This eighth featured post in A Series of Classroom Connections comes to us from the math classroom of Devin Cox at Grosse Pointe North High School.
Padlet is an app that generates a digital space for collaboration. Being a web-based app, it doesn’t require download, and it can be used in a variety of different ways from brainstorming to planning.
Earlier this year, I received an iPad + Apple TV grant, and I started using Padlet when I wanted some sort of “report out” from the students. Padlet is basically a blank “wall” where you can post a note, image, web link, video, or document. The students can all easily log-in to post their content to the same wall and then view responses of others on their mobile device.
It was an introduction to quadratic equations and graphing. I gave them two different graphs with their corresponding equation. I then instructed them to think about the similarities and differences between the two graphs, and then pair with another student to discuss together, and then share by reporting their findings on the Padlet wall.
Meanwhile I was able to open Padlet on my iPad and mirror the screen onto the SmartBoard through the use of Apple TV. This allows me to walk around the classroom while the students are working and review their posts or provide feedback to them on their ideas. In the privacy settings, I have the Padlet wall for our class set up such that the teacher must approve the students’ posts before they appear on the wall. This was so I could screen posts for any errant pictures of kitty cats, or something that would not be productive to the activity. Padlet also allows you to make student posts anonymous or require the students to include their names with their posts; for this exercise, the students remained anonymous.When the students have all posted their observations, as a class we organize them on the Padlet wall by actually dragging and dropping their posts to make different categories on the screen. From there, we can have a class discussion on the observations that students made. Through this discussion, we not only discovered what a quadratic graph looked like, but we discovered what made it open up and open down; what made the graph shift in different directions; and we were able to establish new mathematical vocabulary (such as parabola, vertex, y-intercept) through the discussion and consensus building we had later toward the end of the class period.
The students gained an understanding of quadratics by using their observation skills, ability to make connections, collaborate with others, and report their findings to the class anonymously through the use of Padlet. The class was then able to come together to organize our Padlet wall by similar observations, and discuss as a class their observations.
I have also found that using Padlet to collect an exit ticket from students is another great use. Before they leave for the day, I have them (anonymously) post one thing from the lesson they still don’t understand. I then re-open the wall the next day so that we can clear up any misunderstandings or remaining questions. I begin by saying, “after doing your homework last night, are there any of these questions I can now delete?” Then, we further review any remaining questions.
The use of the Apple TV in this process allows me to hand my iPad directly to a student who may have posed the original question, if they are not using their own mobile device, and (after resolving the question with the class) then they are able to delete the post themselves, and feel a sense of accomplish and ownership from now mastering that topic.
So the next question is, how can YOU use this in your own classroom?
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