Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Apps to Make Your iPad a Digital Whiteboard

In my kindergarten classroom, I loved using iPads as a digital whiteboard for students during process spelling and math time. Using the right app on the iPads can replace the need for individual whiteboards, erasers and expensive dry erase markers.  Even if you don't have enough iPads for each kid to use one, you could allow some of your students to do their work on the iPads, while others use the traditional dry erase boards. It makes it something special that they can earn! Another thing I love is that it's easy to share work by using a tool like Reflector 2 - as I walked around the classroom, if I noticed an amazing example to share, I could reflect that student's iPad to my computer and project for all students to see quickly and easily.

Continue reading for a list of my favorite whiteboard apps. If you have one that you like, please add it in the comments below!

Hello Crayons is a free app that allows students to use a variety of drawing tools to color and/or write onto a blank space.  This app works great for whiteboard work, as well as creating illustrations for student work. It does have coloring pages, so set expectations for which tools can and cannot be used.
Paint Sparkles is a free app that the students absolutely love because of it's fun color choices and sparkles. However, it is LOUD. Be sure to have the sound turned down on the students' iPads, or you'll hear a constant stream of colors being shouted at you. It also has coloring pages, which I only allowed my students to use on rare occasions (they could color a picture, post to Kidblog and write about it). This would be a fun option to have on hand to for a Fun Friday whiteboard activity, but maybe not everyday use.
Doodle Buddy is another fun, free app that allows the students to use a blank space for writing. It works great for whiteboard work. I also use this app for a variety of other projects, because there is a typing option and it's easy to save student work to post to a digital journal. It does feature some backgrounds and some stamps (that make funny sounds) so again, this app needs to be monitored with expectations set. 

If you're looking for a basic, free whiteboard app, I would recommend the basic versions of Lensoo Create or ShowMe. Lensoo Create should be included on all PLTW iPads already, so would be an easy option.  They are both interactive whiteboard apps that allow students to record, as well.  If you're working with older students, I think these are great options. Younger students may prefer the options above.  
If you're working with younger learners and want the option to record what they're writing during whiteboard time, I would suggest (you're not going to be surprised here) ... Seesaw!  Use the record while draw tool in Seesaw and it will create a video of what they're writing (and saying) to post to their journals.
If you're using the iPad as a whiteboard, it's important to think about having styluses available in your classroom so students are writing while gripping a writing tool.  Next up will be a blog post about styluses!


  1. I went to an excellent PLC training in Sheridan this summer and their schools use the app "Explain Everything". Seems super powerful and I am hoping to use it this year too!

    1. Mandy, that's a great one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I really loved reading your thoughts; obviously you know what you are talking about! Your site is so easy to use too, I’ve bookmark it in my folder.
    projector screens for sale nz