Friday, August 28, 2015

Five Ideas for Using Padlet in the Classroom

Padlet is a web tool that works like a collaborative piece of virtual paper, and each paper is called a Padlet Wall. Users can add text, photos, videos, links, or even documents from their devices if they simply have the link to Padlet Wall. With the addition of an ios app this month, Padlet can be accessed on virtually any device.

By default, Padlet Walls are public, but the owner of a Padlet Wall can restrict access to invited collaborators only, add a password to a wall, or simply make it public yet hidden from public searches. For added security in the classroom, Padlet users can turn on the moderation option to require approval for posts before they are added.

With all of these security features and no login required, Padlet is a wonderful tool for the classroom with so many possibilities! Here are a few ways teachers and students might use it:

1. Exit Ticket or Bell Ringer
If you're trying to gather responses from all students quickly at the beginning or end of the class period and want to go paperless, Padlet can be a great option. Simply post the prompt or exercise to the Padlet Wall, share the link with students, and collect all the responses in one spot! If you don't want students to see all the responses already posted, simply turn on the moderation feature. You then can approve all the posts at once when students are done.

2. Virtual Bulletin Board
Even better than a traditional bulletin board, Padlet will allow you to add videos and links to the traditional text and pictures of bulletin boards. You can choose one of Padlet's fun backgrounds or even upload your own background image to make it visually appealing, and you also have options for adding your posts--grid, list, or free form style. For even more fun, you could post the virtual bulletin board to a class website to share with parents too!

3. Content Curation
Whether you're gathering a list of websites and resources for a paper or research project or looking for someplace to house completed student projects, Padlet is a great place to gather information. Teachers could post a list of approved resources for a given project, or students researching the same topic can add links, articles, videos to share with the group, saving time and allowing for true collaboration. Even better, when projects are completed, teachers could create Padlet Walls to showcase the student work, adding links or photos and descriptions of projects that aren't shareable in other ways.

4. Virtual Posterboard
Instead of finding someplace in the classrooms to display posterboards for each student project, combine the advantages of #2 and #3. A Padlet Wall could become the posterboard with great backgrounds and links and videos, plus another Wall could house all of the student projects! With the ability to upload your own background image and add free form posts, the background image could even become interactive and explained through the posts!

5. Seating Chart
This is one of my favorite activities for the first day of school! Our student management system does not allow us to create those fancy seating charts where we can re-arrange the student photos as needed; we're stuck with an alphabetical list of names and faces in pre-set rows. To make one anyway, I ask students to title the post with their names, take a selfie, and add two things about themselves on Day 1. This way I have their current photo with the name (they never look like the pictures from last year!), and the free form option allows me to rearrange the Wall into my crazy seating configuration when they're done!

How have you used Padlet in the classroom? I'd love to hear your ideas!