How I Use It
I have used this website many times in class for a variety of lessons, activities, and the like. It's a great website for an impromptu discussion, a parking lot, or word wall, as long as students have access to the url address, then it works. My favorite aspect of this website is the amount of collaboration students have an the ease of use in the website.
Most of the time using Padlet.com has been in the verge of creating opportunities for discussions to happen in class. The class period would start where I have set up a Padlet wall and ask students to go to the url address that I post either on the wall itself or on a whiteboard. I will give brief instructions as to what they have to produce on the Padlet wall, and the discussion comes as students finish and are asked to respond to the posts that they feel are the strongest or find most interesting. Also the accountability on the students working is that the Padlet wall is posted on my Smartboard so that everyone can see how far everyone is and what progress is being made. I keep the wall disorganized/organic in the sense that learning is messy and it's definitely more fun to allow students the opportunities to compliment other students on what they have posted with random hashtag posts that are established prior to the lesson or class.
I use a writing structure so that students know exactly what it is that I they are using and what they have to produce. Due to it's ease on either laptop or iPad, it makes for a very versatile tool. But, only one link per post, I had students do multiple posts. We read a section from Lord of the Flies where Simon is killed, students had to take a selfie of their reaction. The reaction that they posted to the wall had to be explained, supported by textual evidence, then organized as all selfies needed to be ordered from most to least amount of reaction. Students had to communicate and work together to formulate conclusions based on student faces and reactions.
Recently, I had students do a character analysis of the character of Medea, from the play, Medea. Students had a format to follow, four different squares of a character in relation to other characters in the play. Students had to search for textual evidence in the play to support their claim about the character. Students, as they saw fit needed to organize their posts in a way that shows the character's decline into insanity. Students then had to respond to one other student from the wall and bring light to something that they stated but quickly--teaching digital citizenship:140 characters including a hashtag that is usually established beginning the class. Students are able to read other posts and create discussions, questions, piggy-backs, while the teacher monitors and supports all students in their thinking, tech support, and extending.
As far as publishing these walls to the web, as the creator of the wall, you can share and lock the screen so that only people with the link can view. To share these walls with a broader audience, I plan on having students share with their parents, take selfies--or us-sies-- with their parents and post it to the wall, then share their response to their posts and their reaction of what was done--a little accountability and way to involve parents in their student's learning.
The website is extremely versatile. Being in a high school classroom and primarily only access to iPads, it becomes a very useful tool and way to create and utilize tech to publish to more audiences. As long as you are providing students with a structure of what the writing should look like, or a type of writing they should accomplish for the wall, students are able to share everything and anything, but structure is key. The walls are extremely secure in the sense that if you are the teacher and creating the wall, students cannot alter or change other students' entries. Students have the ability to move their posts, add posts, delete only their posts, and as creator, you have all control over all the posts that are brought up. The Padlet wall becomes a great way to collaborate for character analysis, and is a great way to share ideas between class periods in process. But it also never goes away, saves automatically, and can be pulled up for future discussions as reference.