Innovative Lessons: Padlet
We live in an exciting time. With the technological revolution that has enveloped us in the last 20 or so years we have finally reached the moment when technology is starting to be incorporated into education. With smartphone and tablet technologies, more and more apps as well as responsive websites, are offering new innovative tools for teachers and students to utilize. Teachers have a variety of options at their disposal that allow for a more interactive and immersive learning experience for their students. One of these tools that I would like to tell you about is Padlet. Padlet started as a website that offered digital wallpaper where the user could post anything they wished. The posts would form a collage which could represent a story or information on a specific topic, for example a historical event, but not only. Though the functionality and idea is quite simple and straightforward, it offers a galore of possibilities to teachers and students. And so, that’s the theme of this lesson idea.
While doing my MA case study I chose Padlet as one of the digital tools my students would use to help them learn English idioms in context. The main aim of the study was to record how well students managed to learn the target vocabulary mainly using padlet as well as some other digital tools. Keep in mind, once you create a new padlet wallpaper for your classroom, you can then share the web address with your students and provide them a task where all their work can be displayed in the padlet. The wallpaper allows you to add links, photos/images, videos and text. With these options available students can search their own library of photos and videos or search the web for any source material that is related to the topic the teacher has assigned. After the task is completed students can learn from each other by looking at their classmate’s work.
For my MA I asked students to use their iPads and in pairs post an image/video that expressed the meaning of the idioms I asked them to research. This needed to be accompanied by a definition and an example sentence. As students worked on this in class I projected their padlet on the digital whiteboard and in this way the teacher gets to monitor and see the work as it is being done and posted. Here is an example of a padlet from one of those classes.
Of course there are many other options:
- Students can create their own padlet on a research project or a historical event. Images or videos accompanied by brief descriptions or information allows students to be creative in their own way with how they present their topic.
- Teachers can create a themed wallpaper on a topic related to the course, a grammar point, or a vocabulary theme. They can then email it to students or use it in their lesson.
- Teachers can provide a collage of photos/videos on a theme. Here is an example of a collage of videos I created for my students that can provide some helpful listening practice.
- Can be used to accompany power point or prezi presentations.
- Can be assigned as an in-class task that requires collaboration, or for homework to be done collaboratively or individually as well.
Padlet now is available as an app on tablets and smartphones so students have more platforms to access their own wallpapers or ones done with their classmates. If teachers choose to share padlets of their own with their students this provides an additional source of information to students when reviewing material covered in class.
I wanted to share this as a lesson idea because it is one of the easiest and simplest resources for teachers and students alike to utilize and can change the dynamic of a teachers classroom. There are additional ideas for padlet here.
If you are an English language teachers the possibilities are quite frankly endless… Any vocabulary lesson can be prepared in advance by teachers and used to compliment the lesson. You can choose a vocabulary theme like –ed/-ing adjectives, or verb/adjective/noun + preposition lessons. Vocabulary-themed padlets on family, fashion, technology, the environment and many others can also be created on padlet. On a grammar point, you can offer more example sentences, explanations and forms. Accompanying them with links to additional exercises is also an idea. Providing videos and images with text that uses some key vocabulary related to the topic is yet another avenue available. Should I keep going? I think you get the idea…
I know what you are thinking….that’s a lot of work when I can just use a course book and I’m set! No doubt. But remember, once you’ve spent the time creating your padlets, you have them forever, ready to use in many future lessons, never having to make another photocopy from a book….you dig? up to you! 😉