Evolution of Padlet

When I first started using Padlet as a social distancing strategy in the classroom, I posted about the benefits of using it for group work (see Social Distance Group Work: Padlet). Since then it has transformed my online remote teaching and enhanced my students learning.

I thought I would do a quick recording on how to use padlet and the different facilities it offers.

I use Padlet for:

Discussion Questions:

Sharing lines of argument:

Image board to comment on:

Sharing revision posters:

Research activities:

What I would like to try:

1. Assessment: students post introductions for feedback, post part of an essay for students to comment on (peer assessment). ​

2. Homework task i.e. watch this video add your thoughts​

3. Try the different boards available (only tried Wall so far).

If you have used Padlet in any other ways please comment and share.

Colour Coordination: Highlighting those Skills

BossI am obsessed with highlighters! I never use to be, I could teach a whole lesson without the words ‘grab a highlighter’ but now this is not the case. Why? Because they are the best thing to help students focus on the task at hand. Now as many of you know I am a huge Inner Drive and Bradley Busch fan and find their research into metacognition extremely interesting OIP (1)(see The Science of Learning if you would like to know more).  However they do not advocate the use of highlighting as part of effective learning. I wish to disagree. Here are some ways that using highlighters can be very effective for learning:

Assessment strategy:

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  • Students highlight the key words from the question in their answer. This will guarantee they have focused specifically on the words in the question and have adapted their essay answer to what the examiners have asked. An excellent or top mark essay will use the words in the question throughout an answer. Note: whilst students might think they have answered the question, only by highlighting the key words will they know for sure.
  • Give an essay and remove the question. Can students work out the question by highlighting the key words that are used throughout?
  • Highlight A01 and A02 in different colours.
  • Students use the examiner’s mark scheme to self assess their own essays by highlighting the relevant criteria that applies to their work.(See Improve Your Essays Using Mark Schemes for further help).78637489_2556535761294327_7496363354965934080_o

Feedback:

  • Using  general or whole class feedback given by the teacher, highlight your essay/ work where the comments apply to your answer. Then make the relevant changes.
  • Rather than writing the same thing throughout when marking a piece of work/ essay use highlights to draw attention to different things e.g. spelling in one colour, misunderstandings in another.

Revision:

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Social Distance Group Work: Padlet

Teaching Criminology has introduced me to a different exam board, assessment strategies and content. For the first time ever I also have a lesson a week in a computer room! Yes, that special room that only a few subjects get to experience, that is always booked out and unavailable, I now have every week. So never one to just do the ‘sit down and research’ task, I decided to pilot a new teaching strategy in my first computer room lesson. Padlet. Padlet is an online resource where students can create interactive notice boards of information. What better for socially distanced group work?  

After 20 minutes of chaos trying to set up the padlets and send the links to the relevant groups of students, we finally settled into a research routine. The results were fantastic! Every group (there were five in total) were able to work together to create an interactive board with links, photos, videos, write ups, articles, research all that represented the topic area assigned to them such as Hate Crime or Domestic Abuse. The boards are immediately updated so everyone in the group can see what is being added in real time. The finished boards were then exported into PDF and shared with the classes to keep in their folders.  

So how do you use it? First of all sign up for Padlet or access through Microsoft (if you use Teams through your school/college you will get immediate access). To set the boards up, go to ‘make’ and then ‘wall’, from here you can go to the top right hand corner with the settings symbol and alter the background and enable name visibility, authorising comments, allowing students to comment on each other’s posts etc. Then share the link with the students and they can start adding materials to it by pressing the plus sign in the pink circle in the bottom right hand corner. Once completed export the documents into PDF and save them. The bonus of using Padlet is that all the hyperlinks to articles etc. that were on the original board, still work on the PDF worksheet. So it really becomes an invaluable resource for future work and revision.  

I highly recommend it! It would also work really well remotely, so could be a group activity that students complete from home.  

Teaching and Learning Reflections 2019-2020

Who would ever have expected last year to turn out the way it did! As we commence into the unknown of teaching amidst Covid precautions, I reflect on what went well, changes made and the lessons learnt.

Last year I aimed to try three new things: Consolidation Packs, half termly quizzes and folders. Two out of three of these were a success – well for the first half of the year they were.

