Tech Thursday- a review of Google Jamboard

When we turned to remote learning at the beginning of the pandemic, we laboured through technical issues and worked relentlessly to ensure that students could continue their education seamlessly. We went through countless tutorials of Microsoft teams and collaborated on which tools would be most apt for various age groups. All the teams was a blessing to us as educators learning to adapt to the new online environment, we did struggle with involving students in collaborative activities. Working in groups is a very important part of the IB curriculum and develops a variety of skills in students such as their social skills, thinking skills, communication skills, and so much more. With such an integral part of our planners and curriculum left bear, we too felt the lack of mingling and socialisation between the students. Keeping in mind that the students had just gone into lockdown, it was of utmost importance that we still gave them the chance to speak with each other in smaller groups, share their thoughts, as it was an outlet for them during those strange times. When I came across Google jam board I was ecstatic at the thought of being able to have a collaborative activity that the students could participate in creatively. When our ICT team approached us with this new tool, I lapped up all the knowledge that I could and was determined to make it a successful endeavour. Teams already had a collaborative space, but we found our efforts thwarted there As our Mischievous third graders would randomly delete other students work. We could not keep the students accountable and thus had to abandon and devils on the collaborative space. Google jam board seems to provide a creative outlet for collaboration and I hope that it would be a better tech tool. I began by introducing the Google jam board during a social and emotional lesson wherein I asked the students to find a meme that describe how they were feeling that morning or even put up a sticky note that described whether they were raring to go or still in their pyjamas. It was easy enough to create a Google jam board, I do feel that it possesses a certain ease of access that educators can take to easily. Jam board can be created on the spur of the moment and shared almost instantly and do not require any kind of sign in from the students. My students were excited at the thought of doing something creative and expressing themselves through a meme or sticky note that they could personalise. They began working on the Google jam board and I could see flurries of movement as a Google jam board updated the progress and reflected changes by the students. It was very interesting for all of us to be able to read the inputs given by all of The students all together. However my joy quickly turned to consternation as my students began exclaiming that their work was disappearing or being moved somewhere without their consent. I found that I had no control over their work and instead we found ourselves at the mercy of a mysterious third grader who had decided to play around with the jam board. I suppose he was trying to communicate that he was in a playful mood that morning, however, for the rest of us it turned out to be an irksome endeavour as squeals of joy turn to wheels of anguish. I had to abandon ship on the project fairly quickly as some of the work was getting deleted and students were working themselves up and began throwing accusations around the classroom as to who the culprit could be. After this experience I feel that Google jam board is the ultimate collaboration tool for older children or perhaps even adults in workshops, but I would not recommend it for students that are younger and do not understand boundaries.I hope that Google jam board has introduced some updates to a software wherein students who post or accountable for their actions or that the creator of the jam board can see the changes made to the jam board and identify which person has deleted or edited material. Once this is done I believe that it will be a fabulous tool for collaboration even for the younger ones.

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