Padlet is a great tool to deploy in your classroom. If Padlet is new to you, it is an online post-it wall, that you create, and that you and your students can post to using a browser. It’s compatible with (almost) any device with a browser…Smartphones, iPads, Android tablets, and laptops will all work with it. Check it out at http://padlet.com/.
When Padlet is held up to the SAMR model I’ve heard teachers complain that it only augments or substitutes a manual post-it note wall. However, if it is used well, Padlet can really enhance learning. In this post, I’m going to share five good ways I’ve seen Padlet used successfully.
1. Better Analysis
Padlet allows you to post an image to a wall as you create it or after you have created it. So you can get students to really analyse an image or scanned text and to express their opinion about it.
Students can then post their ideas around the image or scanned text and it will appear on your interactive whiteboard in real time. Now, this has many benefits over a traditional post-it wall. Firstly, you can encourage students to take their time and “pinch” on a tablet or zoom on a PC\laptop (using ctrl and up scroll) to really analyse an image in detail before they write their ideas. Secondly, as some students will take more time than others to post ideas you can have students who post quickly analyse and group different responses into themes, categories or compare differences in responses.
2. Better Assessment
I used to use traditional post-it note walls before my school obtained class sets of iPads. As soon as they arrived I switched to Padlet. When students post manual post-it notes they frequently huddle around the front waiting to get to the board, stick up their answers, and get back to their seats. Once students are done you can skim through the answers and discuss some, but with some classes this can become frustrating as lessons can slow down while you try and find jems in the mess of post-it notes.
With Padlet I get to see students write on the wall, as they write. I get to see them reflect and change their answers if they submit something they change their mind over. I get to see class ideas form on the screen. I can take my time and see the data as it comes in, instead of just being left with a wall with lots of written text on that I don’t have time to read because the class is ready to move on. I feel far better informed and I know how to clarify common misconceptions and explore common ideas with ease. As a result, the teaching is better and students make more progress.
3. Home Learning
A Padlet can be an excellent home activity, and it doesn’t have to be a class activity. Before a lesson you can give students the URL of a Padlet and have them comment on an image or a short piece of text. The outcome could be an initial stimulus to hook them into the next lesson. At the start of the next lesson you can discuss all of the interesting responses or you could have grouped the responses into themes.
4. Peer Assessment
After my students produce a piece of written work I have students peer assess their work with a partner and then we pick on a few samples, as a class, to suggest ways to improve weaker work and to celebrate and reflect on what makes some work excellent. But, sometimes I want every member of a class to read over and analyse the same piece of work at their own pace. This is where Padlet really shines.
I can just grab my iPad, take a picture of some excellent work, put the success criteria on everyone’s desk, and then get everyone on the same Padlet using an iPad or any other device. Students can then really spend time reading a piece of work and putting post-it notes around the edge with comments on where it is successful and how to improve it. Collectively, the class can offer a unique depth of feedback on a single piece of work that has just been completed.
This can then be exploited by the teacher into a really rich and shared discussion about success criteria, how it has been interpreted, and a well informed discussion about how a piece of work can be assessed, improved or just to analyse where it excels.
5. Record Reflections
Post-it notes are often the staple of the exit plenary, but, be honest, how do you actually use them at the end of a lesson? Do you take a photograph of each one? Do you analyse the feedback? If I’m honest with myself, I’m terrible for this sometimes. If the data is generally positive I’ll throw it away, or lose it before the next lesson. Ok, so maybe it’s just my disorganisation, but Padlet has made this much easier!
Get students to reflect their learning on a Padlet wall. This could be using a traffic light system to record how confidently students believe that they have met success criteria. Some students could explain why they are red, some why they are amber, and others why they are green.
If this is done on Padlet then you can access the wall and see where students think they are at. You can do this wherever you are planning since the wall is saved in the cloud. With this data you can consider how you might differentiate for students, you can consider what might help you to stretch those who think they understood everything perfectly, or you might notice a common misconception.
The beauty of the Padlet is that it is frozen in time. You can access this data anywhere, any time. Thus, it is likely to come in handy when you are at home and planning!
I don’t think Padlet will transform learning, but there’s a lot of good practice that you can exploit! Please share any ways that you have used Padlet successfully in the comments below.by