Critical Review Resource Number 2: Padlet

An addition to my previous podcast on the benefits of Padlet, I will apply the Brookfields 4 critical lenses model to the application.

Self-Review Lens:  Because we are getting towards the end of the academic year on my course,

The strength of Padlet is predominantly in its ease of use. There is no need to register to write on a wall and as long as the students have the web address then it is incredibly easy to access. Minimal detail is required to write on the wall, and it is informal enough to allow the student to feel free to make their thoughts heard. Of course, it can only form a very small part of the range of tools to be used in the learning environment – but as a sounding board for student opinion, I think it could be great.

I have started to use Padlet as a forum for the students to discuss which topics they feel like they need the most help with before their examinations. I always ask the students to lead the discussions in terms of revision topics, but in a classroom environment it can occasionally lead to the loudest voices getting their opinions heard over the others. Therefore I hoped that Padlet will give everybody an equal voice.

However, one aspect which has become a recurring theme throughout my attempts to introduce new technologies into the classroom is student apathy. Very few students contributed to the Padlet wall. The apathy is likely to contain some fault on my part as to how and when I requested their input into the wall at this stage of their studies.

My main concern I believe to be the timing. Because we are at the end of the year, any introduction of new formats is perhaps being met with scepticism. I feel that such tools would be more successful if introduced at the beginning of the module, therefore the students are familiar with its use and will be more likely to contribute. Therefore my enthusiasm has not been dampened, and I will be introducing the use of an online wall in my classes next year, along with other technologies

Student Review Lens: We can partly see the student response in the above section – one of general apathy. I, as a student myself, have posted on the Padlet walls on this module, but as much as a sense of duty as expecting to gain any learning from it. Its downside was, perhaps, well explained by one of my students, who suggested that it would have been quicker to reply to my question in person – but I think this was due more to the question posted on the wall than to the limitations of the online ‘wall’ itself.

I also noticed that one of my students created a pseudonym so that they would not be identified – I think that to some extent, this could be seen as both a strength and a weakness of the tool. The anonymity allows the student to express their thoughts honestly without fear of a reprisal. However, it can also promote the somewhat less relevant posts (although there is options for approval of a post before it appears on the wall)

Peer Review Lens: This is a tool that quite a lot of my colleagues are using and have been happy with. Looking at the teacher led reviews online, I can see that again, it is a very well received product. EdTechReview (2013) commented on its ease of use and its best aspect being able to create as many walls as required). Takenouchi (2013), suggested its main benefit was the ability to collaborate with others, giving the students the opportunity to have the same usability as the teacher. This can lead to true collaboration between the students, and could lead to much deeper learning. This, like in the previous post on Thinglink, depends on the imaginations of the teacher or the learners.

Theoretical Review Lens: Thinking such as hybrid pedagogy, where the boundaries of a classroom are less defined, lends itself very well to the use of online walls such as Padlet. The hybrid classroom would not let the design of a classroom (i.e. the walls and desks) to influence its pedagogy (Hybrid Pedagogy, 2014, Online). By effectively using a virtual, online wall, this can break down the restrictions that the classroom brings. Morris (2014), when discussing digital Pedagogy, suggests that many of the decisions we base around our teaching a dictated by our classroom environment (where we stand, etc..). Again, the use of an online blackboard is another tool that can be used to evolve pedagogy into a digital era.

On a different note Jisc ((Online, No date) discussed Padlet as ‘an easy way for tutors and learners to have an online presence without needing to be part of a corporate system’. It was also commented that no other virtual learning environment was required to run a Padlet wall, so this offered excellent opportunities to teachers in different settings.

Overall, I see Padlet as a tool which I will undoubtedly use occasionally rather than extensively. Hopefully if I can improve on my timing next year I can get a better level of success

Yet again, without a relevant plugin (which I cannot access), I am unable to embed Padlet into my WordPress blog – yet again you will have to make do with a link and a screenshot. I think this is saying more about WordPress than Thinglink or Padlet, though

http://padlet.com/d_dunning/visopsrevisionImage

References:

EdTechReview. (2103) Padlet – Paper for the web [Online.] Available: http://edtechreview.in/reviews/243-padlet-paper-for-the-web [Accessed 17/05/2014]

Hybrid Pedagogy. (2014) How to Build an Ethical Online Course [Online.] Available: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/how-to-build-an-ethical-online-course/ [Accessed 18/05/2014]

Jisc. (ND) Pedagogy [Online.] Available: http://jisctechdis.ac.uk/discover_jisc/research-pedagogy [Accessed 18/05/2014]

Morris, S. (2014) What is Digital Pedagogy? [Online.} Available: http://learning.instructure.com/2014/03/what-is-digital-pedagogy/ [ Accessed 18/05/2014]

Takenouchi, S. (2013) Padlet: A Blank Slate on the Web to Collaborate With Others [Online.] Available: http://web.appstorm.net/reviews/media-reviews/padlet-a-blank-slate-on-the-web-to-collaborate-with-others/  [Accessed 18/05/2014]

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2 comments

  1. Excellent review of Padlet Dean. May I please add this a link to my own wiki on OnlineTools4Learning at: http://onlinetools4learning.pbworks.com/w/page/56578768/List%20of%20Online%20Tools?

    I think you are right to comment on using Padlet only occasionally. It is simply one tool of many and I think if you were to introduce it at the beginning of a semester learners wouldn’t have been so apathetic. I have introduced it to learners today on a site enhancement programme so that they showcase their work (projects in action) collaboratively and easily.

    Some educators prefer Lino.com so it might be worth looking at http://en.linoit.com/ You could read Jill’s comparison at: http://jilltoddictlearning.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/padlet-vs-lino/

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