White boarding is a term used to describe the student use of a 3’ x 2’ sheet of tile board to record group work.
White boarding was first used in physics classes (Wells, Hestenes, and Swackhamer, 1995). White boarding requires a small group of students (usually about four) to share their understanding, knowledge, and experience, in response to a specific question or problem. Each group is then required to present their findings back to the class in order to compare separate understanding and conclusions (Henry, Henry, and Riddoch, 2003).
The science department at SGJ ordered a trial set of six whiteboards to be made for one classroom. The initial feedback has been very positive among the students, hopefully, (and we are feeling confident) this will translate into improved student learning. Various classes have been using them, from MYP general science to UNAS and IB students.
Students have reported several benefits in using white boards as a tool in class. When students see their thoughts or another student’s thoughts in writing, the idea becomes more concrete, and they are more likely to develop an opinion about the idea, to agree or disagree. (Henry, Henry, and Riddoch, 2003).
Secondly they foster a classroom of cooperative learning, one of our ESLRs and they allow the students control of the learning, by creating an atmosphere in the classroom where ideas are student-generated.
Finally, the whiteboards can be erased, and thus are easy to change, students are perhaps more likely to discuss and consider ideas, knowing that they are easily revised and modifiable.
Henry, David., Henry, Julie., and Riddoch, Stephanie,. (date unknown) “White boarding your way to great student discussions: Using large whiteboards to facilitate group learning helps students communicate their ideas” Buffalo State University from http://physicsed.buffalostate.edu/pubs/Elem_whiteboarding.pdf date last retrieved 28th April 2009
Wells, M., Hestenes, D., and Swackhamer, G. (1995) “A modeling method for high school physics instruction.” American Journal of Physics, 64, 114-119.