When you think of e-learning, you might not associate it with paper and pencil, but many students also now use  different new tools in addition to their course content for learning online. An alternative to the traditional method that is gaining popularity in education is the use of whiteboards, or non-permanent surfaces, to replace pencil and paper. Whiteboards are a fun, effective, and different way to communicate.

Whiteboards provide unique opportunities, ones that encourage us to try several methods that we might not try with a pencil and paper. Tried something that didn’t quite work? No problem! Just erase it and start again. Don’t crumple up your efforts and throw them into the trash because, really, your mistakes are part of learning and should not be wasted.

Here are some ways to incorporate whiteboards into your online learning experience:

1. Mathematics

Solving a complicated math problem can be a daunting task, especially if you cannot visualize the entire process. Sometimes writing down the first line of the solution leads to the second line, and before you know it, you’ve solved the unsolvable problem. By using a whiteboard in place of a pencil and paper, you become less worried about making mistakes. Writing down that first line doesn’t seem so impossible anymore. Try using a whiteboard when working through Examples, Self Exercises and Tests in your math course. It is much easier to erase a whiteboard than it is to change half a sheet of paper.  So, grab your whiteboard and start solving the unsolvable!


2. Language

Brainstorming for your next A+ paper? Try making a mind map on a window. A window is not usually viewed as a writable surface, but what better way to bring out your creativity than looking outside your window. Don’t have a whiteboard or window handy? Buy a shower curtain from the dollar store, and secure it to your wall. Use this to make a word wall or glossary of all of the new terms you are learning in a unit. Then, when you go to write your stellar paper, the writing’s on the wall!


3. Science

Using a Whiteboard in science is a great way to consolidate your learning. For example, when learning about Convection, Conduction, and Radiation, create a table or Venn diagram on your whiteboard to compare and contrast these three types of heat transfers. Once you have completed your table, take a picture, and upload it to your ePortfolio using the ePortfolio App!


Try one of these suggestions, or show us how creative you are when using whiteboards in your online course! Join the conversation on social media by using #VEStips and #VHStips.

emilyEmily Douwes is a Curriculum Developer in our Mathematics department at Virtual High School (VHS) as well as a Co-Coordinator with Virtual Elementary School (VES). Emily is passionate about providing students with an education that inspires them to solve problems and think critically about the world around them.