What is Padlet?
Padlet is an online pinboard. It does not require any installation – just an internet connection and it can be accessed from anywhere and on any type of device: mobile phones, laptops, tablets, or PCs. You can create and save boards using a free account, and anyone can post on a board without needing an account of their own. You can make a board private and only visible to a selected audience. It’s free, easy to use, and makes a great collaborative workspace.
This short video will give you an idea of how simple it is, as well as some of the key features; although the production value of the video doesn’t do the tool justice!
We started using Padlet in 2014 in the University’s online open courses in FutureLearn. When our first walls were used in Exploring our Oceans, there were over 5,000 online learners sharing their reflections on the course. It was a popular activity, and one which has been used in many other FutureLearn course, not just UoS ones, ever since. We still use it Exploring our Oceans to connect learners around the world.
In the last 3 years Padlet has undergone some great changes, with increasing functionality, and it’s still one of the Digital Learning Team’s favourite tools.
Here are 4 examples of how you can use Padlet in Higher Education.
1 – Fact or Fiction?
You can use the voting feature (upvote or downvote) as a way of checking knowledge or understanding of key concepts. We haven’t found a way to present the students with the correct answer, but this would make a good pre-lecture/seminar activity; students would have to attend face to face for discussion of the answers.
Here’s an example of voting in Padlet
2 – Fieldwork Photo Contest:
You could ask students to submit one or multiple photos (in different categories) and have them give formative feedback on each others’ work by using the ‘grade’ feature.
Here’s an example of a Padlet photo competition
3 – Reflections on learning:
Ask students to list two or three things that they have learned from a particular lecture, or any key concepts that they are still unclear about. The students can post anonymously. An advantage of using this over in-class voting systems, is that the student cohort will still have access to the Padlet wall after the session. You can change the layout of a board to a set of 3 columns and categorise responses. Try an example here.
4 – Workshop collaboration:
Do you drag along packs of post-its and flipchart paper to seminars or workshops? Tired of transcribing them afterwards? Didn’t read the great post from Digital Learning’s Anna Ruff about the Post-It in a Plus app?! Create a Padlet wall and ask participants to add, edit and drag their post-its during the session.
This could also work well in large lectures with small group discussions. Post a task or topic for discussion in the title of a wall, and use the descriptive area to add instructions. Have each group give themselves a name, and then they can post their group summaries.
Add your thoughts on our example board.
We’re confident that you won’t need any help from the Digital Learning Team; just visit Padlet. But please do tell us how you get on and we’d love to see what you and your students create!