I am not much of a technology fan, especially in the classroom. As part of my CTeach study, I explored the use of technology in the classroom and its effects can be quite damaging on pupil attainment. For this reason, I don’t allow laptops in my day-to-day lessons.
If we are to use technology then it has to contribute some pedagogical value. The pedagogical approach comes first rather than simply choosing to use technology for technology’s sake.
I am, therefore, very mindful about what I use and consider it deeply in terms of what benefit it might bring. In this short blog, I am going to talk about one platform I do use successfully: Padlet.
I use padlet to track my pupils’ reading. I use the wall feature for this one. All of my KS3 classes have access to the same padlet (a link shared through google classroom) and are encouraged to upload what they have read. They are asked to provide a photo of the book and a short review. I reward 1 epraise point for each review. It is simple, quick and easy but a. allows me to track what my pupils are reading and b. allows all of my pupils to see what their peers are reading and offer recommendations.
I also use padlet for linked reading. I use the shelf feature for this. Each term we have linked reading – this can be by concept or by genre or by time period. This term y8 are looking at 19th century fiction so I have taken a number of extracts from texts. I have created this shelf – one for each excerpt. There is a copy of the text and an audio recording of me reading the extract. This particularly helps EAL learners – especially given the complexity of 19th century fiction. Pupils are then encouraged to write a short reflection on the linked extract and add it to the shelf. Again, they are rewarded e-praise points for this.
To foster research skills and greater independence at KS4, I use padlet for wider reading around each of our topics…something I am going to be populating throughout the year. For each topic we study, when I come across an interesting audio or video clip, a critical essay or some useful study notes, I am going to add these to the shelves I have created here. This is always optional but if my pupils want those top grades, then I stress the importance of wider reading to further their own knowledge. Pupils are also welcome to add anything interesting they find too.
Lastly, in y13 we will be looking at a BOW of work on Banksy. Padlet is a great way of students sharing their ideas and thoughts. Each pupil will be given a different work to look at and feedback on. Collating these ideas on Padlet means everyone has easy access to each other’s notes. This strategy could, of course be used across any year group as a way of collating ideas and thoughts.
Padlet is just one tool that if utilised with thought can really support reading, independent study and group discussion / collaboration – it is a form of technology that is used with purpose. I do now pay for Padlet – something like 7 euros a month but in my mind it is worth it as a tool within the classroom.