Tools and Strategies for Digital Whiteboards

In this article

Digital whiteboards can be used by instructors and students to enable authentic, real-time annotations in much the same way whiteboards or blackboard are used for demonstrating mathematical formulas and scientific equations during a lecture in the traditional classroom. This article reviews steps for sharing digital input on whiteboards associated with the Zoom and Webex desktop clients and Google’s Jamboard.

Use your iPad or iPhone to share with a whiteboard with the Zoom desktop client

Using an iPad or iPhone as an extension of a Zoom meeting can facilitate real-time annotation and screen recording during an online class session. Zoom allows you to share wirelessly for both Mac and PC, using iOS Screen Mirroring, or you can connect your iOS device to your Mac computer with a cable to share. You can also share your entire iOS device screen using Screen Sharing on iOS 11 or later.

Share your screen with screen mirroring

Prerequisites for screen mirroring:

NOTE: Some types of videos cannot be shared when using Screen Mirroring.

  1. In your Zoom Client Meeting, click Share Screen.
  2. Choose iPhone/iPad. Optional: If you would like to share your phone audio into the meeting, check Share computer sound.
  3. Click Share.


  4. If prompted, choose to install the plug-in.
  5. On your iPad, swipe down from the upper right to access the control center. Tap Screen Mirroring.

    iPad control center screen 

  6. Choose the Zoom-your computer option.

    Choose your zoom computer

  7. Your iPad/iPhone is now shared in the meeting. Tap anywhere on the periphery of the Screen Mirroring box to return to your iPad desktop.
  8. Start the same meeting on your iPad/iPhone, if needed.  
    NOTE: If you have difficulty connecting by this method, it is recommended to use the wired connection (option 1B0, or contact the Service Desk.

Share your screen with a wired connection 

Prerequisites for wired sharing:


  1. In your Zoom meeting, click Share Screen
  2. Choose iPhone/iPad.
  3. Click Share.
  4. Attach your iPad/iPhone with a wired connection.
  5. You will get an Install Plugin prompt. Allow plugin to install. 
  6. A display confirms the network, your name and the name of your Zoom client. Start the same meeting on your iPad/iPhone, if needed. 
  7. Optional: If you would like to share your phone audio into the meeting, check Share computer sound.
  8. Click Share Screen.
    NOTE: Connect your iPhone or iPad via cable. This can  be done before you begin the meeting.  If prompted on the iOS device, select Trust.
  9. Start the same meeting. Your iPad/iPhone is now shared into the same meeting. You must select, on the iPad, what to share. See Step 2.

iPad/iPhone screen sharing the iPad whiteboard in the meeting

Whether you use wired connections or Airplay connections, the iPad/iPhone also has settings to allow the entire surface of the mobile device to display in the meeting, instead of just a little window.

  1. Open the Zoom app on your device.
  2. Make certain that you are logged into the meeting. Your iPad/iPhone will show up in the meeting as a co-host. 
  3. Chose which type of audio connection, if any, you will be using with this connection. 
  4. After the audio is selected, your name will appear in the middle of the screen with a spinning spiral. Your mobile device is now connected, but waiting for you to select something to share. 
  5. Click the Share Content button in the upper right.

    Selection menu available from Share Content button

  6. From the list, select Whiteboard.
  7. Start Share window.  A pop-up window notifies you that other shares will be stopped if you continue. Click Yes. This shares the iPad with all others in the meeting. You can allow others to annotate. Saving is in the lower right. 

Tips for successful whiteboard interactive lessons using Zoom iPad/iPhone

Update your settings – Go to and update the Whiteboard settings so that participants can easily share on the Whiteboard. These settings can be changed at any time.

Whiteboards in the Breakout Rooms – Whiteboards cannot be shared in the breakout rooms. Students can complete an assignment on the Whiteboard. One student starts a Whiteboard and allows others to annotate using Remote Control tool in their navigation bar. This can be saved as a picture and can be shared in the main meeting room. 


