on assignments in real time. Teachers can use it for various group activities by grouping together online students and on-site students. For example, the teacher is teaching in real time to students who are on site in the classroom and to students who are participating online. Both groups of students have access to the online whiteboard where the teacher is presenting the lesson. The on-site students are connecting through devices on their desks while the online students are connecting through devices at home. The teacher can give various tasks for working in groups in breakout rooms where each group works on a separate online whiteboard. The opportunity for real-time interaction makes it easy for the teacher to create mixed groups between the online and the on-site students, thus improving the collaboration skills of the classmates and making everyone feel included.
- Creative projects and activities – Blended learning creates the perfect opportunity to use the advantages of both traditional and online learning and to adjust the content accordingly. Lab experiments, for example, are definitely more appropriate for the classroom. The online whiteboard, on the other hand, is a great tool for lessons and activities that include creativity and interactive exercises where everyone contributes with ideas through doodling, writing, and creating content, such as storytelling exercises, etc.
- Brainstorming and discussions – Brainstorming sessions are awesome activities for boosting student engagement. The online whiteboard offers a variety of features that the participants can use to express their ideas in the form of writing, typing, doodling, creating diagrams, or adding images and pictures. Having access to an abundance of sources and various content is one of the greatest benefits of blended learning.
- Creating content and lesson planning and preparation
The online whiteboard is a tool that can be used both by students for studying independently and by teachers for lesson preparation.
- Using the features to create materials – The ability to include various types of content on the online whiteboard is of great help when explaining difficult concepts or preparing interesting and engaging activities like games, quizzes, interactive exercises, etc.
- Use a large variety of sources of content beyond the walls of the classroom
- Videos, presentations, animations, and interactive content – The easy access to various types of interactive materials and content allows for more interesting and engaging lessons and that, in turn, means more extraordinary learning experiences for the students. The online whiteboard is the common digital space where one can share videos, presentations, animations, etc., and encourage the participants to make notes, express ideas, and start discussions. The incorporation of multiple digital resources makes online learning more accessible for diverse groups of learners.
- Fun activities
Learning can be fun. In fact, the more fun it is, the more engaging it is. The online whiteboard is the tool you need for more enjoyable and exciting lessons and activities as part of blended learning.
- Games and challenges – Games are fun at any age. The diverse activities that blended learning allows for make this method more engaging, effective, and inspiring for students. The online whiteboard can become the digital space for playing simple games like Hangman, icebreakers like Two Truths and a Lie, or one can use the space for challenges and even storytelling activities. The participants have plenty of tools at their disposal, like brushes, typing texts, drawing, and adding photos and images to participate in the activities.
- Mind mapping (idea collection) – This brainstorming activity is ideal for the creative sessions on the online whiteboard as part of blended learning because of the ability to use a lot of different materials to add to the mind maps. It is also appropriate for various topics. Teachers can use it to reinforce the studied material from previous lessons and encourage students to add new ideas and facts to the topics.
Blended learning is one of the most successful educational methods today as it brings together the benefits of both online education and the in-person lessons for more personalized, flexible, and engaging experiences for students. It can be applied to many different variations, including asynchronous learning, especially in schools and places where access to the internet and technologies for live online learning sessions is more limited.