Tech Trumps Friday focus: Padlet - simple, quick collaborative whiteboards

To celebrate the completion of my new Tech Trumps, and the first issue of real packs to local schools and other educational institutions, I'm going to start a new Friday series of blog posts focusing on just one Tech Trump at a time.

This Friday it's the turn of Padlet (https://padlet.com).

What is Padlet?

Padlet is a type of online noticeboard or whiteboard, an electronic pin board where you can place text notes, images, audio, videos, links or other files.

You can customise your padlet by changing the wallpaper and the way that you position posts that are added, e.g. free form, grid or stream.

You can keep your padlet private, share your padlet using a secret link or using a password, or make it public; and in each case you can control how others can contribute - read it, edit it, or even moderating others content.

Padlet does not require any special hardware, software or installation, it just runs in a web browser, so is relatively easy to get started with.

How can you use it in education?

Padlet is very strong on collaboration, and it takes full advantage of the internet's unique ability to be in many different places at the same time. Unlike a standard whiteboard, where the physical space naturally restricts who can engage with the content, the digital nature of padlet means individuals can contribute to it from distributed points in both time and space.

In my opinion Padlet is best used for more complex engagements with content, as it relies on students being able to create short but incisive annotations in a limited digital space. Nevertheless I have seen it used quite powerfully for shorter sections, especially when pre-prepared by the teacher with content. For example, you might create a series of posts about a topic that are deliberately in the incorrect places on the screen, set your padlet with a secret link but let anyone moderate it, and then instruct students to change the content into a pattern which they think is more appropriate. As a starter activity this would be a good way to provoke discussion for later in the lesson, and once new content has been explored students could return to the task and create their own padlet with new representations of their thinking as appropriate. Later you could even change your padlet to allow comments, and then mark students work digitally by adding your comments to their content.

A particular favourite of mine is to create a strong framework using an image, and then upload this as the background to a padlet. It might be a simple cross with four dimensions, or perhaps an image of a famous landmark, or perhaps a picture from a famous artist. In each case the task for students is to respond to your learning objective directly on the image, but using the positioning of their responses to amplify and support their perspective. This might be done as a one off in a lesson, or as a serious of continued responses to content based on changing knowledge as the students develop their understanding of a topic.


A Padlet wall, with a plus and minus background applied to frame thinking about the pro and cons of a specific scenario 

Have you used Padlet? Let me know what you think in the comments below, always good to hear other ideas.

Would you like your own set of Tech Trumps?

You can download your own PDF version of the Tech Trumps for offline use if you wish. This PDF includes all the interactive links of the online version, but you can still browse them without an internet connection.

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