Padlet (formerly known as Wallwisher) has been around for a while now. It acts as an online bulletin board where users place “digital sticky notes”. These digital stickies can contain text, web links, uploaded files, photos, and even video! They can be anonymous or students can be required to sign in. The reason why I like Padlet so much is because it is very customizable and lets teachers/students collaborate in different ways.
I used Padlet last week as a formative assessment tool to see my students’ current understanding of some important science concepts. I had students visit the Padlet wall I created on their iPad and make a new sticky note. They had to include their first name, then write definitions of volume, mass, and weight in their own words. Padlet is web-based and not an app, so it can be used in any 1-to-1 classroom, regardless of the device being used. If students did not have their iPad with them, I allowed them to team up with another student. The final Padlet wall can be seen here.
Pros to using Padlet
- Students were able to access the wall very quickly. The website lets you “mobilize” your wall and create a QR code. Most students walked into my room, scanned the code, and were back at their table within a minute or two. I was also able to create a personalilzed web address for them to type (http://padlet.com/jmularella/massandweight) for students who preferred that method.
- Real time data! I had the Padlet wall projected on the screen so I could read their responses as they appeared on the screen. I could quickly tell, for example, that many of the students were confusing mass and volume.
- Choose different layouts to fit your need. When I first used Padlet a few years ago, the sticky notes could be placed anywhere on the screen. It was neat to move them around, but they could get cluttered. Aside from “freeform”, there are two other layouts: stream (posts are displayed one below the other) and grid (posts are displayed in a grid-like layout). I used the stream layout while they entered their information, then switched it to a grid once the day was over.
- Students don’t need to register for an account. This made the whole process much quicker and seamless to use.
- The wall is permanent…until you delete it. Unlike other methods for gathering feedback or formative assessment, it’s not always easy for the students to revisit this information. I like the idea of having students revisit this Padlet wall again near the end of the unit and modify their initial definitions to (hopefully) make them more accurate.
Cons to using Padlet
- Students could “cheat”. Even though I don’t think this happened, students could easily wait to see what other students write before submitting their own answers.
- Students could misbehave. I did have at least one student in each class write something silly without a name, such as “I like cats.” I reminded them they needed to be responsible, and the behavior stopped. (However, it’s important to note that each student can only edit their own sticky note. If I did spot something very inappropriate, I could easily find the guilty suspect by having all students stand up and leave their iPads on the table. Whoever’s iPad was able to edit the offensive note is the one who originally wrote it.)
- Introductory Guide to Padlet
Great blog post by Nathan Hall that explains the features of Padlet as well as some great ideas for using it in the classroom.
- How to Use Padlet in the Classroom
Here are some great suggestions direct from creators of Padlet!
- 32 Interesting Ways to Use Padlet in the Classroom
Tom Barrett shares a Google Slideshow with a LOT of great ideas.
- Three Good Ways to Use Padlet in Your School
Richard Byrne (FreeTech4Teachers) shares a few additional tips for using Padlet.