Padlet – Collaborative Notes Everywhere

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Since the days it used to be called Wallwisher, Padlet (as it has now been rebranded) promised to be a great asset for educators and learners worldwide. In fact, Wallwisher allowed you to create virtual walls where anyone with the link could simply double click and add text, an image, a weblink and even embed a video within the note they wrote. We used Wallwisher with many learners and it was always quite an exciting resource to pull out of your sleeve, but when it came to iPads things were not as straight forward and the system would give major problems.

A new birth

There are some companies that think that just rebranding themselves with a different name is going to solve all their problems, but that is far from the truth. Unless you can offer a much better user experience, your product will be just as unwanted as the previous one, if not less. Padlet (the new Wallwisher) doesn’t fall into this category though, because their new product seems to be much more stable and work quite well on iPads and smartphones too. They have also introduced a few new features that are quite neat!

We are going to show you a few tricks of the trade that you should be aware of, if you’d like to use Padlet in the classroom. But before we do that here is the Padlet wall we use in a lot of our Training Experiences to help teachers think about useful ways to use Padlet in the classroom. We hope you will join them and add some of your ideas, or join us at one of our events to learn more about highly effective learning tools and how to use them to encourage more independent learning.

Creating your first wall

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 13.15.44Creating a wall in Padlet is really easy and the beauty of using this tool is that the only person that needs to register is the teacher. Students only need the link to the wall (which you can personalise, like the one above that isĀ padlet.com/wall/padlet-ideas) in order to add notes to it. The help notes on the right side of the wall give you useful information on how to edit and modify your wall.

The same panel on the right can be used to do a bunch of other stuff, like modifying your wall settings for example.

Modifying your wall is also pretty easy and very intuitive. One nice addition from the days of Wallwisher is the different layouts you can choose for your walls, Freeform or Stream.

In freeform your contributors will be able to add their notes anywhere in the wall, without a particular order. This layout is great for brainstorming activities, or when you want your learners to group ideas in certain categories. A good example is the wall below created with the contributions of Yr7 learners studying the human reproductive system.

The stream layout gives you a more orderly way to add contributions, from the first contribution offered to the last, they will be in the order they were input and stacked one on top of the other. This layout opens up opportunities for creative writing activities, where the teacher could kick a story off by adding an incomplete sentence/paragraph that a group of students will complete with their sentence/paragraph. As part of their note the group will also add another incomplete sentence/paragraph and the story can be continued in this way from group to group. A similar strategy could be used to show scientific processes in chronological, or logical order, write the instructions for a particular procedure, write the steps to complete exam questions successfully, or even create timelines in History. The beauty of these activities is that they are run with the contribution of all learners in your classroom and beyond. In fact, you can collaborate with anyone who has access to an internet browser, so why not opening your classroom walls to the world and make collaborative notes and activities with a school on the other side of the globe?

And because the order of the notes added to a stream layout can be changed, you can also use this theme to gather learners’ ideas about the topic you are teaching and ask them to put them in order of importance.

Moderate your notes

Only you know your classes and you might, or might not, need to do this, but Padlet allows you to moderate all entries to your wall before they become visible to others. You can set this up in the Modify side panel and by clicking on the Privacy Settings (see the image below).

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 13.45.50

There are many ways to use Padlet and you can probably think about some excellent activities you could run in your subject, so why don’t you add your ideas in the wall at the top of this post?

 

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