Ten Visual Collaboration and Sharing Ideas

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This blog was originally posted on March 24th, 2015.

Have you ever asked students to brainstorm without words? Thanks to a recent discovery, I’m imagining new possibilities for visual collaboration and sharing using Padlet.

Padlet is a free, online white board tool, which can be used anonymously and collaboratively. I typically set up a board for each class, and students then brainstorm ideas related to recent projects or readings.

Padlet isn’t limited to words however. You can post links, videos, and images. I used the feature last fall when my students used Padlet to brainstorm about a project on Talk Like a Pirate Day. I had included an image to make the Pirate Translator easy to find. I just never thought about the implications until recently.

First let me explain logistics, and then I’ll share some ideas for using this feature. Students can upload an image or add a link to a video. A thumbnail of the image or video shows up on the Padlet. You can grab the corner to resize the image, or click on it once to open the image or video in its original size. You can click on videos to play them.

With Padlet, then, students can post images and videos all on one screen, and you can then compare the thumbnails and explore each item in more detail. There’s no need to open a file or page for every student in class. One page has everything you need.

So, next, how can you use this feature? Here are ten things you could ask students to post using the image or video sharing capabilities of Padlet:

  1. Brainstorm using images found by searching for the topic online.
  2. Share digital badges for simple class presentations and discussion.
  3. Upload images of students’ writing spaces or tools and discuss similarities and differences.
  4. Post signs from campus or the local area for writing inspiration.
  5. Share “getting to know you” videos.
  6. Post word clouds for the class to discuss.
  7. Upload Writing/Learning Memes students have created.
  8. Create a classroom film festival by posting videos on a related topic.
  9. Post revision doodles and discuss the varying definitions of revision.
  10. Share some Do-It-Yourself Visual Appeals.

Essentially, anytime students have images or videos to share, you can do so on a Padlet to simplify the process of gathering links or texts. You can then compare the thumbnail versions and talk about first impressions, or you can work though the images or videos one-by-one and discuss what you find. I can’t wait to try this feature out in the classroom.

How could you use the image and video sharing abilities in Padlet? Please share your ideas with me. Just leave me a comment below, or drop by my page on Facebook or Google+.

About the Author
Traci Gardner, known as "tengrrl" on most networks, writes lesson plans, classroom resources, and professional development materials for English language arts and college composition teachers. She is the author of Designing Writing Assignments, a contributing editor to the NCTE INBOX Blog, and the editor of Engaging Media-Savvy Students Topical Resource Kit.