So here we are in 2021 and most of us are still teaching remotely, at least part of the time. I know one pretty universal issue many educators are facing in this environment is engagement with our students. For those who are used to teaching in a traditional face-to-face classroom setting, it seems that every step we take away from that has the ability to take us farther from engagement.
I found a simple and inexpensive non-technical tool that I found was helpful to me – a simple, portable whiteboard! When I set this up and started using it, I instantly felt more like I was teaching in a classroom. The students reacted positively and I felt like there was more engagement.
The board I am using in this video comes with three legs so it stands up easily, tripod-style, and the third leg can easily be ‘collapsed' so that the board can then be put out of the way, to be taken out again and used when ready. It also came with some markers, a tray, and a cloth. It is also magnetic and came with some magnets to hold documents. Right now it is selling for less than $60 on Amazon (https://amzn.to/3sEfHQa).
Of course, for this to work well, you will need to have a decent web cam that can pick up what you are writing, and good lighting. I happen to be using a Logitech Conference Cam BCC950 (https://amzn.to/3p05cUU). This is a little pricey ($225 at the moment) but was very much worth it because of it's ability to Zoom in and out and easily be relocated. You may very well not need anything this fancy – a simpler webcam may work fine.
I hope this is helpful to some readers and wish us all the best of luck as we find our way through 2021 and beyond! Stay well and keep striving to keep those students engaged.