Home Canva Exploring Canva Whiteboard as a Jamboard Alternative

Exploring Canva Whiteboard as a Jamboard Alternative

by Miguel Guhlin
Canva Dashboard

Wish you had an easy-to-use online whiteboard? With Google moving Jamboard to read-only mode on October 1, 2024, you may be seeking out an alternative. What digital, online whiteboard will you use with your students instead? If you are a “less is more” kind of person, you may be looking for easier tools to use than those suggested by Google (e.g., Figjam, LucidSpark, Miro). Let’s look at one you may want to know more about: Canva Whiteboard.

What is Canva Whiteboard?

Canva Dashboard

The simple-to-use Canva Whiteboard is already a part of the toolset you know and love in Canva. Canva Whiteboard offers a simple solution with powerful components, like built-in timers and more. Once you start using it, you may find yourself thanking Google for pushing you out of the Jamboard nest. Canva offers so many delightful features that are free to verified educators, and its whiteboard tool is a worthy replacement for Jamboard. Let’s walk through some of the Jamboard-compatible features Canva Whiteboard offers. Here’s a quick video overview:

Import Images or Presentations

Save your Google Jamboards as images for an easy upload to Canva Whiteboard. Or, upload any image file you’d like to use (keeping licensing and copyright in mind, of course)!

Google Jamboard content being saved as a PNG

Here’s one of my favorite activities as a Google Slide, the 3-2-1 activity (3 main ideas/words, 2 supporting details/phrases, and 1 question/quote). You can vary this activity in many ways! I can download it as an image and then upload it to my whiteboard in Canva for students to annotate. You can do this with any image you save or find.

Google Slides content being saved as a PNG
Save a Google Slide as an Image
Canva Whiteboard Image Upload
Upload Images to Canva

Get a few other Google Slides activities here that can be exported and use in an online whiteboard of your choice.

Yes, you can download presentations as PNG or image files and upload them to Canva, but wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to? In Canva Whiteboard, you can import a presentation straight from Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox and turn it into a whiteboard.

  1. Click the menu icon in the top left corner.
  2. Open Projects.
  3. Click Add New in the top right corner.
  4. Choose Import from app in the drop-down menu.
  5. Choose to import from Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox.
How to import presentations from an app in Canva

You can change it to a whiteboard in Canva by right-clicking a slide and choosing Expand to Whiteboard in the drop-down menu.

How to expland a Canva Presentation to a Whiteboard

Lock the Background

In Canva, like in Jamboard, you can lock the background. This ensures your students won’t be able to move the background around as they are using the whiteboard. Click the image and select the lock in the toolbar, or right-click the image and select the lock in the drop-down menu.

Canva lock background options
Lock an image from the Canva toolbar.

Canva image drop down menu
Lock an image from the image drop-down menu.

Duplicate a Page

Now that you have your whiteboard slide looking the way you want, you’re ready to duplicate it.

How to duplicate a page in Canva Whiteboard

When you present or share your screen, as you’ll see in a bit, these pages will become available as slides. Students can write on these slides with the Draw tools in Canva. And, since you locked the background, that should help keep certain elements unmoveable, as you can see below:

Canva Locked Background example

Additionally, you can see students working live in the document. This makes it easier to monitor progress.

Everything ready to go? Now, you can bring students into the equation to add comments and annotations. To share the Canva Whiteboard, use the Share button that appears in the top right corner of the screen.

Canva's share menu

As you can see in the image above, the “Can Comment” is enabled, but you will want to change that to Edit. Remember, you can also share a presentation in Canva for groups of students to work on!

Note: If whiteboard vandalism is a concern, then you can take a more limited approach. That is, you can share the link to a whiteboard with only that group of students or an individual student.

Share Your Whiteboard as a Template

If you’d like to share your whiteboards as editable templates with other educators, you can do so by clicking Share and then clicking the Template Link option. This makes sharing your whiteboard designs easy. The only catch? To edit the template, you need to have a Canva account. That’s not a bad thing for colleagues since Canva is free for educators and students.

Share options in Canva

When you click on the icon for the template link, you will see a link to copy:

Example template link

Here’s what sharing a whiteboard as a template link looks like. Try out this editable template of my 3-2-1 whiteboard!

Did You Know?

Canva offers a desktop app that will run on your computer. This means you can work on your computer (e.g. Windows/Mac) with Canva creations outside of your browser. Get the app.

Add Text and Content to a Whiteboard

Once your students have access to Canva Whiteboard via the Share link, they can do so much. I almost wish Canva Whiteboard offered a limited set of tools for their whiteboard or a toggle switch for the tools available to keep choices simple for younger students.

This video gives you a big-picture overview:

Like some of my colleagues, when I heard Jamboard was going away, I worried I wouldn’t find an easy-to-use replacement. Thank goodness Canva’s Whiteboard solution is available and ready to go! Here are a few more Canva Whiteboard videos to get your brain moving in the right direction:

Please share any resources or whiteboards you have created in the comments. We’d love to hear how you’re using Canva Whiteboards!

Featured Image: Screenshot by author, Canva Dashboard.

All images within this article are screenshots by the author.

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