Thoughts on using the Google Jamboard App

© Robert A. Buckmaster 2022

The Google Jamboard App is a genuinely useful Google tool that allows users to creatively organize, format, and present information through text, images, shapes, and drawings.

It is Google’s version of an online collaborative whiteboard. Even though I dislike G-Mail and Google Docs, I like Jamboard. It is easy to use with a short learning curve, can be shared with people without Google account and up to 50 people can work on a ‘jam’, at a time. And obviously the people who thought up the name have some insight into jazz, which is all to the good.

Here is one idea of how to use Jamboard to develop oral fluency and practice a variety of verb forms.

My Best Friend

Prepare a slide like the one below on Jamboard. The yellow notes are made with the sticky notes tool (there are other colours available), and the picture is easily imported into the Jamboard.

My Best Friend Activity – First Slide

Obviously, the students should be able to produce sentences on these topics. The materials should not be completely new. The tasks should be within their capabilities but they should need more practice to develop their familiarity with the language and their fluency at recalling it and producing it.

You should model a talk about your ‘best friend’ using the sticky notes as prompts:

This is my best friend George. As you know he is an actor. We met near Lago di Como, where he has a house…….

Each student is then assigned a page and their task is to find a picture of a person and prepare a talk about their ‘best friend’. They will have to switch backwards and forwards between this page and their page as they do the task and this will develop their memory.

When they are ready, they talk about their best friend.

You make notes and give feedback on their performance.

That’s it.

There are some options though.

The first time you do this task you could ask them to write sentences about the topics on the sticky notes and put them on the slides. You can then correct these with the students watching, after their talk, or before their talk.

The second time you can ask them to only make notes of the key information for each point.

The third time, they can only use a picture and have to introduce their (third) ‘best friend’ without language prompts.

This is an endlessly repeatable task. It can also be used for other topics like, ‘my best ever holiday’, ‘my dream holiday, ‘my dream house’ and so on.