What is Padlet?
Padlet is a website that provides users with a digital canvas. The user can post text, videos and images from a mobile device or a desktop. One of the great appeals of Padlet for classroom use is the fact that many people can post to the same board at the same time, making it very suitable for collaborative work and the creation of projects. For example, the picture below shows a board where students were asked to post images that they associated with consumerism.
In order to access a board, students can be given a link or a QR code and access it from their phones, tablets or desktop computers at home. The website provides users with short links and QR codes that can be easily shared:
Ideas for classroom use
If the school or language centre you work at encourages the use of technology during the lessons, and if you have the necessary resources to use online digital tools, Padlet can be an easy-to-use and reliable classroom resource. Students can access the Padlet board from a mobile device and post – their ideas will be shown in real time to other students participating in the same activity.
Ice-breaker / warmer:
- Ask students to post something about themselves. You can invite allow them to come up with their own ideas, or give them a more specific task (eg. occupation, family, likes and dislikes). Ask them not to sign their posts. Then, ask students to mingle and find out who wrote each post.
- Ask students to brainstorm ideas, predict what they are going to read or listen and ask them to post their ideas to a Padlet board. This may maximise this phase of the lesson, as all learners will have access to each other’s ideas. Also, it is an effective and quick way to systematise ideas generated in this phase of the lesson.
- Using student-generated content makes learning more meaningful and personalised. Instead of using coursebook texts, images and activities, Padlet can help you encourage students to design activities themselves. This requires a lot of support and feedback from the teacher while students are producing the material to be used in class.
Outside the classroom
Padlet can be used as a tool to encourage collaboration outside the classroom. Homework and assignments from different students can be put together if you ask learners to use the same Padlet board to post text, images, videos and audio when they get home. In the example below, students were asked to post questions related to their eating habits. These questions were used in the following class as a lead-in.
- Remember to check the school's policy regarding the use of electronics and the Internet in class before adopting this tool;
- When you use Padlet for the first time, anticipate that students will take some time to connect to the Internet, open the website and understand how it works. It might be a good idea to encourage collaborative work and have students who are more tech-savvy to work with learners who need more support when using technology;
- Always remember that technology should be used to enhance learning outcomes, and not to be a hindrance. Consider the pros and cons of adopting a digital tool bearing in mind the aim you mean to achieve with the activity/task.
Andreia Zakime is an Academic Coordinator at Cultura Inglesa São Paulo and one of the co-founders of What is ELT?