Padlet is a multidimensional, yet easy-to-use online platform and interactive space that can enhance any learning experience. Padlet can be used as an alternative to note taking using pencil and paper or even Microsoft Word, as an online curation tool, as a collaborative space for team projects, or as a way for students to demonstrate their learning.
The intuitive nature of Padlet makes for seamless use of its many features. For an overview, check out “What is Padlet And How Does it Work for Teachers and Students”.
Below is a sample lesson plan for middle and high school students that is focused on social studies. While this is just one idea for using Padlet for teaching and learning, the utility of Padlet can transcend across grade bands and subject areas.
Subject: Social Studies
Topic: Historical Events
Grade Band: Middle and High School
At the end of the lesson, students will be able to:
- Identify primary and secondary sources connected to a historical event
- Digitally document artifacts related to a historical event
Before facilitating the lesson, create a screencast for students explaining how to login and make a blank Padlet. Depending on what email platform your students use, they may be able to log in using their existing Google, Apple, or Microsoft account. Or, students can set-up a free account or use the Backpack user entry point if your school has a Padlet license.
There are seven different Padlet layout options: wall, stream, grid, shelf, map, canvas, and timeline. You can decide whether to allow students to choose the layout or you can assign a specific layout depending on the assignment. For this social studies lesson on historical events, it might be useful to recommend using the timeline layout.
More often than not, historical events are presented as these singular moments without going into detail beyond dates, location, and important figures. With Padlet, deeper learning can take place and allow for students to learn more comprehensively about these happenings.
During social studies class, students can create a Padlet that digitally documents various artifacts related to a historical event being studied. Using the “post composer” feature on Padlet, students can type in a word and search for related images, GIFs, YouTube video, Spotify audio, and webpages. This is a chance for students to practice being critical consumers of online content and discern the difference between primary and secondary sources.
Have students follow a rubric which outlines the criteria for the content that they need to have on their Padlet, which may include all or some of the following related to the historical event an/or time period:
- Speeches or letters
- Image or artwork
- Documents, legislations, or decrees
- Podcasts or audio files
- Video or documentaries
As students gather content for their historical event Padlet, they can drag and drop it to the position on the Padlet that they would like. They can also add notes to each artifact by using audio, video, images, or typing text. In this way, students are not just posting different types of content to the Padlet but they are also demonstrating to you that they understand what the artifact is and its relation to the historical event.
Once students have completed their Padlets, they can share with their classmates via a URL link, QR code, embed code to be placed within the class LMS, or through email. If students are focused on different historical events, then the other students can learn about each event by engaging with their classmate’s Padlet. Even if students are covering the same happening, they will likely have different content and can learn more about it through a different lens.
Be sure to have students select the visitor permissions as “secret” so the public cannot access the Padlet but those who are given permission (i.e. other classmates) can. Students and teachers can also decide if they want peers to just read, write comments, or edit the shared Padlet.
How Can All Students Work on One Padlet Together?
As an alternative to students working on individual Padlets, they can all contribute to one class Padlet on a historical event. This would be a great project for studying significant incidents that lasted for a long period of time or that have a large amount of related content. Look at your school’s social studies curriculum and use that as a guide to choosing which events to cover.
Since Padlet is online and has an autosave feature, students do not need to be in the same physical space to work with one another, which makes Padlet a great choice for connecting in-person and online students in dual audience learning environments.
Tech Inclusion Tips
One special feature of Padlet is that it is available in 42 languages. Use Padlet in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and with English Language Learners. Sample Padlets can be created in the student’s home language as a model, or students in language classes can create their Padlets in the language that they are studying.
You may want to also consider using Padlet as a message and document board for families of your students whose first language is not English. Additionally, because of the visual nature of Padlet and ability to use so many diverse content types (images, video, audio, documents, etc.), students who are more visual learners can be accommodated as well as students who need auditory support.