Ideas, Thoughts, Things, & Awesome Things to Look Into
From the Elementary Computer Lab
There are so many uses of Padlet within the classroom setting, it is hard to begin. I started this "Tickets Out the Door Series" of blog posts when I was trying to figure out a few options to use in my own classroom. I started by looking at the least complicated program, Answer Garden. I moved to Lino, which is a nice "sticky note" style collaboration tool with a lot of powerful features.
This post is about Padlet, a very powerful app that continues with the collaboration aspect of Lino, but also builds in an easy way to have students design and layout windows that are customized to the user. In other words, this can be a student creative tool for their own group work. Here are some great links to tutorials:
**The image below is from the Padlet main landing page.
Lino is an online collaboration platform that lets teachers and students collaborate using virtual sticky notes, pictures, and text on a virtual canvas. As a teacher, you can have multiple classes set up. For me, this means I can have my five 3rd grade classes (one each day) have one canvas to collaborate on a project each day of the week. Same for the rest of the grades.
Lino is much prettier than Answer Garden, but that also makes it more complicated for some audiences. It can get quite colorful and very busy to look at. There are also a lot of teacher controls, and a lot of user controls. I literally open Lino up, teach orientation for 2-3 minutes, and let the kids start using it while I'm talking. As the kids start playing with it, they discover new tools, and they learn from each other how to use the multitude of controls.
You'd have a much harder time using the output of this platform into a word art maker (like Tagul). Lino also has a iPhone and Android app download that is quite nice for adults or BYOD events like conferences.
Other uses that I have used with students include students making their own bulletin board of pictures, notes, and reminders. I have used this program for many years and it keeps getting more intuitive and this allows me to use it with younger and younger students. At one point, they even simplified their name. It used to be LINOIT, and people were confused on how the "OIT" should be pronounced.
**Both pictures are screen shots of the landing page of Lino.
Answer Garden lacks the "pretty" of other post assessment options, but if you have a class like I do...750 kids per week, you can generate some pretty interesting feedback from your students. Basically with this tool, a presenter or teacher can generate a "quick & clean" word-list ready to export into a "pretty" word art generator (think Tagul or similar). Or, as I often prefer, I just export what Answer Garden generates. It is word-art in and of itself.
Classroom Screen, found at https://classroomscreen.com/ has to be the neatest "simple" tool I have found recently. It is a classroom projection board that has some nice classroom tools. It is also nice because the background comes up with a new photo each time you reload the page. See the screen shots below. You can customize the background with your own pictures too.
The toolbar is clean and labeled nicely.
I loaded up all the tools that display, except the noise meter. The noise meter requires an extension and I haven't installed it yet on my teacher computer in the classroom. The clock expands to include the calendar. The timer comes in hourglass countdown, and stopwatch style timer. The lower left of this screen is a random student selector. I typed in Students 1 - 5 - since I've got 750 students and they are all assigned a computer station. There is a QR code generator, should I need the group with iPads to qo to a particular site, and I don't want to spend 45 minutes simply entering and reentering the URL. There is a traffic signal where you can click red/yellow/green. There is a symbol+word set of behavioral expectations you can select. This one is set on "whisper voice." There are two drawing features. One is a window within a window. The other is the whole board goes to a white board.
Finally, there is an Exit Poll. This feature is how I came to love this app in the first place. When lining up, the kids would click on the device, or tell me which one to click and I'd click it. Then it shows the poll of who liked this class and to what degree in a nice little bar graph. You can edit the question as well. If you needed to, you could keep a class level set of exit tickets over time by snapping a screen shot of the feedback graph.
I came across this Random Name Spinner that is both savable and editable. I think it would work wonderfully in a classroom setting. I have 750 students, rotate through my room each week, so I call students by assigned seat number. I left some of the fun names on there and they will be "me" to give the kids a little laugh when the teacher gets called on.
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This is a space where I post my thoughts on things and ideas in the Computer Lab. I am a K-12 certified Engineering and Technology teacher. I'm writing this for myself and my colleagues as part of my own teaching practice day-to-day, and for my own self reflection.
I'm NOT doing this blog for compensation or free products. If I ever change that personal policy, I'll make that apparent.
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