Testimonial from Karen Fogden
Karen Fogden, a Mathematics teacher at The Cherwell School, Oxford, England, tells us about her experiences with Whiteboard.fi
What subject(s) do you teach?
What grade(s) do you teach?
Year 9-13 in the UK, so students aged 14 to 18 years old.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
I have used Whiteboard.fi over the last few months to help manage teaching classes of 30 students whilst being based as the teacher, at home. I wanted to use a platform that made the lessons feel as similar as possible to in-school learning from the students’ point of view and as reassuring as possible from my point of view to mitigating all the other technological uncertainties that teachers were managing lesson, by lesson.
How did you originally discover Whiteboard.fi?
During the first few months of this academic year, I tried, along with other colleagues, many different platforms and this is the one that I chose and I am delighted to have made that choice. No regrets!
What are your main scenarios and objectives for using Whiteboard.fi?
Before a lesson, I can prepare the skeleton of what the hour-long lesson will look like. For students with special needs, the slides can then be easily pdf-ed and sent in advance. This makes the lesson feel very familiar when I annotate them during the discussion of the lesson. Used in conjunction with a platform for sharing the skeleton and annotated whiteboards before and after a lesson, for all students, makes reviewing ideas afterward, including for students who missed a lesson, really easy.
Having been working in-school for many months, where at 5 minutes notice the lesson may need to be live-streamed for students who had been set home, I wanted to have a set-up which I would be using in the classroom day to day as normal and then the addition of joining the lesson remotely would pose no additional burden for the students or for me. Using Whiteboard.fi is now my normal way of working, having written on a whiteboard in the classroom for 25 years.”
What is the best thing about using Whiteboard.fi in a classroom setting?
When I write on Whiteboard.fi my handwriting looks like it does on a real whiteboard. I am never without a board pen (as long as I have my graphics tablet!). Students appreciate being able to ‘go back a page’ – once a static whiteboard is wiped, there’s no going back.
What overall improvements have you seen with Whiteboard.fi?
It was a great step forward when ‘folders’ were introduced so that I could store the different whiteboards for different classes. I would be delighted to see folders within folders in the future.
List some improvements you have recorded. For example, have your students’ grades improved?
Students commented after remote learning ‘your lessons have been the most like normal lessons’.
How would you feel if you could no longer use Whiteboard.fi? Why?
I would feel completely wrong-footed and underprepared to cope with the various scenarios thrown our way each day1
Before Whiteboard.fi, which solutions did you use for those scenarios, and what was challenging?
In a classroom before covid, I would have written on the static whiteboard in the classroom which then would be lost afterward. In summer 2020 I tried using several other types of other software, but Whiteboard provides the smoothest writing surface with no glitches. The variable writing width and eraser options are in my opinion the best that I have found.
What do your students love most about Whiteboard.fi?
Using the ‘push’ function to engage students during remote learning was fantastic. Whilst they didn’t have a graphics tablet to write with like I did, their mouse could draw lines to link items together. The speed at which this was happening meant that they didn’t have time to communicate out of my sight about the ‘right’ answer and so I felt that I got a more genuine snapshot of what they could individually do. I used the saved evidence from this to help for judgements about levels of progress.
What would you recommend to other teachers who are only starting to use Whiteboard.fi?
- Label the names of your whiteboards using a future-proof and clearly thought-through system that enables you to find them easily.
- Don’t try to write too much on each screen.
- Leave occasional blank pages to cope with unplanned asides.
What are your favorite Whiteboard.fi features and why?
I love the eraser and the cleanness of the writing pen. Also, the push function when students are working on a computer.
I enjoy the fact that this is web-based and so I can prepare a whiteboard at home and then access it at school.