As part of my job, I try to explore and test out new technologies for use in online classrooms. One of my previous blog post had focused on building your own community. I would like to take that topic a bit further and discuss the role of developing a community in your own online course. Building a community in your course can be done in a number of ways - personalized announcements, "getting to know each other or course bios," blogs, wikis, discussion boards. However, for those instructors who want to add something different to the community aspect of their course - I highly recommend Padlet.
Padlet is a web based application that allows you (as well as others) to share text, images, websites, videos, documents, basically anything in real time. As an instructor, you can create a "wall" with a title and a quick introduction. Then you and your users can add to the wall. In order to personalize your wall - you can select different backgrounds and themes to help distinguish topics or courses.
One of the best features about Padlet from my point of view is the fact that it is user-friendly and can be created and implemented in (really any) online setting fast. I've created a Padlet Sandbox below so you can add your own postings and check out how it works from a user standpoint.
Thinking about Padlet for your course?
If you are thinking about using Padlet for your course, below are a few ideas of how it can be used:
Rather than use the class discussion board, wiki, or blog features within your LMS - Have your students create a "bio" on the Padlet wall. You can link the Padlet wall in your LMS and have a quick way to see students with their pictures and bios.
When discussing a topic that requires previous knowledge, you can have your students brainstorm what they know about a topic before you dig deep into it more. This could also be used for coming up with a class definition of a topic.
Post a question about a topic in the course (i.e. Will Sally need to discuss with her stakeholders before developing the project for Chase Bank? Is the ADDIE Model the only ID model? Do alligators really have three eyelids? If you see cumulonimbus clouds does that mean it will rain today?) Students then can write a response and leave a few thoughts on why they feel a certain way.
Tool and Topic Sharing
Online courses strive on sharing of topics and tools for working on projects. Use a Padlet wall for students to share links to their favorite tool, the topic they have selected for their research paper, or whatever you feel is necessary for the content you are teaching.
Before I start to use any new technology, I like to read the reviews made by others who are using the product. Below are a few sample reviews I found online (name removed for security reasons):
Padlet Teacher Review | Common Sense Education - This product was used to facilitate that all of my student's voice was heard during our Socratic Seminar/ Classroom Discussion. This product ensured that all students participated in the discussion and could be tracked by the teacher/facilitator. The only draw back would be that in order for you to know who contribute to the discussion the student needs to type their own name or have an account in order to monitor the student and their progress.
Padlet Teacher Review | Common Sense Education - I think is a wonderful, versatile website/app available to educators and students. It is very customizable and can be used in just about every subject area to provide resources on a topic or for students to post questions, findings, and add to a discussion from anywhere. Using Padlet can allow students access to content at a moment's notice and available anywhere from a personal or school device! This is a great product and one I see being used more and more in the near future in and out of the education setting.
Padlet Teacher Review | Common Sense Education - Padlet is a place for students to share ideas. You create a question/topic and then with the link, they can all post a thought/response. I like that the link seems to work indefinitely - this is great when you have students post their wonderings at the beginning of a unit, and you can come back to it at the end of a unit. But I wasn't fond of the layout, and it isn't a very deep/rich program. It ddo, so the first time that I used it many of my students mistaken posted their comments as anonymous.oesn't auto prompt you to log in first the way that some websites do, so the first time that I used it many of my students mistaken posted their comments as anonymous.
Take a look at what Padlet has to offer and let me know what you think!