Whiteboard.fi – A review

I was reading Techcrunch and saw that Kahoot! had purchased a small company called Whiteboard.fi. The fi stands for Finland in case you were wondering. So, I loaded up the website, tried it out and within five minutes knew this was a very good product. Read on below to get the whole skinny.


There is a very robust free version (what I’ll be reviewing here) and there are two more tiers that charge $4.99/teacher/month and a full featured $12.99/teacher/month. Schools and districts are invited to contact them for bulk discounts if they want to sign up their school or whole district.

The biggest issues with the free version I can see is:

  • No PDF upload
  • No co-teachers
  • No feedback
  • Not able to join a student session

Despite all that I still believe this has tremendous value. 

Signing up

YOU DON”T! Ha!! 

If you don’t have a paid account, you don’t really sign up or sign in and the same is true for your students. To get started click the +New button near the top right hand side of the screen.

When you click that a new screen will open. Here you need to give your “Class” a name. With the free account and even with the first tier, this changes every time. There is no permanent URL or web address you give your students. It will change every single time. This may seem like a bummer, but when it comes to security it is an elegant solution. The chances that someone will “stumble” upon your class is 

There are two other features. One is for a waiting room lobby. This is just what it sounds like. Students who try to join the class must wait here until the teacher admits them into the class. You should certainly use this – especially if you have some kids who love to give themselves nicknames like. That way you can know who is who. You want this on.

The other option is to enable manual saving. By default this website works like Google Docs. It saves itself automatically from time to time. Of course this uses more Internet resources and if you are working with slower speeds, this can cause problems and big delays with students working. So you could enable this if you have slower Internet to allow students less downtime. A nice touch for schools with slower Internet speeds.

When you click + CREATE NEW CLASS at the bottom a new window appear with the URL to your class whiteboards and you can even pop up a QR code (I imagine for students with tablets/smartphones). In my school’s case, I would copy the URL and paste it into our LMS for students to access.

Using it

To get to Whiteboard click on TOGGLE MY WHITEBOARD button above this. I do wish this looked a little more like a button than it actually did, but I ‘m really nitpicking here. You can always hit this button to get the URL again or show the QR code at anytime you want. This is very nice. I see a lot of online services that show this right away and then bury once you’re in the site.

Since I turned on the waiting room, students are not admitted immediately. They are stuck in the “Lobby” You can find this below your whiteboard. You have the option to Accept or Kick them from the class. Pretty straightforward. 

Once you’ve accepted there are a few more settings you can play with. In the top right hand corner of the screen you will see the gear -click that to see what else you can do.

As you can see you can turn on/off the Lobby (in case you forgot during the creation of the class). You can also lock the room. This will keep unwanted hooligans out of your Lobby or class. 

Now, onto the good stuff – what can it do. At the bottom of your (the teacher) whiteboard. You can add more than one workspace and you can decide which workspace will be visible to your students. You cannot hide all of your workspaces, one has to be visible for students so keep that in mind. To hide/show a workspace, just click on the eye next to students. If it turns green, the students can see it. If it is white with a line through the eye, then it is hidden.

Obviously every student has their own whiteboard that they can work on. You can see what they are working on. This will update every few seconds so it is not a live view of what is happening but it refreshes often enough that you shouldn’t be caught off guard. 

While you can see every student’s whiteboard, they cannot see each others at all. This is a good thing. Every year, I’ve had those super talkative students who are inseparable. These students look for anyway to communicate with one another in a class – so I’m glad there isn’t an option here for that to happen.

But Patrick, what if a student does something incredible and you want to share it with the class?

Why that’s a good point! The good people at Digital Teaching Tools Finland have thought of that. From the teacher side, if you click on a student whiteboard you will see it in detail and if you click the ACTIONS button neat the bottom, you then have a bunch of options. One of those is to Copy to teacher whiteboard. This will copy all the contents of that student’s whiteboard. Once there, if the teacher has that particular whiteboard visible to students, then everyone will see it! Nice. 

Some other great options are that you can save the whiteboard as an image, you can erase a whiteboard or you can push your whiteboard to everyone. Of course you can kick a student out as well. 

Another great feature is the ability for the teacher to push out their whiteboard to all students. This is a great option when doing individual problems or maybe writing prompts, etc. From your whiteboard there is a button called PUSH on the far right hand side just above the whiteboard.