Use the Webex whiteboard with a mobile device

If you are using the Webex app on a mobile device, the whiteboard feature in conjunction with a stylus can readily replicate the functionality of writing on the board in a traditional classroom. See Guide for Using WebEx on a Mobile Device to learn more about the Webex Meetings app, in general.

The Whiteboard tool enables you to draw, write equations or add text and shapes to a shared document or on a blank whiteboard. You can also save the whiteboards for future reference.

  1. Sign in to the Webex Meetings app on your mobile device. Then, swipe left to My Meetings.
  2. View a list of all your scheduled meetings.
  3. Click a meeting. Then, click Start to start a Webex session from your device.  

Share a whiteboard during a meeting

  1. Click the Share Content button via the quick access toolbar located at the bottom of the Webex meeting screen.
  2. Select Whiteboard to share a whiteboard. The new whiteboard is shared in the meeting.

    WebEx Meeting buttons. Share Content button identified in field of option buttons

Annotate a whiteboard during a Webex meeting

When you annotate on a whiteboard, it is much easier to use a stylus. Practice using the stylus before using the Webex whiteboard live in a course.

The host and presenter have the control over the whiteboard and can enable any participant to use the whiteboard in a session. The following are the annotation tools available on a whiteboard.

WebEx Annotation tool panel

  1. pencil icon Pencil and Pen tool: Click to select the tool. Click again to select the color.
  2. text icon Text tool: Select the tool. Then, click where you’d like to type in the whiteboard. Type in the text box.
  3. eraser icon Eraser tool: Click on the eraser. Then, click on the content to delete. Click the eraser again to select one of the four different clearing options.
     Eraser tool with options revealed: Clear my Pointer, Clear All Pointers, Clearn My Annotations, Clear All Annotations
  4. arrow pointer Arrow Point tool: Click to select the tool. Click again to select between Arrow Pointer and Laser Pointer. This tool is used to draw attention to specific points on the screen.

    arrow tool types

  5. draw icon Draw attention to part of the screen by drawing borders around it.
  6. 3 ellipses save icon Save the Whiteboard: Click the 3 dots to save the Whiteboard annotations. The annotated whiteboard will be saved as a picture to the Photos in your device which can be shared to your participants in your future Webex meetings.


Use Google Jamboard as an interactive whiteboard

Google’s Jamboard is an interactive classroom whiteboard created for face-to-face learning. However, the Google Workspace app works with laptops, tablets and smart phones, which makes it excellent for virtual collaboration in synchronous online courses.


  1. To begin, choose Jamboard from the Google app waffle or type the URL in your browser.

    Jamboard app featured in graphic list of Google apps

  2. If this is your first time in Jamboard, you will see a prompt indicating you don’t have any jams yet. To open your first session, click on the plus sign in the lower right corner.

    Add new Jamboard plus sign icon 

  3. Click on Untitled Jam in the upper left corner of the page and you will see the following:

    Add Jamboard title

  4. Give your Jam a name and click on OK.
  5. Just above the workspace are menu selections for undo, zoom, Background or Clear Frame. Choose alternate backgrounds for the Jam including; dots, lines, grids or darker colors.
  6. Insert additional frames by clicking on the forward arrow in the frames tool.
    Insert additional frames. click on forward arrow in frames tool represented
  7. Use the Share button on the upper right to create a link or to individually invite participants by sending them an email. You choose if you want students to be able to edit the jam with you or view only. The Pen tool has 4 brush sizes and six colors to choose from. It interacts with a mouse, finger and stylus (depending on your operating system).
    • The Eraser is just under the pen.
    • The Arrow is a selection tool for moving or resizing items in your frame.
    • The Sticky note tool works like virtual post-it notes. You can select a variety of colors for your notes, edit, move, and resize them.
    • The Add image tool allows you to upload images from your own photos, drives, or from Google Image Search.
    • The bottom icon represents a Laser pointer tool.
  8. No need to save your project. The next time you access your Jamboard application, you will see thumbnails of all your projects and be allowed to edit them or create new jams.

Accessibility considerations before implementing Jamboard in your classroom 

Contact if you need support with accessibility of your courses. 

See also How to use Google Jamboard for a quick video guide.