Padlet, formerly Wallwisher, is an electronic bulletin board. It’s more open than Pinterest for collaborative use, but not as customizable as Stixy — which can mean fewer distractions for students who like to fiddle with fonts and colors.
How can it be used in a classroom? I can see students posting practice math problems or other test review questions. One teaching example on the site uses the time-honored “word of the day.” The teacher creates a wall with a specific vocabulary term and every student must electronically post a sentence using the word correctly. Then, to increase the interactivity, the teacher adds his own feedback posts, urging some learners to “try again” and others to correct grammatical or spelling errors.
While Padlet walls can be set to private, an instructor could simply send the URL to students, perhaps via a class Twitter account. They double-click anywhere on the padlet, enter their name or initials, and then type their response to the prompt. The three-icon menu bar permits various forms of reply; they can share a link (great for research brainstorming), upload images (great for art or poetry), or even do a quick video using a webcam.
I decided to create a sample padlet for paper topic proposals. Students often are asked to submit their ideas for essays, either as a step in the writing process or a checkpoint for teachers to ensure that topics are appropriate. Here’s how the wall might look, as students add their proposals:
As the instructor, I can set the padlet to notify me about every new post, which means I can give students quick feedback. I can encourage R.D. Wasea to be more specific — what about community centers? Are more needed? More programs at an existing center? In a dream world, we might even work through the whole topic approval process outside of class, saving precious instructional minutes for peer reviews, drafting, or research.
I think this might be most appropriate for grades 6-12, but I’d be curious to read reviews from elementary teachers regarding their Padlet use.