Technology Integration

Alternatives to Google Jamboard

Although Google is sunsetting Jamboard, there are plenty of other online whiteboards out there for teachers. Here are some to try.

November 28, 2023
Westend61 on Offset / Shutterstock

“Google Jamboard is winding down.” This is the message that Google sent to educators, giving them until December 31, 2024, to make some decisions about how and where they want to migrate their Jam data. This certainly is a shock to educators who have become comfortable and confident in Jamboard integration with staff and students. There are a number of options for replacing Jamboard, which can feel overwhelming. How can educators know what will work best for schools, teachers, and students? To make this decision, it’s important to consider what programs you have access to at your school site, the age of your students, and the activities that you previously used Jamboard to support. 

Google has recommended the following whiteboard applications: FigJam by Figma, Lucidspark by Lucid, and Miro. All of these can sync with Google Meet, which is useful for remote and hybrid teaching. 

FigJam by Figma is a free online whiteboard with a wide set of collaboration and creative options. FigJam has internal timers, voting options, templates, stickers, widgets, plug-ins, and more. Unlike Jamboard, FigJam allows embedded video, media, and other links. Figma and FigJam have become popular with educators. There is also a button in FigJam that allows you to import your downloaded Jamboard PDFs, and it separates or extracts out each board in your Jamboard automatically. When you create a Figma for Education account, you will also gain access to Figma that allows for realistic prototyping that may benefit MakerSpace, graphic design, engineering, computer science, and other classes.

Lucidspark by Lucid provides many of the same options as found in Jamboard with additional commenting features, voting, and collaborative options. The platform Lucidspark is free for educators and presents a library of templates and seamless integration options with many other digital platforms. Lucidspark allows the educator to support and moderate discussions using their collaborator controls.

Templates in the library are curated by educators, for educators, and there are lessons posted to support these. Lucidspark lets you import your PDF Jamboards, and when you import, you can navigate through the PDF pages. You can also download a picture file of one Jamboard Slide and upload that into Lucidspark if you prefer to see a separate, individual Jamboard Slide. 

Miro is another option that is designed for collaborative whiteboard with options for diagramming, data visualization, and feedback. Miro is built to integrate with a variety of applications that may be utilized at your school. You can drag your Jamboard PDFs to a Miro Board and then will need to navigate to the page you want to view or extract the pages to separate them. Educators may individually sign up and have up to 100 students. There is a cost for integration at the institution level. 

These three options are the ones that Google has suggested as replacements. It’s important for you as a teacher to first check if your school or district has made a decision about the replacement that may work best. These three options have some overlap. They all will let you and your students collaborate. Figma has a look that often appeals to students with a variety of templates and widgets, Lucidspark has an educational focus on diagramming, and Miro prides itself on app integration. 

Other Options to Consider 

If you’re looking beyond the three suggestions above, here are some tools that might feel familiar to students and be particularly useful for younger learners.

Kami has collaborative learning and whiteboarding tools, accessibility features, integrations, and some specific tools built for teachers and students. One of the biggest differences is that Kami provides increased security options, including allowing the teacher to turn off particular features for students. Students can add annotations and can only alter their own text. They cannot move or delete the work added by another student. The teacher can move and delete something from a student. Kami has a free version and upgrade options. 

Canva is another option that may work really well for schools, teachers, and students. Many schools may already have students and staff using Canva in a variety of creative capacities, so it might not feel just like one more thing. Digital whiteboards in Canva help you capture ideas and give you infinite space to collaborate. Use a template to brainstorm or plan out a project and stay in Canva to create the project itself. 

There are two ways you can also import PDFs into Canva. The first step is to download your Jamboard as a PDF. If you want your project to still look like a Jamboard with separate slides, navigate to Projects and click Add New, Upload, then click on the file. Each board of the Jamboard imports as a Canva Slide. You can search for sticky notes in the elements and add as needed. If you want to add the Jamboards to a whiteboard, click the whiteboard option in the main menu in Canva, click a blank whiteboard or another template, and then import the PDF, and all of the boards can be brought into one collaborative space.

Finally, if you want to remain in a Google workspace with buttons that may already be familiar to you, Google Slides is an option. One of the reasons why educators appreciated Jamboard was the simplified tool set for collaboration, and this is available in Slides as well.

If you want to use Slides, you will need to save each frame as an image. Then you can put each image on a slide. If you want to mimic the look of a Jamboard, you need to create the shapes that replicate sticky notes, add text, and draw lines and use scribble features.

Although it is a challenge that Jamboard is sunsetting, the good news is that there are many options available to educators. The questions are, what will integrate best with the tools already used in the classroom, what will increase creative output and brainstorming, and what is appropriate for the age of students in the classroom?

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