When you click that button you are given three options:

  1. Push all of your pages to all students
  2. Push your current page to all students
  3. Push your current page to all students as a background (they cannot edit this)

Just know that when you push something out (even if you’re pushing a student page to your teacher whiteboard) it will erase everything on that whiteboard.

If you push out a question and everyone answers it, you may want to save everyone’s work as a PDF. To do this go back to the settings area (you remember that gear icon in the top right hand corner) and select Save all whiteboards as PDF. 

It will download it as a PDF, each student is clearly labeled and you can even download your own whiteboard if you’d like. It will only download the currently active whiteboard though. For the teacher, it will only download what is currently visible for your students, so keep that in mind as well. 


I have to dig deep to find these and I can only find three. The first is that if you want to modify text it is a little too difficult to be worth your time. Rather than have those tools available in the toolbar, you have to click on the text, then click on a toolbar button to see the text options. Instead of sizes, you have a slider which can be a bit of a pain to get the size you want. It just seems a little silly to have it this way.

The other thing that is annoying is on the student side. If they are inactive for five minutes they get this Connection Paused screen. I like that it pauses their screen and that it notifies the student, but it just screams at the student. If you’re in the middle of a good discussion and five minutes pass, I guarantee students will look down, click on their device and click to reconnect. It just breaks becomes a distraction. Maybe setting this to ten or fifteen minutes before splashing this on their screen.

The final one, and again, this isn’t a deal breaker, is that all the feedback tools are locked into the paid versions. Again, there are ways around this, but it would be nice to have something available for teachers in the free version.

Again, these are just tiny annoyances and not deal breakers in anyway

In conclusion

Use this tool! It is appropriate for just about any grade level, it has enough features that you could use it with higher education or a third grade class. It is simple and easy to learn, no login hassle and boy does it work well. I even tried it on my Pixel 4a and no problems at all. This is a great tool and I can see why there are a lot of teachers out there using. If you have devices that allow touch input, this would be great. If your device doesn’t have touch input, this is still really good. iPad? No problem. Samsung Tab? No problem, MacBook Pro? No problem. This thing just works.

One thing to be aware of is this is not a collaborative tool like LucidSpark. This is more of an individual tool that should be led by a teacher. 

So if you’re looking for a way for students to work individually and for you to monitor this work then check out whiteboard.fi.

Kahoot! – Not as bad as I remember but still not great

Back in 2014 I reviewed Kahoot! and was pretty harsh on it. I had sluggish performance, connectivity issues and I didn’t care for the teacher/presenter centric nature of the activity. Despite all those issues Kahoot! seems to have gone on to relative success! Just about any teacher I talk to has either heard of it, knows a teacher who uses it or uses it themselves. Since it is so popular I thought I would give it another go. I mean five years has passed – can it win me over this time?

What is Kahoot!

Kahoot is an interactive question and answer system. A question pops up on a screen and the student/participant answers the question as quickly as they can from multiple options. The faster they answer, they more points they receive. If the student(s) get the question wrong, they receive no points for that round.

At the end of each round it shows a scoreboard so you can see who is winning. It also has a catchy audio loop during the quiz. Did I say catchy? Well, you be the judge. I think it ages like an opened bottle of $2 wine.

Teacher dashboard

There are two Kahoot! sites. One is for the teacher to create and manage Kahoots! and reports and the other is where the student(s) go to find the Kahoot! and start playing. Let’s take a look at the teacher side first. Here is the dashboard.

Pretty straight forward. You can create Kahoots!, browse through other popular Kahoots! and Host games of Kahoot!

For a Kahoot! you host, you can get a report of that game to see who played, how well they performed and so on. Pretty good metrics. To get this information just click on Reports from the top menu.

Then you have the option of downloading it as an Excel file. When you open it up, it does look better than it did five years ago. Notice the worksheet tabs at the bottom. Here you can navigate through more detailed information to figure out what answers were selected (correct and incorrect) and what points they received. The points will give the teacher an idea of how quickly they were able to answer the question.

Creating a Kahoot!

I have to give them points here. This tool is quick and easy to use, easy to navigate between different questions. Let’s take a look at what they offer.


As you can see it is pretty straightforward. Not a lot of explanation is needed. This is nice.

I wish they had a little more question types. Right now you can only pick a multiple choice or true/false. That is it? Why not matching? Why not fill in the blank? Why not ordering? I do understand that playing a Kahoot! is fast and fun and having to adjust to different questions takes a little more time but come on!

