Thursday, May 14, 2015

Guest Post: Building a Wall of Collaborative Learning

by Shelley Lynch



Recently, I presented a workshop at Reading Memorial High School’s Blue Ribbon conference for educators on tips, obstacles to achievement, other challenges in our profession.   Envisioning how to best facilitate this workshop, I sought the help of Kerry Gallagher, a Reading Memorial High School history teacher and expert in using technology in the classroom.

As a workshop presenter, I could not anticipate the number of attendees, their role, grade level, experience, needs, and so on.  I knew I wanted participants to have control over how they could share their best practices and challenges and that I would serve in the role as facilitator.   I also wanted to have available an easy to use online tool (versus flip chart paper and markers) where teachers could share tips and challenges if desired.   

Kerry suggested I use Padlet, a free program that allows participants to express their thoughts by collaborating on a virtual wall.  The program is very easy to use with lots of flexibility in security settings.  Below are screen prints of the steps I took to create a padlet.

FIrst, I created an account at Padlet.com.    You will be asked to enter your email address and to create a password.   You will also create a profile.   On the main screen shown below, there are options at the top of the screen.  To create a Padlet,  select the option “New Padlet.”


After selecting this option, another screen (see below) will appear with options listed vertically on the right side of the screen.    The second icon (plus sign) will indicate (when you move your mouse pointer over it) to “Create a New Wall.”


Prior to typing on your new wall, you should select the icon to “Modify the Wall.”    You will need to enter a title for your wall and, if desired, there is another section to enter a description of your wall.   Modifying the wall is a very important option as it will allow you to access many key setup features for your wall.  

These setup features include the following:   
  • selecting a wallpaper background, 
  • selecting a portrait image to associate with your wall, 
  • choosing the layout of how posts will appear on the wall (freeform, stream, grid), 
  • setting up the visibility/security of how public you want the wall to be (private, password protected, hidden link, totally public….), 
  • notifications which indicate how you want to be notified when someone posts on your wall, and 
  • creating the address which is a unique address/url of your wall so users can access your wall.


Once you modify your wall, you are all set to start.    For example, you as well as guests of this virtual application can pose open ended questions and obtain responses from guests.  Guests can also add a URL (video, image, document…) to the wall.   

Below is a small sample of  the wall created in my Blue Ribbon workshop.


There are a lot of online Padlet tutorial videos and sample works completed by educators.  Below is a link to the Padlet site as well as a link to a tutorial on Padlet features.


Teachers in this workshop were very curious about Padlet, and I was able to demonstrate how to use the tool in minutes.    I am looking forward to sharing this tool with students in my classes.



About the Author:

Shelley Lynch worked in private industry for 17 years as an Training and Staff Development Manager.  Her experience includes both the healthcare and financial services industries.  She has been a business education teacher for 19 years and currently serves on the School Council as a faculty representative and is a Professional Development Committee member for her school district in Reading, Massachusetts.  Shelley earned a B.S. in business with a specialization in accounting, M.B.A, and C.A.G.S.