Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2016

Padlet

Customizable bulletin boards jazz up collaboration and ease discussion

Common Sense Says:
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Grades
6-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: It's beyond easy to use, the interface is intuitive, and help is available around every corner.

Cons: Walls are semi-private by default, meaning there's an extra step involved in ensuring total privacy for student users.

Bottom Line: Padlet gives students their own little corner of the internet to collect and save information in a simple, fun manner.

You can use Padlet in the classroom in various ways. If you are in a 1-to-1 situation, use a projector to show the class a bulletin board you create. Share the URL with the class and have students answer a discussion question, work on a "Do Now" activity, or even create an exit slip. It's also possible to use Padlet as a place to collect assignments; create a shared wall for your whole class and have students upload papers directly to the wall.

Padlet really shines as a tool for group projects. Divide the class into small groups and have them work together at home to research a particular subject -- for example, McCarthyism and the Hollywood Blacklist. Each student could devote their research to a type of media supported by Padlet (video, audio, photo, or text), add it to their group's shared wall, and then present the findings in class. Padlet's blog and Twitter feed showcase other examples of how teachers are using Padlet.

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Padlet is a website and app that allows kids to collect information from the internet and pin it onto virtual bulletin boards using a simple drag-and-drop system. Videos, text, links, images -- basically anything -- can be added to a board and organized there, like a page full of Post-it notes. There's also the option to include rich text (Padlet provides a simple HTML guide in their Help sidebar). You can add as many notes to a wall as you like; it scrolls in all directions. 

Students can also upload documents they've created, such as class notes or completed assignments. More than one person can contribute to a Padlet wall, opening the door to teamwork and group projects. Once kids create a wall, they can share it through the usual social media channels (Facebook, Twitter), export it to a file, embed it in a blog or website, or turn it into a QR code. There's also the option to keep walls private, of course.

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Editor's Note: Teachers should be aware that Padlet has some privacy concerns. Consult our full evaluation for details.

There are dozens of online bulletin board sites out there, but Padlet is one of the more intuitive and appealing for kids. The colorful backgrounds and customization options let students add some personality to walls, even if they're using them for boring ol' school stuff. The drag-and-drop interface is smooth and intuitive as well. The depth of the site depends on what you put into it; it's basically a blank page, but Padlet shares lots of helpful examples.

Privacy isn't all that tight, but with a watchful eye, there's great potential for collaboration and teamwork here. Padlet walls are great for study groups, class projects, and discussions. Padlet gives kids a lot of freedom to explore interests online and save that information in an organized manner. Whether it's school- or fun-related, kids get to create a space of their own.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

As far as online bulletin boards go, fun backgrounds and a truly simple interface make Padlet a cut above the rest. Students will like the social aspect and can even use the boards for nonschool purposes.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Organizing information is a skill students will continue to use throughout their school and work lives. By sharing boards with fellow students, they'll get experience collaborating and working as a team. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

The fantastic interface is so easy to use. A help window pops up alongside the board if needed, and the information is written in a fun, colloquial voice. Data is saved online and can easily be shared.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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