Saturday, October 4, 2014

Technological Tools: Padlet

As a young grad student, many other teachers assume that I know everything there is to know about technology and how to use it in the classroom. This is far from the truth. There are many technological tools about which I know next to nothing, let alone how to best use them in the classroom. Recently I listened to a presentation on Padlet, a pinterest-like wall where teachers can post announcements, resources, and assignments for their students. We were then given the opportunity to create our own padlet. I loved this portion of the presentation (hands on learning is the best) and felt that though they were allowing us to explore on our own, they had sufficiently scaffolded our knowledge prior to setting us free.

As I developed one for my Economics class I learned through experimentation, becoming familiar with the new technological tool and how I could best utilize it. I liked a lot of its features - the colorful wallpaper designs, the privacy settings, the potential to add links to other sites, and the various ways in which to format the layout. However, as I created my own padlet I noticed that it lacked the ease of simple folders containing new information. Instead for every new page (assignments, comments/questions, resources, etc) you had to create a new padlet. Pretty soon I had a padlet within a padlet within a padlet. It was like inception with padlets. This structure frustrated me and despite the advantages of padlet, I don't think that I could organize it to my satisfaction.

However, after allowing us to play around with the padlet application, the group presentation continued on to show a few other ways to use padlet and I was struck by the use of padlet solely as a page for resources. In this way the padlet page functioned very much like a pinterest page, but it was colorful and would be easily accessible for students. By creating a padlet with simple links to various resources there would be no need to create a padlet within a padlet. I can definitely see myself creating a padlet full of information for students to use - everything from sites to help with creating a works cited, to finding resources for research papers, to interesting news articles.

As much as I love the idea of using technology in the classroom, I need to be careful to use it only when I think it will be convenient and purposeful. Otherwise what should have been a useful tool becomes a hindrance to organization and learning. Though I probably will not use padlet on a daily basis for my classroom, I think that using it as a resource page for students could be very helpful and I am excited to have learned about a new technological tool. I was impressed with the presentation and I look forward to learning about more new technological tools soon!


  1. Hey Sam, Your blog post brought up many concerns and issues that I too had with Padlet upon learning about it. I do not like the lack of organizational filing and find that it would not be useful in my current setting due to a lack of resources in the school. However, you do offer some wonderful options for it to be used as a resource that students can reference that is more in the background rather than a tool used regularly as a main piece of pedagogy.

    Furthermore, though I have not had the uncomfortable experience with another teacher of being expected to know something about a piece of technology that I do not. However, I am sure that day is coming and I am continuously feeling more and more prepared for it by observing, reflecting, and practicing with diverse tech tools. I too am eager too learn about more tech tools!

  2. Hi Sam
    I think your insight into using these tools in the classroom is spot in. While many of these presentations are amazing and help you with the fundamentals at some point you just gotta get your feet wet with trying out the tool. Additionally because we have different content areas and background with just technology in general there will be different ways how the tool is used. While a technique may seem rudimentary to others it could still probably do an amazing job of relating important material to students helping with higher order thinking. We need to make sure we are documenting these different usages so that people know that they actually exist.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Samantha,

    You bring up some great issues regarding technology in the classroom; ones that I feel I am constantly considering and (maybe even) stressing about! In particular, I was struck by your statement, " what should have been a useful tool becomes a hindrance to organization and learning." I completely agree!!!! If you have to troubleshoot endlessly with students or there are numerous ways for students to get distracted by a tool, you begin to question whether or not the tool is actually useful.

    My mentor teacher really does not use technology at all, however her TA has set up a Padlet site as the location for all of the notes and resources for each unit. I do think that this is helpful for the students to have as a home base, and because it is similar to Pinterest, it could be more appealing to students. Furthermore, I think the argument to use Padlet over other sites in the classroom is that you cannot really hide anything on the page, which should prevent any struggles with regards to students not knowing how to locate things. Who knows though, students are always finding new and different ways to add complexity to certain aspects of technology. Hopefully, we will be able to find a simple way to present information to our students that is useful and easy to access.


  4. Mantha, I really appreciated your post for several reasons. First of all, it's always good to hear that others of my classmates are finding realistic ways to employ these tools in their placements. I have merely tried using a pollev, and hit a few snags in terms of letting students use their own devices. It can be uncomfortable having to worry about the safety of these personal items, let alone issues of texting and data usage on my watch. It is something I continue to struggle with. Anyway, I also really agree with your final paragraph. It is honest and fair to both the utility and challenges of these kinds of technologies. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Samantha,
    I just wrote a post about Padlet and some of your points really resonate with my thoughts about this tool. There are definitely some limitations to Padlet, one being that you cannot create folders. I also don't see it being the most functional option for presentations either. It's interesting that you mention the possibility of using Padlet as a resource page for students. This is a great idea! I find it most useful for my own organization when it comes to resources. So for several of the lessons I have designed so far, I have used Padlet as a place to keep all the resources I find. The format of Padlet also helps to give me a visual representation of what I have so far of the lesson and allows me to draw connections between the various pieces. Thanks for the post!