Meaningful ways for teachers and students to collaborate online are more important than ever. That’s why so many educators love Padlet, a digital bulletin board tool. It gives teachers, students, and even parents an easy way to share ideas, review work, and a whole lot more. Wondering what it’s all about? Here’s our guide to Padlet for teachers, including plenty of clever ways to use it with your students.
What is Padlet?
Think of Padlet as an online bulletin board, but with a lot of things a regular bulletin board could never do. Users can post text, images, videos, files, links … basically anything digital. Others can see the postings, as well as comment or vote on them if the board owner allows. You can customize each Padlet by changing the background, layout, font, and color scheme.
One of the best things about Padlet for teachers is how very easy it is to use, even for young students. It works on computers and laptops, plus devices like Chromebooks, iPads, or smartphones. Perhaps most importantly, teachers can control whether contributions have students’ names on them or are made anonymously. This empowers students who might otherwise feel too timid to share. You can also decide whether or not to allow comments or ratings and even require approval before posting or filter out profanity.
Is Padlet free?
Padlet’s free version for all users allows you to create up to three Padlet boards at a time. You can erase and create new ones to stay under the limit. This is a good option for teachers who only plan to use it occasionally or who want to give it a try to see if it works for them.
If you decide you’re willing to pay for an upgrade, there are two options. You can sign up for a Pro account, which offers unlimited Padlets and removes upload limits. Individual Pro accounts currently cost $8/month.
Padlet also offers Backpack for Schools, a bulk pricing plan that gives schools more privacy options, extra security, student portfolios, and more. Learn more about Backpack here.
15 Cool Ways to Use Padlet for Teachers
Ready to give it a try? There are so many ways to use Padlet for teachers and students. Here are some of the best ideas we’ve found to inspire you.
1. Remake existing Padlets as templates
If you come across a Padlet made by someone else that you really like, you can copy it to your own account and use it as a template. You can choose to copy the posts too, or just grab the layout to get you started. It’s as simple as clicking the Remake button, then choosing what you want to copy over. The new Padlet will appear on your account, and you’re ready to go! Want to make your own templates? Visit Guiding on the Side for a walk-through.
2. Collaborate and organize
Imagine you’ve asked your class to research a topic, with each student contributing several facts. In a hands-on classroom, you might have each student write their fact on a sticky note and add it to a whiteboard. Then, together with your class, you could organize those facts by moving the notes into columns. You can do the same with Padlet, but your “sticky notes” can contain photos, graphs, videos and audio, article links, and anything else that might be useful.
On the board above, students have contributed facts about E.T.A. Hoffman, author of The Nutcracker story, as well as information about the ballet. Here’s the same board organized into columns, with posts sorted by subject. Learn how to change Padlet layouts here.
You can organize information in other ways, too, like timelines and flowcharts. The Techie Teacher has free graphic organizer Padlet templates you can re-make for your students here.
3. Get to know each other
Padlet is perfect for icebreaker activities. Ask students to share what they have in common or share an image of their favorite study space. You could even ask each student to create their own Padlet, sharing some of their favorite things. Learn how one teacher uses Padlet for a Selfie Icebreaker at Dr. Catlin Tucker.
4. Create a timeline
Padlet has a timeline feature built right in as one of their organizational options. How cool is that? Use it for history class, tracing scientific eras or evolutions, or even to map out the order of events in a book for English class. Wherever a timeline comes in handy, Padlet has you covered. Learn more about timelines here.
5. Get feedback with exit tickets
Exit tickets are a fantastic way to find out what your students learned in class and where they may still need some help. Lots of teachers have kids write their answers to a reflection question on a sticky note and post it by the door on the way out. If you’re teaching online, or want to incorporate some technology, use Padlet instead.
6. Display student work
Teachers are no longer limited to displaying student work on a classroom bulletin board or in the hallway nearby. Since Padlets are easy to share, parents can drop in and see what their kids have been working on. See how The Techie Playground does it here.
7. Keep track of who needs help
One teacher likes to use Padlet to see who needs help during independent work. Kids simply add their name to the list to indicate they need a minute of the teacher’s time. They can see how many kids are ahead of them, and no one is forgotten in the shuffle. Learn more at Stefbub’s Classroom.
8. Hold a debate
Classroom discussion and debate can be difficult when you’re teaching online. Even in person, there’s rarely enough time for everyone’s opinion to be heard. Try taking the debate online instead, like this Padlet from Teach Every Day. Post a question, then have students choose a side and gather resources about it. As students review the information posted by others, they can share their own thoughts and ask further questions. This is also an excellent way to help kids learn to have civil conversations online, even when they don’t agree on the subject.
9. Have a scavenger hunt
Everyone loves a scavenger hunt! Set up a Padlet with columns, titling each with something your students need to find. Use a scavenger hunt for team building, or create a hunt that helps students learn more about a class subject. Make a field trip more meaningful (even a virtual one!) by asking kids to post pictures that meet certain criteria. Learning the alphabet with your littles? Have them take photos of items around them that start with each letter. There’s so much you can do with this smart Padlet for teachers idea!
10. Set up a bookshelf
Use Padlet to make book recommendations or keep track of what students are reading. Recommendations by teachers or other students will help parents and kids find new reads to love. Ask kids to rate and comment on the books they’re reading for class and include their own personal choices too.
11. Make a map
Padlet’s map feature makes it a breeze to create a collaborative map for your students to use. Choose from a variety of styles, including satellite views. Add points to the map, along with information like links, photos, and more. Learn more about the map function from Free Technology For Teachers.
12. Conduct a writers’ workshop
Writers’ workshops help students develop their own skills and learn from others. One teacher has taken her writing workshops online, using Padlet to help her young writers see strong examples from their classmates while improving their own efforts. See how it’s done at Mud and Ink Teaching.
13. Use Padlet Backchannel for discussions
Padlet’s Backchannel feature makes it easy to have a discussion during another activity, like watching a film or listening to a presentation. It works just like a regular Padlet, but a text box at the bottom simplifies the process, allowing users to quickly type and send, just like in other chat programs. You can still add other items like links, images, or videos, too. Learn more about Backchannel from Richard Byrne on YouTube.
14. Assign lessons or homework
Use Padlet to keep all of your homework assignments for the week in one place, or lay out the daily lessons for a virtual classroom. You can link to videos, online games, and other resources, or create assignments directly in Padlet, like responding to reading questions. Students or parents can post questions to the assignments as needed, too. Learn how one teacher does it at Elementary Grapevine.
15. Take a poll
By enabling the voting feature, you can easily take a poll or survey for just about anything. Choose your next class reward, find out which book your students loved the most, or ask them which problem was the most difficult on last night’s math homework. There are so many possibilities!