Recently I became an Instructional Designer for William & Mary. My role involves assisting faculty with online course development and implementation. My background is in academic technology so I’ve been exposed to many e-learning tools and resources over the years. Some of those resources were amazing, but proved unreliable when integrated into the classroom or were too time consuming to set up and manage. Others have stood the test of time because of their simplicity, effectiveness, and reliability.
One resource that has improved with age is Padlet. I thought about Padlet the other day as I brainstormed simple ways to collaborate in an online environment. Providing enough opportunities for student interaction can be challenging in an online course. Collaborative resources that can be easily integrated into the learning management system without too many additional steps for both instructors and students are ideal and Padlet fits the bill. As the Padlet website proudly states, it’s “the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world.” Based on my experiences with Padlet and several other collaborative tools, I can confirm that Padlet is as easy as it gets.
How Padlet Works
Padlet, formerly known as Wallwisher, is a Web based application that allows you to share text, links, images, videos, and documents with other people in real time. You create a Padlet “wall” that can be shared in a variety of ways. Similar to a wiki or Google Doc, those you share your wall with can contribute to it both synchronously or asynchronously. There is no need to refresh your internet browser to see new contributions (posts). Padlet works on just about every Internet enabled device so long as you have a modern Web browser. There is no software or app to download which makes it even easier to use on the fly.
You don’t need an account to create or post to a Padlet wall, but I recommend creating one so that you have control of the walls you create. You can make as many walls as you want and there is no limit to the number of people that can post to your wall.
See for yourself how a Padlet wall works! Double click or tap anywhere on the Padlet wall below to add a new post and it will appear in the upper left-hand corner. Click or tap in an area outside of your post to save it. If you’re having trouble accessing the content below, use this link instead.
How to Create and Share a Padlet Wall
- Go to Padlet.com
- Create wall
- Share wall
It’s really that easy! You can customize the background of your wall, add a title, and select a layout. The default layout is Freeform, but there are Stream and Grid layouts if you want a more structured look (I used the Grid layout for the two Padlet walls embedded in this post).
There are several visibility options with the default being “Hidden Link.” This means only those you share the link with can access your wall. You can also moderate posts so they remain invisible to other users until you approve them. You can share the link to your wall with your students by putting it on your Blackboard class site or by copying the link and QR Code onto a presentation slide that you show during class. Padlet also provides options to share the wall through social media and email. There is even an embed code which works with Blackboard and WordPress. Additionally, you can export posts made to the wall as an Excel or CSV file if you want to analyze the data after the activity has taken place.
Ideas for Instructional Use in Higher Ed
There are many instructional possibilities with Padlet at all education levels. If the activity is designed properly, Padlet can add value to your instruction and support your learning objectives. I created a few simplistic examples to give you some ideas of ways you can use Padlet with your students in face-to-face, blended, and online courses. Feel free to add more! If you’re having trouble accessing the content below, use this link instead.