What is Padlet?
Padlet is freemium pinboard app that acts as a virtual noticeboard for students to share text, media, links. It is compatible with some screenreaders, and Padlet are working to make the tool more accessible to everyone. To find out more about getting started, please see our introduction to using Padlet. Please refer to our guidance on using third-party apps before signing up and using with your students.
What can I do with Padlet?
Padlet’s simple, collaborative structure can be used to engage and work with your students – we’ve included some of our favourite uses below. TEL are always looking for examples of good practice – if you have tried a new way of using Padlet which worked well, please contact us and we’d be really happy to hear from you!
Types of activity
Padlet can be used as an icebreaker activity for synchronous or asynchronous teaching – provide a link to a Padlet wall in class or via a link and ask students to add a response in class or in time for the next session. Students can add a range of text and multimedia to their messages so you could ask students to share a favourite song, photograph, view from their window, or mark their favourite destination on a map wall.
Consider the anonymity settings and the kinds of information that you are asking students to share – rather than a photo of themselves, or their location, you could ask them to share their view or a place they would like to visit. This will allow them to be creative with their responses and share information that they are comfortable with. Teachers can also contribute to this wall, adding to the sense of community, and helping to encourage student contributions.
If you are using Padlet to collect feedback or comments in an asynchronous way, you may find that students are reluctant to comment initially. Let students know that you will be reading and responding over a two week period, for example, and perhaps bring up interesting comments in class or via email to direct students to the Padlet and see for themselves what has changed. Once students see that their messages are being responded to, they will be more comfortable adding new messages and even commenting on each other’s responses.
“It is also useful in the run up to assessment when students have questions, they can post the question in Padlet, and then all students on the course can see the answer, which saves having to answer many different emails.” Dr. Frances Hamilton, Associate Professor School of Law
If you are using Padlet in a live classroom setting, consider using the Canvas wall option to group comments and make connections between them. One very effective use of this wall was an activity for trainee teachers to anonymously state their concerns about taking on a new class for the first time. Over the course of the session, the instructor revisited the Padlet, colour-coding, grouping, drawing connecting arrows and commenting in person and on the wall. This not only created a resource to refer back to – and see development over the course of the programme – but closes the feedback loop for students, showing that they are not alone in their concerns, and that they are able to influence the content of the session by contributing.
Create a class blog or wall to share research – consider using a Canvas format and turning on comments and reactions to allow students to make connections and comment on each other’s findings.
“I’ve used [Padlet] in a number of modules as an FAQ discussion board. Students prefer the anonymity of Padlet to a BB discussion board.” Amanda Millmore, Associate Professor School of Law
If you choose to set Padlet contributions as a task for your students – perhaps asking students to contribute answers or comments on a reading, or suggest alternative resources, consider using the Shelf wall option to create some structure. A blank wall can be intimidating, and a scaffolded approach can encourage students to begin to share their thoughts and resources in a guided manner.
Padlet can provide a communal space to share ideas – the anonymous setting can allow for diverse opinions and experiences to be shared without compromising students’ anonymity. Instructors have stated that this can be helpful in starting discussions among shy classes, or to collect opinions on a text or film which may be personal to the students.
Use the settings to ensure that only students with the link can view the wall, and turn on anonymous posting so that everyone’s responses are anonymous.
Even if comments are anonymous, it is good practice for the teacher to interact with and comment on the messages. This can be done in class, or online, so works for synchronous and asynchronous teaching. Not only does this show students that the teacher is engaging with their comments, but it can be a good place to start an in-person discussion.
Students can create, collaborate and share their own Padlet walls – this could be a useful way to collect resources related to a topic, create an alternative presentation format, or take collaborative notes.
Student-collected research on a topic can be gathered in a variety of formats, images, video, audio and text on a subject, so could be used to present information on a topic instead of a Powerpoint presentation.
A Padlet wall can also be used as a collaborative notetaking tool to support students’ understanding of a module. Collaborative notetaking allows students to share expertise, and if the Padlet is shared with the tutor, then clarification can be provided as needed either on the wall, or as part of any future teaching sessions. Depending on the topic, you could ask students to claim and discuss their posts in more detail, or you could draw connections between the messages and encourage students to comment on posts.
“I used Padlet widely during the pandemic when we were teaching asynchronously […] for students to respond asynchronously to questions posed in the lecture videos and as a discussion facilitation device.” Amanda Millmore, Associate Professor School of Law
Types of Padlet wall
Wall: content in a “brick-like” layout – like messages on a pinboard, they can be added in any order, in any place on the wall
Stream: content in a top-to-bottom feed – messages are added in order, on top of each other as they are added
Grid: content appears in rows of boxes – messages are added in order, in a grid formation
Shelf: content can be organised under headings, and messages are added under each heading, as selected by the users
Map: pins can be added to a map, with notes, images, sound – messages are added in any order or any place on the wall
Canvas: content can be added, grouped and connected – messages are added anywhere on the board and users can group and connect them with annotations
Timeline: content appears along a horizontal line – messages are added at intervals along the line
Padlet allows you to make changes to the look of your wall by editing the wallpaper, fonts, and colour scheme.
• Use a sans serif font as this is easier to read for most people.
• Changing the colour scheme allows you to change the background of the messages from light to dark. Students can change the contrast of their own view of a wall by using a high contrast browser extension. They can also change the colour of their own messages, but this is limited.
You can edit the title and add a description. Consider including your module code in the title of your wall, as this will help you to find and organise your walls later on. You can use the description to add instructions for students – or you can set up messages to help students to navigate the type of wall you have chosen.
Padlets can be anonymous or include a user’s name (if given). Consider the benefits of anonymous posting vs the community-building aspect of sharing names. Think about whether your exercise includes personal or sensitive information, and the aims of your exercise.
Padlet messages can be edited to allow comments – this aids discussion on individual messages and could be useful for peer review exercises, discussion on a range of topics, or decision-making exercises.
You can also allow reactions to messages eg. Upvote/downvote, star rating, like/dislike or grade. This can be a simple and quick way to incorporate interaction to your Padlet walls, or introduce exercises such as decision-making, peer review, or sharing opinions.