Six assignments I’m using to test-drive Padlet
Since so many aspects of teaching right now are new due to school closings amid COVID-19, what’s one more? As long as we’re entering unchartered territory, let’s not only learn how to Zoom, but let’s try Padlet as well.
Padlet is basically an online discussion board application that offers several ways for students to contribute their writing, media, or other content to a board that I create and customize. According to the Padlet.com website, the app will help users “Make beautiful boards, documents, and webpages that are easy to read and fun to contribute to.”
I would agree based on my use of the app so far.
When one creates a Padlet, a link is created for users or teachers to share with students. Students follow the link and can write a post onto the Padlet board. Depending on the type of Padlet template chosen, students may also upload other content, such as videos, photographs, or audio clips.
Users can try Padlet for free, which allows them to create three Padlet “boards.” Because I knew I would need more than that and because the app seemed to be easy and intuitive to use, I went ahead and purchased the $10/month subscription so I could make unlimited Padlets whenever I needed to while our school is closed through the end of the year.
In addition, I’ve added Padlet to my iPhone so I can check in and see student activity when I’m not at my desk. I can also edit existing Padlets or create new Padlets from my phone.
To the extent that I’ve used Padlet so far, I see great potential in using it for my reading and writing classes.
Right now, I’ve created six Padlet assignments while students learn from home. Here’s a description of each:
- Padlet Title: Robert Frost Favorite Line(s) Reflections… My junior students started a unit on Robert Frost’s poetry in mid-March. I created a Padlet and assigned students to reflect in writing on their favorite line(s) from one of these three poems we read: “Mending Wall,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and “Birches.” A day or so later, I asked students to read and write a comment on someone else’s Padlet post.
- Padlet Title: “Mending Wall” Analysis… I also asked my juniors to watch a video that offered one analysis of “Mending Wall” and then give their perspective on that analysis, including their own personal views as well. Later, students added their thoughts to the opinions of at least one other student.
- Padlet Title: The Ballad of “Barbara Allan” by Different Artists… After assigning students to read the Medieval British ballad, “Barbara Allan,” I made a Padlet that included several links to YouTube videos by musicians singing different adaptations of the poem. (This is an age-old ballad that has been “covered” over the centuries up to contemporary artists.) I asked students to post a comment on my original post to indicate which adaptation they wanted to listen to and then explain in their own post on the Padlet.
- Padlet Title: Alt Title for A River Runs Through It… Students were to think of an alternative title for the novel by Norman Maclean, and then describe why they would choose this title instead.
- Padlet Title: A River Runs Through It Playlists… With this Padlet I asked students to post a music playlist for one of the two main characters in the novel.
- Padlet Title: Tim O’Brien Interview Reflection… After watching a 25-minute video of an interview of author Tim O’Brien, students were to reflect in writing on the video addressing some key ideas discussed by O’Brien about his novel The Things They Carried.
I envision projecting a Padlet as students work so they can publish immediately.
I can envision projecting a Padlet as students work so they can see their comments publish immediately, as well as those of others. Using Padlet in this way would add an immediacy to classroom writing.
Seeing other students thinking and writing in real time in response to a prompt or an ongoing class discussion could be really fun and interesting.
Not that my experience with Padlet has been problem-free. I’ll give you more details about that in my next post, “Pros and Cons of Padlet.”