There are any number of new platforms that you can use to bolster writing in your classroom. Padlet is the digital equivalent of organizing your writing by sticking Post-It notes on your wall—but it’s so much more than that. A single “wall” can be used by your entire class to organize ideas, brainstorm, comment back-and-forth, and create a stream of text and images.
You can use Padlet as a stand-alone activity, like a discussion board, or at an early stage in a longer writing process. Padlet offers you a “blank canvas” that your students can engage with as they begin developing ideas for final papers or projects, allowing you to scaffold and build toward larger writing assignments.
For instructions on setting up your Padlet, check out Padlet’s Youtube tutorial.
**Note: Padlet is not a UW-supported software.
If you want your students to get outside of the formal online discussion board platform on Canvas, Padlet offers a less formal alternative. Students can easily draw, record, add pictures and more in their posts, which expands the possibilities for their responses beyond simply text. You can also post the questions you want addressed and have students pick and choose which ones they respond to (see Example for more). Offering a discussion board through Padlet can also increase accessibility and ease of engagement for students by giving them alternative means of interacting with their classmates.
If your class is synchronous or in-person, using Padlet as a quick warm-up activity can allow students the space to ease into your classroom. You can ask students to do a quick “word association” or answer a short question related to the day’s course content. Padlet allows students to see how others are thinking about a particular topic and can quickly spur lively conversation and debate. It can also give you a sense of where students are at with the content and allow you to identify and correct potential misconceptions. You will want to assure students before they write that this writing won’t be graded and is meant to gauge where they are at with the material—this will permit them to express themselves honestly and with genuine engagement.
Because you can customize how you want posts to be displayed—left-to-right, top-to-bottom, or free-form—students can use the expanded space of Padlet to get creative. This is an especially fruitful option to help spur ideas for students who organize their thoughts or brainstorm in less-linear ways. Especially with group projects, Padlet offers an interactive and highly collaborative canvas that can offer students more freedom in exploring ideas than a collaborative Google Doc (though we like those too!).