Padlet has been around for a long time and it has thousands of users who would attest to its effectiveness as a collaborative tool. That said, I had not realized it’s utility in my classroom until recently. This is likely due to the fact I have been using Google’s Apps For Education (GAFE) to satisfy my collaborative needs in the classroom. I’ve come to learn that Padlet occupies a special niche in the world of collaborative educational software. The software is simple- it is a virtual sticky board. The powerful feature of the software is that anyone can add notes to a Padlet. I use Padlet to pose questions to students as a bellringer activity. When creating a sticky note, users can not only type text but attach images, links, vides and other files. In fact, users can even use the camera on their computer or device to snap a selfie or record a quick video.
Although students can see each other’s work progress in real time on their screens, I still display the Padlet on the projector screen in my room. This seems to have a positive effect on students, as they often glance up at the screen out of habit, and they can see both their post and the posts of other students “on the big screen”. I developed this theory when I first implemented a lesson using Padlet and students were in awe of the fact that their posts were showing up on the board as they typed them. The best part is that students immediately began communicating verbally, in support of the communication they were doing digitally in Padlet. This unintended result of using Padlet further supports a recurring message of mine when I speak at professional development conferences about collaborative learning with technology: technology does not kill social skills, it cultivates them.