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How to share your screen or touch-screen device and collaborate with students in the same space in realtime

Andrew Rice, 5 April 2020


Screen sharing

If your teaching style primarily involves you writing within the supervision then you might consider the screen sharing option. Screen sharing simply means that rather than sharing a video taken from your camera you will share a video of whatever is shown on the screen of your computer.

You will need a touch-screen device to write on. Options here include an iPad or an iPad Pro, a Microsoft Surface, or a Wacom Cintiq. Pens can be purchased separately for iPads.

Another option would be to prepare a document beforehand and then open in to scroll through in the supervision whilst sharing your screen.

Some online chat tools allow the same person to join a call from multiple devices. As far as I know Teams does not support this but Google Meet does. If your chosen platform does, and you have multiple devices, then you could set up one camera as an over-the-shoulder view of what you are writing.

There's a program called LonelyScreen (not free) that lets your PC/Mac computer receive a 'cast' from an iPad. This means that you can write on the iPad, 'cast' the iPad screen to your laptop and then screen share the result.


Collaborative whiteboard

In addition to the above you might like to consider a collaborative whiteboard which you and your students can write on (and see changes from others) simultaneously. No special software is needed for this - you and your students go to a webpage which dynamically updates as it is 'drawn' upon.

There are options available from Microsoft (Whiteboard) and Google (Jamboard). The Microsoft version seems to be unreliable sometimes so I would advise experimenting beforehand.

Google JamBoard

  1. Go to
  2. Ensure you are signed in with your @cam account rather than a personal account (click the icon in the top right corner of the screen).
  3. Click the '+' sign in the bottom right hand corner to create a new Jam (this is a whiteboard).

    Screen grab of Google Jamboard showing the plus icon to create a new Jam

  4. Rename the new Jam by clicking the name 'Untitled Jam' in the top right corner. A dialog box should appear.

    Screen grab of Google Jamboard showing the area in which to change the name of a Jam

  5. You can draw on the board using the tools on the left hand side. The icon in the top at the centre with left and right arrows lets you move between different pages.

    Screen grab of Google Jamboard showing the board's toolbars and navigation

  6. Click 'Share' (blue box top right).

    Screen grab of Google Jamboard showing the 'share' button

  7. A sharing settings box will open. Look for a 'Change...' link.

    Screen grab showing Google Jamboard sharing settings

  8. I prefer to use 'Anyone with the link' rather than 'Anyone at University of Cambridge with the link'. If you choose the latter then your students will need to log in with their @cam accounts before they can open it.

    Screen grab showing the sharing settings, highlighting the option 'Anyone with the link'

  9. Decide between 'can view' (they can only see what you are doing) and 'can edit' (they can contribute too).

    Screen grab of the sharing setting's different permissions

  10. Click 'Save' and the link to share should be copied and pasted and sent to your students.

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