I have always been keen that our iPads do more than just work as laptop replacements. I saw many examples in other schools of the iPad as a research tool or a reward. The phrase “we got the iPads out” didn’t always fill me with excitement as often this was about digital babysitting.
With this in mind I came to Padlet – a web-based collaborative word wall that reminds me of Etherpad or Primarywall. Padlet can be accessed from a tablet or a computer via a browser. It can be entirely open or password protected, it can be exported as CSV, PDF, embedded in a blog, shared through social networks or emailed to a colleague. Crucially it provide another way for using iPads and a range of possibilities and contexts for using them other than just a spelling task described below.
Today I explored how it might be used in a lesson as part of our whole school INSET on Guided Spelling. One of the most important elements of learning new “spelling” words is seeing them in context. With the help of the dictionary.com app children can find definitions and exemplar sentences before using them in their own phrases and sentences. Of course, you could ask your class to write these in the back of their literacy book or on ephemeral dry wipe boards. But Padlet allows groups to create and compile a shared list of sentences which can be accessed beyond the lesson.
For this to really work, I’d recommend a small group working together on a Padlet, with the teacher having the same Padlet screen on the interactive whiteboard. This means that during the lesson activity children can feel th excitement of seeing their ideas appear on-screen. It puts a bit of pressure on the group to come up with a substantial list too as everyone can see their efforts. It also means the teacher has a visible record of the learning, which can the be exported or shared for further contributions.
To illustrate the idea of using Padlet for sentence writing in spelling, I asked colleagues and friends to contribute to a Pad with a focus on “ou” words. Take a look at their efforts on the link below – thanks to all who helped: