Padlet: A Blank Slate on the Web to Collaborate With Others

As an educator who is obsessed with technology, I am always looking for ways in which my class and I can use technology to help enhance their learning. I am also looking for ways to utilize the web with students as much as I can because it usually offers two things that are great for education. One, with the web, apps are usually accessible where ever there is a browser available, and that means students have no excuse to be able to access it. Two, most times, web apps are low cost or even free, which with education, is a huge thing being that budgets are always tight.

So, when I got to play around with Padlet for a couple of days, I really got excited for how I could use this both in my personal life as well as with my students. Padlet takes the concept of a blank piece of paper, and lets you put whatever you want on it and share it with people. With the web, this takes this “blank piece of paper” concept and lets you do even more. Let me  show you more about what I am talking about.

Using Padlet

When you first start to use Padlet you have a blank page where you can do a variety of things. You can drag and drop documents, images, and PDF’s from your desktop to your wall. You can also copy and paste links to videos or websites as well as use your computer’s camera to take a picture to put up. Lastly, you have the option to just start typing on your page and create notes on it.

Adding items to your wall

Adding items to your wall

A couple of other features that are worth noting about using Padlet is that you can choose to have a background to help make your page stand out and you can also choose between two different layouts. The first one is called Freeform, which like the name states, lets you put things where ever you want on your page. The second one is called Stream, where items that you put on your wall are ordered one after the other, which makes it kind of look like a blog.

Choosing a layout to use

Choosing a layout to use

The Power of Sharing

When you are done adding and putting things onto your wall, you can now share it with others in a variety of ways. Whenever you start a new wall, you are automatically given a unique URL for it, and you can decide to keep it and share that with others, or you can create your own address that starts with padlet.com/wall. Another option that you have is that if you have your own domain, you can use that instead, which is a nice option to have.

Creating a unique URL for your wall

Creating a unique URL for your wall

When you are ready to share your wall, Padlet does not skimp on options for you. You can share your wall through a variety of social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. They can be emailed and people can subscribe to the RSS feed for your wall or it can be shared as a jpeg as well. Pages can also be embedded on other websites using the embed code that they give you and they even have a WordPress plugin where you can easily get your wall into your WordPress site. Lastly, they give you a QR code that you can share with others to get to your page.

Lots of sharing options to choose from

Lots of sharing options to choose from

If you are one who wants a little more control on how and who you share your page with, there are some options for you here as well. You can make it private where just the people you email the link to can see your wall. It can also be password protected or given a hidden link, where you can control what people can do when they visit your wall.

Privacy features

Privacy features

The Killer Feature

In my opinion, the best feature of Padlet is its ability to collaborate with others. When you share your wall with someone or a group of people, they will be able to go to your page, and be able to contribute to it with the same features that you have to add things. What I really like about this is that you don’t have to sign up for an account or anything else, you just go to the page and start adding to it. There are no barriers that get in the way of you contributing, which is really nice to have. Again, to reference my education experience, this is huge for students when I want an app that they can participate in. This way they can just start adding to the conversation and don’t have to sign up or create an account. It gives groups of people the ability to collaborate easily and effortlessly, which makes Padlet useful in a wide variety of scenarios.

Example of others contributing to a page

Example of others contributing to a page

Final Thoughts

What I love about Padlet is that because it is web based it really opens up the opportunity to interact almost seamlessly. You don’t have to be at a computer to be a part of the conversation, you can be on your smartphone, tablet, or any other device that has a web connection. That being said, I would love to see them come out with an iPad app as I think that would definitely enhance the experience of Padlet in the classroom as well as in business.

The app itself is free to use and I am unsure if they do plan to charge for any part of the service at some point. I like that it is very intuitive and comes with a good amount of features that you will find useful. If you are looking for a simple, web based way to collaborate on projects, documents, or other things, this is a great app to try out.

 


Summary

Use a blank web page to add and collaborate on documents, images, videos, and text using Padlet.

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