Scaling up Padlet in schools: a great way to support learning with limited digital access

Padlets are a simple online noticeboard for displaying information, whether text, images,  video or audio. Schools and teachers have found them to be a very effective way of sharing information and collaborating during remote learning – and beyond – but they can also be scaled up massively while still staying really accessible when digital accessible might be limited. Find out how…

 

What is a Padlet?

A Padlet is an online notice board that you can use to display information – think of it as the equivalent of digital post-it notes, which can include links, video and audio. It is designed to be collaborative, but there are settings to decide how much viewers can contribute. That  makes it a really versatile tool, as you can decide everything from how it looks to the control you have over access, posting, privacy settings and sharing. Available as an app and a web version, it can be accessed through a range of devices. An individual can have three Padlet walls for free (which means that everyone in an organisation who signs up can have three padlet walls, which can add up to quite a few!)

Why might Padlet be a good choice?

The simplicity and flexibility of Padlets are a great choice for learning environments where digital access might be more limited, whether that’s because of minimal digital devices, connectivity or skills. Padlets are:

  • Simple to use. It’s easy to create something clear and visually interesting without needing to know how to build a website.
  • A Padlet can be shared via a single, public link (or QR code), accessible across practically any internet-enabled device, meaning that even those with minimal access to technology have a good chance to reaching the materials, often on their phones.
  • You can add content in different forms: for many pupils being able to listen to a voice recording, watch a video, or look at a diagram may be much easier than reading a large amount of text on a small screen.
  • You can link one padlet to another, to create your own little ecosystem of Padlet boards that are easy to navigate and help keep everything organised. 
  • A Padlet is quite reasonably priced for the amount you can achieve with it, particularly if you find creative ways of working with the number of boards available per member. 

How do they work in action?

At the Connected Learning Centre, we’ve found Padlets to be a hugely helpful tool for us in terms of adapting our teaching to different modes of delivery. When we were teaching remotely it meant we could record our own messages, screenshots or voices so that if pupils missed something during our demonstration they could recap it on the Padlet board. 

When we were able to go into schools but they weren't necessarily able to come to us, Padlet helped up take our workshops on the road by giving us a one-stop web page to share with a class; a place where we could host links, resources or information that would help during the session, or for pupils to share their work when they'd finished. 

Now that we've got into the habit of using them we've found ourselves including them more often in our in centre workshops too, particularly for giving pupils a space in which they can share their ideas and collaborate.

But how do they work in action, *scaled up*?

We worked with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in Jordan on a huge project – Learning Bridges – to enable children there to continue learning after schools were closed in March 2020. 

Learning Bridges is a national blended learning programme that links printed materials with online resources to provide weekly cross curricula activities in Arabic, maths, science and English.  By the end of the 2020 academic year, Learning Bridges had reached over half a million students in Grades 4 to 9 in over 70% of schools, including refugee camps, with a target of one million by the end of 2021-22.

Central to the programme is supporting teacher innovation through the targeted use of accessible technology – from QR codes to Padlets.

Every activity pack has its own QR code linking to a Padlet where the student’s learning experience is scaffolded with audio content and extra resources. Audio files are embedded to provide accessibility for children with visual impairments or who have difficulty reading.

Used by schools and supervisors, the Padlets have had an average of 100,000 views a month and are used at district and governorate level.  Many teachers have been inspired to create their own to enable their classes to share work and receive direct feedback.

Teachers and supervisors have described how they have shifted from thinking about teaching and learning in a ‘traditional’ way to thinking of themselves as a facilitator to learners. They noted they had increased their skill sets in the use of technology as a direct result of Learning Bridges. 

Learning Bridges – and its Padlets! – will continue to be used by teachers as a blended resource to recover and accelerate children’s learning once schools reopen (many children can still only attend school two to three days a week). 

Find out more about Learning Bridges in this discussion between CLC’s Sarah Horrocks, education specialist Jane Courtney, and Gemma Wilson-Clark, chief of education from UNICEF Jordan

What UK schools and teachers can learn from the success of Learning Bridges?

Learning Bridges shows that by working together and applying a deep understanding of pedagogy we can build clever, flexible solutions - sometimes low tech or no tech - that can improve access to learning for all pupils. 

While at the moment we're often thinking about access in terms of technology and the pandemic, it's also really important to remember some of the creative approaches educators have taken in programmes like this one when we are thinking about other reasons that pupils' access to learning may be limited, and how we may be able to better support them in the future.

Learning Bridges: In conversation with Unicef Jordan

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Upcoming CPD

Maths and digital technology forum for primary teachers
Maths and digital technology forum for primary teachers

The maths forum provides an opportunity for maths subject leaders to share their expertise and investigate new opportunities for digital technologies to support maths teaching and learning in class and online at home. The forum combines discussion with colleagues about school-wide progress in mathematics, with hands-on activities led by a CLC teacher, demonstrating how technology can be used to support maths. Activities will include programming in Scratch 3, which offers a practical way to illustrate and explore key mathematical concepts such as shape, space, position and direction.

03/11/21,
09:30
- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...
Using technology to enhance assessment and feedback in primary schools
Using technology to enhance assessment and feedback in primary schools

Discover how digital technology can change the way we assess pupils’ work. We will demonstrate how teachers can use technology to monitor, evidence and respond to pupils’ progress in school and learning online remotely, and how pupils can use technology to present and reflect on their learning. We will outline a range of approaches to help assess and evidence learning across the curriculum.

16/11/21,
09:30
- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
25/11/21,
09:30
- 14:25
KS2

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum
21/02/22,
-
KS1

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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