Whiteboards are easy and simple to use. After all, all you need to do is to use some dry erase markers and write or draw whatever you want.
They are very simple and cost effective education tools, which is why many institutions of learning are switching over to them, rather than staying with the old chalk boards.
Chalk boards get really dirty and impossible to clean after a while; chalk is wasteful, and chalkboards are super heavy and expensive. Either way, you still need to use the whiteboard effectively in order to get any message across, which is what we are here to help with today.
Keep Your Writing Neat
One of the biggest tips to follow in effectively using a whiteboard is to always be very neat. If something isn’t written neatly enough, it’s better to just rub it out and write it again.
If students in the room cannot read what you have written, how are the supposed to learn from it, let alone understand it in the first place?
All too often students will copy down the wrong information or misspell words because the person writing on the whiteboard is not neat enough. Your writing can be chicken scratch for your own notes, but don’t force students to suffer having to try and decipher your hieroglyphs.
Make It Big
Another tip that you to follow in using a whiteboard is to keep your writing large. The larger the room you are in, and the more people there are who need to read your writing from a distance, the larger your writing should be. It is similar to our first point of keeping things neat, but you can be neat while writing large.
It’s better to use more space for less writing, and then erase it and write your next points, instead of trying to cram everything together.
The next tip is to use colors and to coordinate them well. For instance, for one type of point, such as new vocab, you can use black, for sentences use blue, and for points you want to emphasize, use red.
It’s important to always stick to a solid color scheme that you will use over and over again. Not only is it important to coordinate the colors, but also to choose the right ones.
From a distance, and even from close, some colors, like pink, yellow, and neon green just cannot be easily seen at all. Darker and bolder colors such as blue, green, orange, red, and black always work quite well for a whiteboard.
This goes back to both of our first 2 points, but is still a separate point on its own. When you write anything on the whiteboard, you should print it. If possible, use all capital letters and use a block letter format.
You do not want to use cursive writing because it can be hard to see and to discern from a distance.
Also, make no mistake about it, nowadays as everybody uses computers, students really are not taught to use cursive anymore, so if you use it for your whiteboard, you may as well be using a different alphabet altogether. Most younger people just won’t be able to read your cursive writing, even if it is large and neat, so only print your letters.
Keep It at a Good Pace
One thing which annoys a lot of students is a professor who moves too fast. Students should be able to keep up with some fairly fast-paced action, but some professors and teachers overdo it with the whole speediness thing.
Keep things nice and slow for the most part, or at least slow enough to allow students to copy it all down. If you notice that the majority of the students are not really listening to your words, and are just scrambling to keep up with you, slow down a bit.
There is no point in going too fast if nobody can keep up with the information you are trying to pass on to them.
On the other hand, if you notice students are distracted and losing attention, you might be going too slow; find a pace that suits everyone involved; you want your student to get the material, but you don’t want them falling asleep during lecture.
Ask Before Erasing and Photos
The final tip that we want to provide you with here in order to use a whiteboard effectively is a two-pronged tip. First of all, going back to our point about working at a moderate pace, make sure that all students have totally completed copying down whatever you have on the whiteboard before you erase it and move on.
Not all students work at the same pace, but all should be given the equal and fair chance to copy down all of the info.
For this reason, many teachers and professors will use 2 whiteboards. This way, one whiteboard has the old information on it in case somebody has not caught up yet. At any rate, always make sure to ask the students if they are ready for you to erase the information.
On that same note, another good idea is to have students take pictures of the whiteboard before you erase it or before the end of the day’s lesson.
This way, even if they did not get the chance to copy down every last word, they will at least have a picture of it for their own reference. And on a side note, everybody has smartphones today, so this should not be a problem.
At the end of the day, if you follow these six main tips on how to use a whiteboard effectively, both you and your students should be happy at the end of every lesson.