Musings of a 21st Century Middle School Social Studies Teacher
What a neat tool I learned from those who participated in EdCamp Voice! This is a versatile digital corkboard that can be used for many purposes. I have already integrated several "Padlets" into lessons in my first units in both 6th and 7th Grade Social Studies. This web app can take any traditional activity or assessment (e.g. entrance/exit slips and/or anchor charts, etc.) and transform it into a live collaborative document the students and teacher and track in real-time.
One neat feature includes the ability to turn anonymity of responses on and off. Sometimes there are different assignments that may or may not require a student's name to be attached to it. By taking the student's name off the assignment, it can allow the student to respond more freely in some cases. Another neat feature is the ability to turn commenting on and off. Allowing students to collaborate and communicate with one another is always a benefit.
Ideas of How to Use Padlet in the Classroom
1.) Discussion Board: Present a uniform question to the class in which they will all respond to with their own thinking. For example, you may ask the class: What was the highlight of your summer? Summarize in a well-written paragraph. This enables students to share their thinking with an audience contrary to the traditional "write-in-a-journal-never-to-be-seen-again" type of written responses. The students are also able to read their classmates' responses and respond to one another if the teach allows this feature. Students can also model good writing for one another by sharing this common platform.
2.) Traditional KWL, "STW - See, Think, Wonder" Charts", etc. : There are many practices such as the KWL or STW in which teachers provide a graphic organizer or chart to the student and ask them to respond to various prompts. For example, on a KWL Chart, a student writes what they know about a topic and what they want to know about a topic before learning the given topic. Later on, the students go back and finish the chart by writing what they have learned. The only problem with completing this via paper and pencil is that the paper usually never sees the light of day after the students completes the assignment. Probably not even the teacher! The benefits of moving these traditional assignments to Padlet are that the documents become live and collaborative! The students again are able to share their thinking with the class and the teacher can allow students to comment on one another's work if that is the desired outcome.
3.) Curate Material: Finally, you can have the students curate all sorts of material using a Padlet board. For example, if the class is learning about Brazil, you may want to assign students a specific topic you would like to them to research. If a student is assigned "Brazilian Food," he or she may want to share links to recipes, Youtube Videos, or images of traditional Brazilian food for the class to see on the Padlet. The possibilities are endless with what topics you may have the students curate. This function works very similar to Google Keep except that is a bit easier to collaborate as a class using Padlet.
Padlet is a very versatile tool as the possibilities for how it can be used in classroom are plentiful. The key, again, is the ability to collaborate and communicate with peers using this digital platform. Enjoy!