Wondering how to keep your online students engaged? EdTech Advisor and former Chair of Library Tech, Diane Thompson, suggests Padlet, a tool that facilitates interactive and collaborative creativity.
Using Padlet to Enhance Online Group work
The challenge of maintaining teaching continuity in the era of COVID, which has forced the rapid switch from classroom to online activities, requires creativity. Fear not: familiar ways of engaging our students can be modified for online use.
Collaborative work in the classroom is relatively straightforward. Students can be divided into groups and active learning techniques can be employed to explore relevant course topics. In an online course, this is a bit more challenging as students may be in other time zones, or have different schedules.
The goal of technology is to solve a problem. One technology tool that may prove to be very effective in the context of online group work is Padlet. This visual tool allows your students to express their thoughts on a given topic or assignment. Its application allows users to include various content, such as images, videos, documents, and texts in real time communications. In my experience, the collaborative nature of Padlet makes for a great way to explore ideas as a class or in small group projects. Padlet allows for a number of different templates, including a timeline template, grid or map.
Here is an example from an English class where everyone contributed to literary quotes.
Here’s another example from Jessie Smith’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) assignment. She used Padlet to explore specific topics for her Latin American Studies course in connection with her partner and class in Argentina.
The last Padlet example demonstrated is from my own course (LIBR 1219) where students collaborate to come up with engaging questions to ask their tour guides when visiting various libraries in our community as part of their field work / practicum course. Students are asked to form groups and come up with categories. Once categories are established, they must then work together to come up with questions pertaining to the workplace. This is all done online.
Overall, Padlet is very easy to use. All you need to do is sign up at padlet.com and start creating. Security levels can be adjusted so that you can share your Padlets publicly or keep them password- protected. Sharing the link to your class is simple and, from your students’ perspective, editing is also straightforward once you have selected the template and explained how to complete the assignment.
The basic version of the programme will allow you to have up to three Padlets, whereas if you choose to sign up for the Pro version (not free), you can have multiple Padlets going at once.
If you have stories to share about how you are using Padlet, I would love to hear them.