Padlet is a tool that is touted as “possibly the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world,” according to the padlet.com website. In plain English, Padlet is a virtual wall that allows people (students, coworkers, instructors, etc.) to collaborate and express their thoughts on topics easily. I think about it as a canvas or sheet of paper. Collaborators/participants have control of putting their ideas on virtual paper using different types of media (text, documents, pictures, videos, and more) on the page. It is a visually appealing way to brainstorm, share videos, share files, or share images. One big benefit is that it is completely free and accessible on any device.
This tool can be used in many leadership situations in the education, healthcare, business, and non-profit worlds, just as a few examples. In the video I created below, I created an example of using it in a classroom environment. My scenario was working on a project about Jesuit values. I recorded a simple brainstorming session where a few people in “cohort 99” started by posting what their favorite Jesuit value is. This tool seems to be a great way to start collaboration with students with a wide array of technical abilities. A novice can easily click on the link then click on the wall and start typing. A person with more technical ability can use the wall in more of a robust fashion, such as posting video, linking to a blog, and much more. It could be used in the classroom as a journal, to create engaging discussions, brainstorming, and much more.
There are some downsides, however. The main thing, which also can be looked at as a benefit, is its simplicity. Padlet doesn’t have any robust type of workflow, for example. It would be handy for the beginning part of working on a project, such as brainstorming, but would not be suitable for more advanced parts of putting a project together. Due to its simplicity I think it would get a lot more use in a K-12 education setting. It still could get use in a college environment, but perhaps only for simpler tasks.
I see a variety of opportunities for this, particularly with younger and inexperienced users. In an elementary school environment it would be a great way to introduce children to an online collaborative environment. The teacher could allow each child to answer a question, such as “what was the highlight of your summer?” while also searching the Internet for some pictures to post. This would be a great icebreaker or an introduction to a class project. This tool could also be used in the business environment as well. A team lead or supervisor could use this to keep each team member or subordinate on task for the week. The supervisor could post a list of tasks and ask each person to keep the board updated with a quick status of the task. One of the benefits of this tool is that it looks a lot friendlier and more appealing to the eye as compared to a Microsoft Project document, for example. That doesn’t mean it can take place of the Microsoft Project document, but can still help facilitate information gathering and sharing.
Here is the 6 minute video I created showing how to quickly set up a Padlet page as well as some common settings that a person would want to consider configuring.