Testimonial from Michele Richmond
Michele Richmond, a Mathematics teacher at Seckman High School in Imperial, Missouri, tells us about her experiences with Whiteboard.fi
What subject(s) do you teach?
Mathematics (CP Algebra 1; CP Algebra 2; CP Geometry)
What grade(s) do you teach?
High School 9-11th grade; CP Algebra 1, CP Algebra 2, CP Geometry…Fully virtual (~200 students full year 2020-2021)
What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
I am a veteran teacher with 27 years of experience using mainly paper/pencil format for notes, practice, and assessment for math. As a first-time fully virtual teacher it was a challenge to engage students and help them individually through our Google Meets. Technology advanced through this school year and my investigation into products revealed new ways to communicate and help. It was necessary for me to be flexible and empathetic to my students’ circumstances as well as a complete change in my instruction, formative assessment and summative assessment of student learning.
What are your main scenarios and objectives for using Whiteboard.fi?
I have used Whiteboard.fi for practice, review and formative assessments.
What is the best thing about using Whiteboard.fi in a classroom setting?
The students love the fact that I can join their board individually to answer and redirect work in a confidential way (they are not embarrassed by asking a question aloud in our meet or others knowing they are being helped).
What overall improvements have you seen with Whiteboard.fi?
I started using the Whiteboard.fi early this year and “free”. I like the paid subscription because I could set up classes with a link that was pasted into their Google Classroom. Students were able to join the class easily each time. I also like that I can join their board individually. We discovered the math equation editor which helped when wanting to type answers instead of using a mouse/pen. I liked using the “thumbs up” or “heart” to quickly give feedback when students were right. The library allowed me to save questions to use during other blocks of the same subject. Student’s felt good when I could share their board on my screen to show how to correctly work out a problem using their example. As a class warm-up, I would have students draw, use emojis or write what was on their mind so that they could let me know how they were feeling. This helped the students bond and helped me to identify the emotional climate before beginning the practice.
List some improvements you have recorded. For example, have your students’ grades improved?
Student’s practice improved because they were able to ask a question confidentially and were given feedback immediately. Students were also able to work at their own pace since I could give a remedial question or challenge question individually. The summative test scores improved overall as well.
How would you feel if you could no longer use Whiteboard.fi? Why?
Next year I plan to use Whiteboard.fi within my in person classroom. With Whiteboard.fi I can view many student’s work at one time, instead of only a few as I walk around the room while they use individual whiteboards with markers. Without Whiteboard.fi, I would have to rely on proximity and would not have the ability to give as much feedback including positive praise.
Before Whiteboard.fi, which solutions did you use for those scenarios, and what was challenging?
Before Whiteboard.fi I used actual individual-sized whiteboards. This was fine in that I could see the students all work one problem out at the same time and view while walking around the room. Students learned to view other’s work and rely on peer accuracy, instead of relying on themselves. It was challenging because some would get finished quickly and become bored while waiting for me to help a few. Now I can move those students onto the next question while still spending time with those who need it. Student’s that needed help felt embarrassed to have me beside them while now I can do so in the confidence of their own screen.
What do your students love most about Whiteboard.fi?
The students enjoyed the confidentiality allowed by using the whiteboard online instead of in front of them in the classroom. They commented on how they benefited from my ability to join their board and correct/answer their questions individually.
What would you recommend to other teachers who are only starting to use Whiteboard.fi?
After trying the free version and the upgraded version the difference was necessary! Students were able to be divided into classes, the library made it easier to use the same materials for multiple blocks, and the ability to “jump into” the individual student’s board made all the difference for me as the instructor and progress of the student learning. Copy and pasting from a problem using the “snipping” tool made questions easily accessible on the teacher’s board.
What are your favorite Whiteboard.fi features and why?
- Classes with static website addresses (I teach 7 blocks)
- “Joining” the individual student board
- Was easily accessed on PCs and IPads for students
- The “library” saved questions for future classes