Firstly the Consolidation Packs, a booklet organised with a Blank Sheet Summary and Essay Question for each topic. Each week my students routinely had a Consolidation lesson on the previous week’s topic, allowing them to forget and then re-learn the topic. Every consolidation lesson followed the same structure: revise for ten minutes, from memory write down everything can remember on a blank sheet, using notes fill in any gaps, test then essay writing.  This routine emphasized more testing over revising, key to memory training (see The Science of Learning for more information on memory and recall).

I asked my students what they thought and there were mixed responses, mainly positive but a few, as expected, were not as keen. Some comments included: “I thought they were really helpful, gave time to ask questions and clarify any missing areas from the topics” and “The KKT’s and blank sheet summaries were very useful because they forced me to revise the topics as we completed them” and “The exam questions with a guide for structure were extremely helpful.” For more information on the Consolidation Packs see: Revision Must-Do: Blank Sheet Summary

Secondly the half termly quizzes, whilst only doing three, seemed to work really well. The aim was to test the students on their key words. So after October half term I created a table of all the key philosophical words encountered thus far e.g. A Priori and the students had to write the definition for each word. After Christmas they got the same list of words with new ones added. After February they got the previous two tests with all the further new words added. This is a retrieval strategy, once again designed to train their memory, moving the words from short to long term recall. 

Lastly the folders never happened due to budgeting, however generally my students maintain very organised folders to support their revision. 

Last year also had a few firsts for me. These included: 

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Fountain of Knowledge: MOOCs free online courses

I have been fortunate that lockdown has enabled me to explore those things on my ‘to do list’ that I never quite get chance to do. This includes reading pedagogical books, watching educational live streams (see ResearchED ) and signing up to my first MOOCS (a free online course database).

After enjoying browsing through the vast amount of courses available, in what seems like endless subject areas from institutions all over the world, I decided to choose: Testing Times in the Classroom: Challenges of 21st Century Education, provided by the University of Exeter through Future Learn. This seemed like a good choice in the current climate, I wanted to explore the pedagogy surrounding current education but also hear the thoughts and views of teachers and educators across the world during the crisis. I am currently only in my second week but so far it has lived up to everything I had wanted.

Each course works differently but this is a four week course, which releases tasks, articles, interesting questions to consider, polls and discussion forums each week. There are a number of activities that are easy to work through, manageable, engaging and you can easily stop and start according to busy schedules. It outlines a requirement of four hours each week, however this could go up or down depending on your level of commitment to the discussions, reading and adding to the comments as you go. It also doesn’t matter if you fall a little behind as you can still access the previous week’s activities.

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Perks of the Surface Go for Virtual Feedback

During a routine learning walk last year, I observed a teacher mastering the use of a Surface Go in his Maths lesson. He passed the small computer around the students, who added their equations and workings out via a touch screen pen. These annotations were directly projected onto the main classroom board for the teacher to make further comments on. This ended up being an expensive observation! I left the lesson thinking of all the different ways this technology could be used within a humanities subject, from modelling essays to peer assessment strategies.  

After researching the different styles and sizes, I decided to purchase the Microsoft Surface Go, a small, compact and entirely efficient touch screen computer. I now had this exciting piece of equipment, lots of ideas, students always willing to try new things and then I lost my nerve. I didn’t quite dare break the established routine of my lessons and I just didn’t know where to start! Then lockdown happened, every teacher had to reinvent themselves virtually and I had no choice but to think differently. And I had just the computer to help…

So how does the Surface Go differ from other technology and virtual learning programmes?

1. For face to face feedback with individuals or small groups then Zoom works well. You can share your screen with students and therefore go through PowerPoints or essays. However, I have huge issues with students sharing their locations with me and other students, they could be in their bedrooms or with family members during these meetings, so seeing their faces raises privacy issues for me.

2. For live streamed lessons with comments but no student faces, then YouTube works well. These videos can be unlisted so only students who you share the link with have access, plus you can store and share your video via YouTube for future classes.

3. What is missing from both options though, that the Surface Go provides, is a way to edit a document directly through the touch screen capabilities. This means that you can mark an essay or piece of work like you would normally, the only difference is that you do this onto a word document rather than paper. Now I know that you can highlight and add typed comments to a word document and share your screen via Zoom but this could be tedious and time consuming. The Surface Go allows you to provide written feedback as if a student were sat in front you and the verbal explanation can be recorded or streamed alongside it. This mirrors the feedback interactions given in lessons. This works by combining the Surface Go (writing equipment), filming software (OBS Studio) and YouTube (sharing platform).

So how do you use a Surface Go to give live feedback?

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