Also, once you add a question type you cannot change it. So if I have a multiple choice question and want to convert it to a true/false type I cannot do that. I can delete or duplicate a question only. Not a big deal but it would be nice to switch on the fly.

One feature that is sort of nice is the ability to add symbols to a question. This makes it good for math. I am not sure you are going to be able to throw some calculus up there but for elementary and middle school math this should be fine.

You can also change the general settings of the Kahoot!. You can give it a name, description (which is highly recommended), pick where you want to save it and who can see it. You also have the ability to add a YouTube video which is what people can watch while waiting for the Khaoot! to start. Make sure you click the Done button and your Kahoot is then ready to be played.

Playing my Kahoot!

As the teacher, you need to go to your dashboard, find the Kahoot! and click Play. This view is nice because you can also see all the questions and answers. This is nice so you make sure you didn’t click the wrong Kahoot! if you have many of them. Also, it is a quick way to check for mistakes.

Before you start the game you do have two options. You can either make it Classic mode (each person has their own device) or a Team mode where teams are against other teams. I’m just going to do the Classic. You also have the option of using a name generator. Kahoot! will create the name that is displayed for the user. If not the user can create their own name (be careful teachers of naughty students who). Luckily you will see all the names before it starts, but if someone has made and inappropriate name it will mean more waiting for the rest of the class.

So I ran the Kahoot! on my computer and joined it with my smartphone using the app. A colleague of mine also joined in on her computer. Before the teacher (me in this case) started the game I got to see that I had the correct number of participants. To join, I had to put in the game PIN on the app and my colleague had to put in the PIN on Kahoot.it Once we joined I started the game!

My pervious complaint is back. As a contestant or player I do not see the question on my smartphone screen and neither did my colleague. We both had to look at the computer that was hosting the Kahoot! Annoying and a waste of space for our screens. Check out a screenshot from my phone during a true/false question.

Also we can’t see the choices. Why? Why not put the question and the choices there? It seems like a no brainer but in five years they have not fixed this! Maybe it bothers me a little too much but it seems like such a simple fix.

Now for some reason there was no music playing during my Kahoot! Not sure if that was my computer having issues or if I somehow disabled the music. I went back in and played another Kahoot! and the sound started to play again, so I am pretty sure it was my computer the first time.

So when you get a question correct or incorrect it lets you know which is nice and in between questions is shows you who is winning. Also, you only have so much time to answer a question which does keep the game moving at a good pace.

The music is just as annoying as it was 5 years ago.

Kahoot Challenges

OK – there is a way for students to participate in a Kahoot! by themselves and actually see the questions and choices on their screen (one of my biggest gripes). It is called a Kahoot! Challenge. A teacher can set this up and give a time frame of when a student can complete the challenge.

From the same screen you start a Kahoot! you can select Play or Challenge. If you select Challenge you have to put an end date and time like you see below.

Then you get a URL link for the challenge and the Challenge PIN. You also can share it directly through a few services.

So, if you have the app on an Android device, an iOS device or some select Chromebooks (ones that allow Google Play store apps to be installed), the student just fires that up, enter the PIN and they are off. Here is what one of the questions looks like from my smartphone.

See that! It is the QUESTION! It is right there! Wait! I can also see the choices!! See, folks it is totally doable.

OK – I’m happy about that. Now, here is what I am unhappy about.

Hmmmm – that is from my MacBook. Maybe I messed up? NOPE! You need the app on a mobile device to play a Kahoot! Challenge. There is no way around it, even though they give you a friggin link to the challenge! Why give the link if you can’t access it from a Windows, Mac, Linux or Chromebook? Why can’t this be played in a browser like other a regular Kahoot?


After a Kahoot! or a Kahoot! Challenge the teacher can access a report and see who participated, their score, which questions people got wrong and which questions most people got right and if they got it wrong, which answer did they chose. This is good data for a teacher to be sure. It gives that person good information to go and investigate further and find out where there are gaps. The reports look good and even though it is in Excel format, you can open that file up with any modern spreadsheet program.


Kahoot! isn’t as bad as I remembered back in 2014 but that’s not to say that it is great either. If you use it, that’s totally fine. Teachers like reliable tools and if this is working for you keep on, keeping on, but I urge you to check out some other options out there such as Quizizz, Quizlet, Google Forms and more. They may not have that catchy tune and may not be as “fun” but they will all give you the same data and guess what it works with any device with an Internet connection.

Episode 171 – Roller Madness

Tony and Patrick are back for another great episode. We talk about mice, student information systems and more! Check out the talking points below and as always subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.

  1. Patrick’s new mouse – Logitech MX Ergo
    1.  https://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/mx-ergo-wireless-trackball-mouse
  2. What’s a Student Information System (SIS)? And why you should care
    1. One Roster – http://www.imsglobal.org/activity/onerosterlis
  3. People still teaching flash and a mention about CAD – Tinker Cad , SketchUp Pro
    1. Adobe Animate – https://www.adobe.com/products/animate.html
    2. Tinkercad – https://www.tinkercad.com/
    3. SketchUp Pro – https://www.sketchup.com/products/sketchup-pro
    4. Autodesk – https://www.autodesk.com/
  4. Kahoot! Challenges do not work with Chromebooks without the Google Play Store
    1. I reviewed Kahoot! In April of 2014 – I still don’t like it
    2. https://itbabble.com/2014/04/30/kahoot-yeah-you-should-not-use-this/
    3. Alternatives – Quiziz, Socrative, Quizlet

Download this episode HERE

Kahoot! – Yeah you should not use this


*UPDATE: I Recently re-reviewed Kahoot! I still am not a fan but it does seem better. Here is a link to my new review Kahoot! – Not as bad as I rememebr but still not great*

Socrative isn’t the only student response system out there these days, so it begs the question – is it still the best? Compared to Kahoot! it most certainly is. So let’s back up and start with a little terminology here folks. Student response systems are ways for students to respond to questions and discussions without actually having to raise their hand and speak. It usually involves some sort of IT component where they can type in their response on a laptop, tablet or hand held device, select an answer or give feedback using an Internet or BlueTooth connection.

Socrative is probably the most well known of these systems – with its bare bones – anyone with an Internet connection can use it regardless of device. Kahoot! also tries to mimic this but with some mixed results. Kahoot! differs in the sense that it is trying to turn it into a game, so there has to be a winner/loser and all questions are worth points. To see all the nitty gritty keep on reading.

Getting started
Super simple and easy as one should expect these days. The only person in the classroom who needs an account is the teacher. Students join using a PIN code system (much like Socrative). To sign up, Kahoot! wants all the usual info:

  • Username
  • Password
  • Email address
  • It also wants to know your role which I thought was an interesting question. I can’t figure out if they are just mining data or if that will affect who can view or participate in your quiz.

Check out the images below to get a better sense of what I’m talking about – it’s all pretty easy and it looks very nice and easy to complete.

wpid-kahoot_02-2014-04-30-13-56.png wpid-kahoot_03-2014-04-30-13-56.png

Creating your quiz Kahoot
Once you’ve logged in, you are taken to a dashboard where it asks you to make your first Kahoot! They also let you check out a video that shows you how to make a Kahoot! and what to do once it’s done. The video is OK. The person doing the video has his face in the top right hand corner – it’s a little weird – not in a bad way. It’s weird in the sense that I personally don’t think it brings anything to the video.


So I clicked on Create new Kahoot! and off I went. The question interface is very simple and straightforward. You type in the question and you have 4 multiple choice boxes where you write in the possible answers. Click the box with the correct answer and BAM! You’ve got a question.


As you can see, you can add an image (or even a video – more on that later) to the question. You cannot add more than four choices but you can take away one or two of them if you’d like. When you’re ready to move on, in the bottom right hand corner there are options to do just that.


When you’ve got all the questions done you can then re-order them. Again, this is all very easy and works as it should. Just click and drag the questions in the order you’d like.


Then Kahoot! wants some more info from you, such as is this Kahoot! private or public, who the audience is, etc.


I have to say making the quiz is fast, fun (yes believe it or not) and it works great. I had no issues and I doubt that you would will. I wish there were more response types other than just a multiple choice. Such as a Yes/No, open ended question for short responses, but Kahoot! has to stick with the game design of a winner/loser. I’d like more flexibility but that’s not what it’s all about. Respite that, making the Kahoot! worked great and I was feeling optimistic about Kahoot! I was thinking to myself – yeah, this could be a real competitor to Socrative and the others in the field.

