Tip Sheet: Google Jamboards Guide

Google Jamboards are a collaborative whiteboard space. You can share them with students so that they can join you in whiteboarding, or so that they can work with each other in groups.

When to Use Jamboards

Because Google Jamboards are collaborative, they can come in handy whenever you want more than one voice to be represented on a whiteboard. That could be during a synchronous class session on Zoom—perhaps you want students to react to an in-class prompt or otherwise engage with each other live, in the moment—or it could happen asynchronously, with student contributions accumulating in the Jamboard over time. Some possible activities include brainstorming around a creative problem, mapping out a concept and its connected ideas, or icebreaker activities (e.g., students share images and words that describe them or their academic experience, work together to try to draw an object representing the course, riff on one another’s additions, etc.). Because a Jamboard is a flexible and visually interesting medium, it can also be used by individuals to create complex representations of ideas or plans that can then be shared with others.

How to Use Jamboards

1. In your Chrome browser (and logged in with your Georgetown email account), go to the square of nine dots to the left of your profile picture in the top right corner. If you hover over this, it will say Google Apps. Scroll down quite a ways until you get to Jamboard. 

2. Click on Jamboards. Then select the orange circle with a white plus mark in it in the lower right of the screen.

3. Once the Jamboard opens, it operates just like a Google doc in the sense that you can make changes to the Jamboard, and so can anyone else with whom you’ve shared the Jamboard. Given that, make sure your sharing settings are set to “editor, available to Georgetown University” and then you can paste the link in a Zoom chat for your students or email it to them.

4. If you want several Jamboards to be available—perhaps you’d put the students into smaller groups and each group would work on its own Jamboard—go to the top of the screen and click on the right arrow to create additional pages until you have one per group. (The maximum number of pages is twenty.)

5. The tools available in a Jamboard are located on the left side of the screen. They are, from top to bottom, a pen (you can change the color and the quality of the marks created), an eraser, a pointer, sticky notes (colorful notes you can type text on and move around), images (you can upload images to the jamboard), shapes, text boxes, and a laser pointer (which makes temporary lines that can allow you to emphasize other elements on the Jamboard).

6. These Jamboards can be saved as PDF or JPG files, which can be especially helpful if students need to submit their work (e.g., for a Canvas assignment or in a discussion thread).

7. The best way to get to know the features of Google Jamboard is to play with them—and that’s true both for you and for your students.

Considerations and Limitations

  • Jamboards may prove tricky for large classes, as the maximum number of users on a Jamboard is 50. You may want to divide a large lecture class by an alphabetical system (Last Names A – K on one Jamboard, and so on) or other subdivisions.  
  • Also, although this is a collaborative tool, there can be a very small (but not zero) amount of lag time between a student making a contribution to the Jamboard and it being visible to everyone else. If the student has connectivity issues, that can of course exacerbate this issue, or even, if severe enough, make it hard for students to engage with Jamboards at all.