student discussions

Using Padlet as a Discussion Board

Back in January, I discussed Padlet on a Fluco Toolbox post. I’ve had some teachers work to integrate it since then, and have received feedback from them. I have also observed some of the integration and thought I’d put together a quick post for teachers who would like to use Padlet for discussion boards. Padlet has many other uses, and this is just one way. It can also be used across the curriculum and isn’t restricted to just one area.



This is a discussion created for a Minecraft-based Ideal School Project.


Using Padlet as a discussion board means that the teacher is posting a question that requires in-depth discussion, and requires students to provide text evidence or other evidence of their claims. In theory, teachers would prefer that students provide a quality answer of decent length, and also that students would respond to each other’s answers.

Students can create accounts on Padlet, and this is made easier when they sign up with their Google account. Districts who do not use Google may choose not to have students create accounts. Creating an account lets posts be attributed to a student, and allows comments made to be listed with the student name and not “Anonymous”. Accounts do not have to be created to post or comment, so this is entirely up to the teacher’s discretion.

Using Padlet with students also means incorporating a discussion on how to post to an online discussion forum. This is a great way to bring in digital citizenship. Unless students have had prior teachers who taught this skill, they do not innately know how to respond to an online discussion. “What’s up?” and “Hi homie!” are more likely to be posted than an enlightening answer to that Shakespeare question. Without a discussion on how to post, students will drive their teacher crazy, and perhaps force them to give up using the tool altogether.

Teachers should model how to post in the online forum. If students have created an account, their name will appear as an author. If not, teachers should instruct students to put their first and last name in the Title of their Padlet post. Students should also have a title for their post. In the body of the post, teacher models answering the discussion question, and provides text-based or other evidence to support any claims. Padlet allows the attaching of files or links, and students can use these tools to their advantage to add to their response.


An example of part of a teacher modeled answer.

Students can then practice answering on the topic that has been provided for the current class. The teacher can observe as students post, and make suggestions. If students have accounts, they will be able to edit their work and make changes.

After students have had a chance to create their responses to the provided question, the teacher can then model how to reply in an online forum. Often, this can be difficult for students. The teacher should model how a reply can add more information to the original post, disagree with an explanation, and encourage more back and forth discussion. If students have accounts, then every reply will show a student’s name, instead of just anonymous.


A sample teacher response to a student’s posted answer.

After the teacher has modeled how to respond to another student’s post, students should pick one post to respond to. The teacher can see all responses as they are posted, and can make suggestions for students along the way. If the teacher determines that students are doing well with their responses, then they can continue to respond to others, or reply back and forth. The teacher should encourage students to have a conversation about the post, rather than simply saying “Good job”.

As students become more confident in their work with Padlet, teachers will see the depth of responses increase, as well as the discussions. Teachers can then use the completed discussion boards to assess students or to aide in future classroom discussions. Using Padlet as a discussion board is just one way to use this tool. How do you use it in your classroom?


Student Voices and Discussions


The discussions I have had with some students have been very interesting when it comes to their social media projects on student voices. There are some students who are doing it just to get it done, but then there are others who are very concerned with the project and how they can create a solution that would have an impact on the school. This project is my first time really working with high school students, and I’m enjoying some of the discussions that we have had. Two such students immediately come to mind.

The first student I think of is an athlete. When he was first given the final part of the project, he sat and talked to both his teacher and I about his concerns. In his research, he had noted that though there were some social media feeds for our school athletics, they often weren’t updated. He was also concerned with the negativity from students when some teams had a poor season, despite trying their best. He decided that he wanted to create a solution that would allow athletes to share out scores, information on the teams, and positive stories from student athletes.

The second student I think of is one that I spoke with yesterday. She had an idea for a solution, but wasn’t sure how to work out all of the kinks. Her idea involved Twitter, but she wasn’t sure about moderating or how to go about getting someone to do it. Through our talks I shared GroupTweet with her and how that might work. Conversation then delved into starting a club that would be in charge of gathering positive student stories and voices from all over the school, and then using GroupTweet to post. The site offers a moderation feature, so things wouldn’t be posted until the club advisor approved them. It provides chances for teachable moments, too. Her biggest concerns involved finding someone willing, and if she would have to be in the club. She was concerned about the project, but it wasn’t something that she was into joining, which was fine, and she was reassured of this.

I meet with the class again Friday, and I’m hoping to have more detailed discussions with some of the other students as well. This project is really taking shape, and I’m eager to see how presentations will go next month.