Padlet has been a mainstay in classrooms for years. It was previously known as Wallwishers. Basically it is a blank canvas and you add notes. These notes can include links to websites, various types of files and images. If you use the premium option you get more options such as uploading videos from your phone, premium themes, larger storage and a few more perks.
Let’s get into it.
Step 1 – Signing up
This is crazy easy. You can sign up with your Google, Facebook or Twitter account. To sign up with your email, just give them your email, make a password and click I’m Beautiful. I think that last part is really to prove that you are not a robot.
Step 2 – Your dashboard
When you first log in – you have a pretty lonely dashboard, but worry not we will change that.
Normally you see a list of your Padlets and a list of activity that has happened like the image below.
So let’s create our first Padlet and change this situation. To start one, click on New padlet in the top right hand corner.
It’ll take a second but then you will find yourself inside your fist blank Padlet, which is very much an empty canvas. To add anything, just double click. No menu to drag items, no shortcut keys, no convoluted floating window that you constantly have to move around to see what may be hiding under it. Just double click and what looks like a sticky note appears.
Here you can write a title, a description and then add a webpage, upload a file or use your webcam (if you have one … you probably have one) to take a photo. All in all its simplicity is great. It’s easy enough that a young elementary student can use it and it is flexible enough that someone in higher education can use it as well. It is pretty rare to find a tool that can appeal to that wide of an audience.
You can do more and we will cover that in Step 4.
Step 3 – Settings
I don’t want you to misinterpret what I’m saying here. I know a lot of people here the word simplicity and they equate that to very little options. That is not the case with Padlet. You will notice on the far right hand side of your Padlet a little menu bar with icons. This is a place that you will not visit too often, but it does have some important features. Check out the image below to get a quick idea.
Here is a list and quick description:
– Home = Takes you to your dashboard
– New = Let’s you create a new Padlet
– YOU! = Let’s you switch between your Padlets, access your account and log out
– Share = Let’s you share it on social media, get a QR code for easy mobile access and get that all important embed code to put it in websites
– Info = Gives you very basic info about that particular Padlet
– Help = A very helpful quick guide to Padlet’s features
– Settings = The settings where you can change privacy, the wallpaper and more
The settings are where you can make some real changes. Check out the image below.
Here you can change the wall paper, and a favicon of sorts to your Padlet, change the privacy settings and more. I do have to say that many of the wallpapers are kind of ugly. I tended to pick the backgrounds with a light colored background.
Step 4 – Adding content to your Padlet
Like I mentioned earlier, all you need to do is double click to add text, images, webpages and more. You can also drag and drop files right inside of Padelt making it even easier to get those files uploaded.
Since not all sites support all files, I thought I would take it through some of its paces to see what I could and couldn’t upload. Check out my list below.
- PowerPoints = You can preview the whole presentation without animations and sounds
- Word documents = Both .doc and .docx files
- Excel files = You can preview the spreadsheet (thought is was a simple one with no charts and only one sheet)
- Images = Yes it supports animated GIFs
- PDF = You can preview
- Youtube = Yep and I’m assuming that the same goes for Vimeo videos as well
- Your own video/audio files = Sure as long as it is less than 25 MB.
- Apple’s Pages file – It uploaded, but no preview was available
- Apple’s Keynote – It would not upload
- Apple’s Numbers – I didn’t try but I imagine it would work like the Pages file. Also, you shouldn’t be using this lousy program anyway
Step 5 – Collaborating
One reason why I’m writing about Padlet is its ability for students and colleagues to collaborate in real time together. In this day and age, this feature is a must (looking at you Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel online). Of course you can turn it off if you need to. By default your Padlet is publicly available through a Hidden Link. This means that you have to share the URL of your Padlet to people who want to work on it.
To get to all the settings select Settings from the far right hand menu and then select Privacy. Check out the image below.
As you can see, you can make it private, invite people through email, make it totally public (meaning people can even search for it) and even add a password to it. This flexibility really makes Padlet pretty sweet. To me, it is very clear of what everything means and makes it very easy to find and accomplish what you want to do concerning the privacy of your Padlet.
As for as the actual using of it, I had no notification when someone else was editing the Padlet and when changes were made, items just appeared, moved or were modified in an instant. If someone has editing rights, they can change whatever they want which makes sense, but if a person logs in and deletes everything I couldn’t find a log or version history that will allow me to see who did this or if it could be recovered. Something that makes Google Docs pretty darn sweet.
Also, if a person edited someone else’s addition, it never reflected that anywhere. Another thing that made me a little uncomfortable. However, Padlet’s answer to this is to allow the owner to moderate all new posts. You can find this option in the Privacy settings at the bottom.
When a person tries to add something it looks like this.
The owner sees this on their screen.
Once approved it shows up for everyone to see. If it is not approved, it is just removed. No notification is given to the author. The post just ceases to be. The owner even got a warning message saying that this could not be undone.
Also, people invited to edit cannot delete or edit anyone else’s posts once the moderation feature has been turned on. Of course the original author can delete or edit their posts.
Step 6 – Sharing
Sharing is important – almost as important as collaborating and Padlet has some interesting tricks up its sleeve here. Of course, you can share it to a bunch of social media outlets with a click of a button and then you need to sign in. You can also email, print or subscribe to it via RSS feed. I guess if you want to see what’s happening to your Padlet in your news feed you can.
There’s even a QR code for those with tablets and mobile devices that want to see it, in all its glory.
What really caught my attention was the Export features. You can export it as and image which is nice, but the PDF looks pretty cool. It is a timeline of what was added, by whom and when. Check it out.
That is just kind of neat. Sure images and notes added are not displayed, but all the links are there if you want to go directly to that info and it is a nice way to kind of summarize all that there is in a nicely looking package.
You can also export it to an Excel or CSV file. Both look pretty similar. Check it out.
Last but not least you can embed it into a webpage (it’s not WordPress.com friendly as of this post but Padlet said they are working to change that).
To check it out yourselves, click on the link below:
Summing it up
Padlet is pretty good. It works with Google Apps for Education and if your school shells out a little cash, you can some other nice features as well. I know people who swear by it and others who are less charmed with it. I’m going to be checking out Lino.it later this week to see how to two compare.