Running the Kahoot!
Like Socrative, you the teacher must initiate the game before anyone can join. To do this just click the Play button where you see your quizzes.


Now once you’ve started the game you get the joy of listening to this awesome song. It’s not all that bad for the first few minutes but after about 10 minutes I was searching for some ear muffs. Listen below.

It just keeps going and going and going like the frickin’ Energizer bunny. I just muted my audio on my computer but if you have videos in your quiz then that becomes a problem. There really needs to be a way to shut the music off but I couldn’t find one.

When you launch the Kahoot! you get a screen with a PIN code. The students must go to kahoot.it and then enter the PIN code. They will then be asked for a nick name. Once they’ve done that there name will show up on the teacher’s screen or the main screen if you will. Nothing happens until the teacher clicks the Start Now button located on that page.

So far so good (with the exception of the music) but now we start to see how limited Kahoot! really is. When the game starts a student can be on any device, just as long as it is connected to the Internet. Sounds like a good idea right? It is if it were done right. The problem is the students cannot see the question on their device. They have to look at the main screen in order to see the question. I kid you not my good reader. So the teacher has to have a projector/TV in the room for everyone to view. If not – forget Kahoot! It won’t work for you.

Now here comes some more problems. Check out the question on the main screen. Looks just fine right? Well . . . no not exactly. First off, the image holder (where it says Kahoot!) is waaay too large and takes focus from the question, which is much smaller and less prominent above it. Check it out if you don’t believe me.


Why not make the question the focus? Why does it have to look like an information banner at the top of the page? It just doesn’t seem to work. Now let’s see what it looks like on my iPhone 4S.


Oh man . . . where is the question? Where is it? OK, I get it – trying to maximize the screen real estate on a small hand held device. How about the choices? Nope – they’re not there either, just these color areas and shapes. Why? How hard would it be to actually get the question on their screens? You made room for the Game-pin but why not some other text? It baffles me. It is a huge factor that makes Kahoot! very limiting. You need a display tool in the classroom to show the question, images and/or video. Without it your Kahoot! is useless except for playing a looping instrumental song that gets stuck in your head.

Now here is another annoying factor. I’ve highlighted it in the image below.


The message that says Slow network, you may experience some delays. Fair enough – as you can see I was on 3G not the WiFi. The real delay comes when you click the box to get rid of it. It is not very responsive itself, so I clicked it again. By that time another question had been posted and I accidentally selected the green square and got it wrong. What?! Now, I’m a grown adult and can handle a little tomfoolery from time to time, but what about a fourth grader? Probably a lot less so. This will cause students to lose their minds, maybe not riot but some strong protesting could certainly happen.

What adds a little insult to the injury is that it the message kept popping up. I couldn’t get rid of it. As soon as I dismissed it a few seconds later it was popping up on my screen frustratingly telling me what I already know. The weird thing is when I connected it to the WiFi I received the same message again and again and again.

For each question it gives points to the correct answers and the leaders are announced at the end of each round and of course the winner is announced at the end. At the end the teacher can click on Feedback & results.


Eventually you get to this screen where you can download the results.

This is pretty nice, as it shows each person who participated, what they answered for each question and who got what answers correct.


Summing it all up
Kahoot! is not terrible, just new and lacking a lot of features. It looks nice, works OK but it is not a tool that I would use a lot in my classroom or at all at this stage. The fact that it requires a screen is a major limiting factor. Not all classrooms have such display tools. The fact that it works on any device as long as it has Internet is nice, but the fact that no question or answer choices are presented in the student display really limits what you can do with it.

They are developing a feature that gives the teacher the ability to add videos to the question. This is nice, especially since you can crop the video down to start and stop at a certain point – that is unless you have an iPad – then the video plays in its entirety. Again, it seems like a nice feature but in practice may cause more problems than it solves.


Also, the slow Internet pop up was extremely frustrating – why have it all? Could the teacher magically increase the speed or bandwidth within the school? I have no idea why that’s there. If a school has slow Internet, I am sure they know about it. I doubt their IT Director is firing up Kahoot! to check out that fact.

Kahoot! is in a tough position. It is not like it was a couple years ago, there are now plenty of student response options and more seem to pop up every year. Kahoot! needs to make itself stand out and right now I just don’t see that. It’s still young and has time to grow, but right now this is not a tool I would use. I see no reason to switch from Socrative.com to Kahoot!