I have been using Padlet a lot recently. What I like about it, is its versatility and simplicity. For anyone who hasn’t used it before, Padlet is a digital canvas which works like a piece of blank paper where you can post text, links and upload images, video, audio, documents…
You can customise your canvas by changing the wallpaper (background) and the layout (free form, stream or grid.) There are different privacy settings (useful when working with younger students), and the option to moderate posts before they appear on the canvas. Padlet Backpack is a paid version which offers more control, privacy and extra security for schools.
I have only used group canvases that I have created in my own Padlet account, although students can create their own if they set up an account. I then share the link or embed the canvas on the class wiki. In this way students don’t need to log in and I have more control (a bonus if you aren’t using Padlet Backpack and working with teens!)
Ways I’ve used Padlet:
To create personal profiles to share with classmates or digital penfriends. We used Padlet to begin our cross cultural digital exchange and get students to introduce themselves to each other. My adult students posted their 3-2-1 (a great icebreaker I found out about from Shelley Terrell) on Padlet too.
Sharing personal information
Depending on the topic, students share things about themselves e.g. Favourite possessions, hobbies, family etc.
Students post their opinion on a specific topic. I mentioned the importance of giving students a voice in the classroom in my blog post What makes a good teacher (and a good manager!), Padlet is a great tool for facilitating this, especially good for the shy students who wouldn’t otherwise give their opinions. Topical news items and provocative statements (Barcelona are better than Real Madrid!?) are a good way to instigate class discussions.
Students research celebrations from around the world and post their information with a link to a website, video or photo. At Christmas time, my students researched different ways people celebrate Christmas around the world and added a tag to a Thinglink I created, however, Padlet could also be used to do this activity.
On World Book Day students posted a review/recommendation of their favourite books.
Other ideas for celebrations I have thought of but not yet used are; things people do at Halloween/ Easter, what does Peace Day mean to you (students post text, a quote or an image), for World Environment Day, students post one way to help save the Earth. Find a link to international celebrations throughout the year here. I particularly like International Day of Happiness! What makes you happy?
A great place for sharing inspiring/thought provoking quotes.
Recently we listened to the song Being Around by The Lemonheads to practise the 2nd conditional. My students then added their own lines to the song and posted them on Padlet. Eat your heart out The Lemonheads!
Creating reading activities (using students’ own work)
This term we were looking at the topic of sports. To spice things up a bit we looked at weird sports, such as cheese rolling, bog snorkelling, sumo athletics… For homework students found more weird sports and posted them on a Padlet canvas. They then had to read their classmates’ contributions and complete a quiz in Google Forms.
Showcase students’ work
Padlet is a great place to show the work your students do throughout the year, especially if you have a school website/wiki where you can embed the canvas. I have a page on my wiki called Our work which is where I embed the canvases for other students, teachers and parents to see.
Some activities I haven’t tried yet but I’m planning to:
KWL (What I know, what I want to know, what I learned)
I’m going to use this for the cross cultural digital exchange next year. Before “meeting” the exchange class, students will post what they already know about British culture and what they want to know. At the end of the academic year, students will revisit the canvas and post what they have learned, checking that all their questions have been answered. KWL and Padlet can be used for any class projects or topic to be discussed.
I’m going to ask my 4th year students who leave this year to post memories of their time at the school and their leaving messages for their classmates and teachers.
I’m going to use Padlet to make our class contract next year.
I haven’t uploaded audio yet and am thinking of ways to incorporate this. If anyone has any ideas…
Other ways people are using Padlet:
I haven’t used Padlet for this as I use the Wiki, however, sharing links to documents, assignments and other resources, seems like a good use of Padlet.
As a backchannel
I use www.todaysmeet.com for class but I have heard that some people are using Padlet for similar purposes.
Again, I haven’t used Padlet for this purpose as I tend to use Google Forms or the Wiki, but I believe it is a popular way to use Padlet. Valuable information is collected on students’ opinions about resources, activities and their learning experience in general. It could also be used to collect ideas from students of what they would like to do in future classes.
As I said earlier, what I love about Padlet is its versatility and simplicity. There’s just so much you can do with this tool and even the least tech-savvy students rarely have problems using it. That’s good news for the least tech-savvy teachers too! If you haven’t tried it yet, I strongly recommend giving it go and if you do already use it, please share how you are using it.