Whiteboard.Fi is a free tool that you can use to generate a room of individual whiteboards for your students that you can monitor in a grid view. If you don’t have the pro version of PearDeck, which allows students to draw on slides, this is an alternative you may want to consider. There is no registration required for the teacher or students, so it is quick to create a room and equally easy for students to join by using the room link or a QR code.
Because there is no registration, and no tie to any credentials, students will need to type in a name when joining, so be prepared for some hijinks with nicknames if your students are prone to be silly. You can enable a waiting room where you decide whether or not to admit students, so that may help.
Once students have joined, or at any time, the teacher can “push out” images as backgrounds for whiteboards, which can be great for labeling diagrams. Or, as you can see in the picture below, this might be another way for to conduct the “Peel the Fruit” Visible Thinking Routine, where students can give individual comments for each layer on their own whiteboards.
Students can also toggle back and forth between what is displayed on the teacher whiteboard, such as a math problem, and what they are doing on their own board.
There are many tools on the menu for students -including a grid background, music background, and math symbols – that you wouldn’t find on most whiteboards. Students can also scroll down and add pages, similar to Google Jamboard.
When you are finished with your session, the teacher can download all of the whiteboard responses as a PDF, in case it is needed as a formative assessment. If the teacher has enabled it, students can also save their whiteboards as PDF’s.
I have seen some teacher comments on social media that they sometimes had technical difficulties with Whiteboard.Fi, but according to their website they have just updated their servers (9/29/2020). As with any tech tool, you should definitely try to practice it on your network ahead of time to make sure it isn’t blocked by your district and have a backup plan in case there are connectivity issues.
The creator of Whiteboard.Fi, Sebastian Laxell, offers this service and all of its features free. However, if you want to contribute to the upkeep of the site, you can subscribe on his Patreon site here.