Great ideas are produced when you work collaboratively as a group or team. However, depending of the number of people involved in each activity, to organize them could be a nightmare. Brainstorms, post-it notes, pictures, quotes, etc. are just a few examples of how to put ideas together in a cork wall or bulletin board in your classroom.If you want to expand this activity, it is a good idea to flip your classroom, one of the benefits of doing this is the possibility to reach all your students. A great tool to do this is Padlet.
Padlet is a free, simple and very easy to use digital cork wall. It can be used by the teacher and students to keep all the ideas, notes, brainstorms and everything they can imagine in one place. They can access to it from everywhere with just one link. Moreover, the notes can contain videos from youtube or a similar service, pictures, links and documents that you can upload from your computer or embed from your favorite cloud service (Dropbox, Onedrive, Google Drive, etc).
A few ideas to integrate Padlet in the classroom or outside of it can be:
- Make noticeboards.
- Bookmark favorite sites.
- Make greeting cards.
- Plan events.
- Keep notes.
- Make lists.
- Watch, share and discuss videos.
- Collect and provide feedback.
And even more using your creativity.
Padlet also includes a media viewer, that means that anyone with the permission to see the wall can scroll through all of the images, links, videos, and document files that have been posted in the notes on a wall. You can use it anonymously or create an account with a valid email, and there is an option to use your Google or Facebook accounts to log in. A paid version is also available but it is not really necessary, the free account works great.
If you are worried about privacy issues, you have to know that each of your walls can be set to private or public view, more options are also available in the settings page and you can modify them according to your preferences at any time. The teacher also has the possibility to moderate responses.
A basic tutorial of how to use Padlet.
- Step 1: Create an account. Go to www.padlet.com and sign up.
- Step 2: Create a new Padlet from your Dashboard. You can also see other options here.
- Step 3: This is your first Padlet. Now you can modify your wall using the tools from the right dock.
- Step 4: Adjust the privacy.
- Step 5: Select a new layout.
- Step 6: Write and edit your first post.
- Step 7: Share it and continue working on it.
An example picture:
One idea to practice.
In one of our classes at university Natalia and I decided to use Padlet to complement one class in which the topic was a Gap Year.
A text from the British Council web page was adapted to use in classes (http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/uk-now/read-uk/gap-year).
- Hypothetical target group of students
Our students are doing their last high-school year in either Chile or Uruguay. Some will attend university next year and others will join the workforce. Those who attend university may need to find a part-time job to be able to finance their studies.
- Topic area that may motivate this group.
Our students are likely to be motivated by the topic area work, as they will see a clear connection between the topic and their lives in a year’s time. Anything related to this topic from specific vocabulary to CV and application letter writing will be useful to these learners. Alternatively, our students may want to do something different, something that is common in Europe but not so popular in South America: take a year off: a gap year.
Using Padlet the students add their ideas of what they will do when they leave school. They are expected to use Conditionals (If Clauses Type 1) starting with the sentence When I leave school …
You can check the result or even add new ideas visiting our Padlet.
Difficulties of working with Padlet.
One of the most important difficulties of working with Padlet is that you need to be always connected to internet to modify it and its performance can decrease if you do not have a good connection.
Another trouble is that requires the teacher to be alert of the content that can be shared, you have to protect your students from copyright issues such as videos, pictures and music. This can be easily done establishing a code of conduct, discussing and reviewing the digital literacy available online in a previous class.
Last but not least, always remember the pedagogy behind the use of this tool. It is not all about the technology itself but how to complement the content, engage, motivate and make your student learn with it.