One of the most popular, free tools used by thousands of schools is a virtual bulletin board called Padlet. It starts as a blank canvas (called a ‘wall’) to which users can add text, video, images, weblinks, and more. It can be accessed via a direct link that is posted or emailed, or an embed in any digital platform that accepts these HTML codes (such as a blog, website, or wiki). It can be managed from the website, a mobile device, or with a Chrome app or extension. Walls can also be emailed, printed, social shared, or saved as an image or PDF file. Individual accounts are free; education accounts are charged per teacher.
Here’s how it works:
- set up an account so that you can save and share your walls
- quickly and easily create your first wall with a customized background, title, and layout. Backgrounds include lined paper, blueprint, a chalkboard, and more.
- once the set-up is completed share the link or embed with students
- to participate, all students do is tap the screen and add their comment
If you have a Google account, you can use your Google account to sign on. No need to create a new account.
All walls are by default semi-private — accessed only through the direct link or the embed, but privacy options range from ‘private’ to ‘public’. You choose your level of transparency.
An unusual ‘save’ option is to export as a PDF. This creates a completed document that is platform-neutral.
Amazingly, the walls are ad-free whether you’re on the website or the embed. I don’t know how they manage this, but I’m thrilled — and hope it lasts!
Student posts are not moderated prior to going live. They can be deleted afterwards, but there is no preview option.
Sticky notes are limited to 150 characters. In a Twitter world, this should be a plus for students.
11 Education Applications
- use it as a backchannel during class lessons
- thanks to the calendar background, make this a portable, editable class calendar
- brainstorm ideas for a project. Use a mindmap background or hand-draw one that students add to.
- post ideas and quotes here to be shared with all stakeholders
- curate topic-specific links for student use
- make this a class bulletin board for announcements and activities
- use a background that challenges students to organize activity into a timeline, category, or groups
- share out the link and have students complete a class warm up or exit ticket to gauge knowledge or learning
- upload an assignment directly to Padlet and have students participate online
- create a topic-specific vocabulary wall where students post words they don’t understand and other students post the definitions.
- pose open-ended questions and elicit multiple responses that are shared with everyone
Padlet is a powerful learning tool in classrooms that is highly-adaptable, intuitive, and fun to use. What do you think?
Here are some samples:
More on collaborative classroom tools:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, anAmazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.