Using Figjam to Make Teletherapy Easier

If you’re anything like me, organizing teletherapy resources was one of my first big hurdles.  At any given moment, I had 20+ browsers open and when I would go to access them, I would struggle to find the exact right one.  

After five minutes of searching and relogging, my student’s attention would be five classrooms away. I worked hard to implement Microsoft's OneNote and organize my favorites bar but it was always too much movement. I eventually moved to Jamboard but even that platform refused links. Then, after two years of lessons and many tutorials later, Jamboard announced its platform was closing. I was a struggling mess until I found Figjam. I am here to tell you that Figjam is the answer and a resolution to all of my frustrations.

For those unfamiliar with Figjam, it is an online whiteboard that allows interaction between co-workers and strategic teams, but most importantly educators and students. Figjam fosters teamwork, enhances organization, and promotes creative brainstorming among individuals, whether collaborating in real-time or asynchronously, with a diverse selection of design tools tailored to even the most inexperienced users. The best part is, for educators, it’s free! All you have to do is submit proof of your educational certificates and you gain access to the entire program.


Upon logging into Figjam, your first view looks rather unassuming but locked away is a variety of options that make lessons organized and interactive. To get started you have two options: utilize their many saved templates or a new design. In both cases there are design tools that make your work smarter, not harder.


I always start by sectioning my lesson, found on the bottom bar.  As a speech-language pathologist, I have a section titled discourse which gives the students and me an opportunity to share our news, pictures, feelings and I include a warm up- a "would you rather," a voting and graphing section, or a highs and lows of a particular topic. Then when that’s done, I can close the section so no one can see it. The next few sections are dependent on how I organize the particular lesson, then I always end with an exit ticket to review the goals of the session and reinforce what I would like the students to work on while they are away from me.


When inside the sections, you can section further. The section offers opportunities to title the section which I usually use as my “I can” statement. Once inside the section, there are a number of graphics available including post it notes, shape design, marker, highlighter and eraser options.  There are options to link websites for lessons, breaks for games, or insert pictures easily. The platform offers easy to use design tools to allow for alignment, inserting text and flow charts that make connecting ideas a fast application. The bottom bar offers options of creating tables, stamping, pairing shapes and post-it notes. Unlike Jamboard, there are design options of multiple colors, fonts and sizes that makes lessons more accessible to the eye and gives both the educator and student more style options.

Now that you have designed your lesson, it is time to share it with your students. The log on options are dependent on the district and their access to the program. Students can, through Figjam, log on while the educator is working and the educator can see the work concurrently or they can work asynchronously as homework or with another educator. Their name will be tagged with their work. Figjam also offers a large range of creative options to make their work unique. A timer, music, and voting system is located either at the top or left side of the screen depending on your setup. There are endless widgets, plugins, stickers and templates offered that allows your students to make their work creative while offering students a unique and fun experience. There’s options for creating a poll or voting that I like to use for exit tickets. Spinners, dice and flip a coin can be added to any lesson to make the session more interactive and keep students on their feet. When a short break is needed, we’ll use the paper-rock-scissors widget. There are endless uses and all interactive — no longer are students passively learning. 

Best of all, I am never searching for a website, relogging in or balancing multiple accounts. With a bit of planning, my session is all in front of me with one click. My brain breaks are linked, my pictures are easily uploaded, and all widgets and plugins are in one platform. Figjam offers endless boards, allowing for easy organization of lessons for groups. Simply copy, paste, and rename sections to keep everything in one place. No need for separate files for each group, now it's all in a single lesson file with sections renamed and locked for individual students.

If you are considering using Figjam, I encourage you to experiment with the design files. They are fast and easy to use. Otherwise, spend 10 minutes on a blank board designing your message, paste a file or Google image into your lesson, and download a widget or two.  A simple search into YouTube leads to multiple lessons on Figjam for educators. Take some time to watch their five-minute tutorials concurrently while you design away. And when you’re a pro, share your lessons with me! I would love to collaborate and share all our ideas because with Figjam, the options are endless.  


Author: Anna Hurley

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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