An introductory guide to Padlet: Your free online multimedia bulletin board

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I am trying something new for my technology instructions. I mentioned in my previous post that I am going to try to make this site more accessible for those who don’t have a lot of experience with using technology in the classroom. I have added links to documents that have instructions that can be printed off for and given to those who may not visit this site. They can be found a the bottom of the post. Feel free to share those without having to give any credit. I just hope that they are helpful to those who may need a bit more help to getting started in using technology in the classroom. If you have any ideas or comments on how I can make this better for those who need it, please let me know. Thank you.

What is it?

  • Think of this as an online multimedia bulletin board. That means you can post messages, pictures, website links, documents, audio files, and videos on the virtual wall. These appear as message boxes that can be moved around the page. When you click on one of those items, they get larger so they are easier to read or see. The best part is, you can share it and have others add to it by posting their own items. This makes it a great place to collaborate and share.

Where do I begin?

  • There are two options here: register to keep track of all of your Padlet walls, or simply start creating a site without registering. If you keep using the same computer and don’t reset your browser, you should be able to keep editing your pages without registering. If you want to be safe, register first since it is free. Remember, you are the only one who needs to register, the students don’t need to register to use a wall you have created.
  • You can create a page by going to the Padlet home page and click on ‘Build a wall’. That’s it! You now have a blank wall ready to be used. Of course, there are plenty of options that you can use to make it better, but for simplicity sake, this is as easy as it gets.

What settings do I need to know to make it better?

  • Once your new Padlet wall appears, you will also see a yellow button that says “MODIFY WALL’. Click on that button and a new menu appears. I will go through all of the yellow menu items one by one so you can make changes that suit your needs.
    • Profile: This is where you can personalize the wall with a title and description along with a small picture. This information will appear on your wall in the top-left corner once you start typing in the boxes or click on an image. You can also add your own photo by click on the purple ‘Add’ button. This is a good place to give instructions on what you would like to use the page for.
    • Wallpaper: You can add a background image to your wall by choosing one of the options or adding your own. Wallpaper can be used to organize information such as adding an image that has columns or boxes.
    • Layout: There are two options on how you would like to see your information displayed: Freeform or Stream.
      • Freeform is the ‘pin it anywhere’ option that can look very cluttered if you get a lot of information, but it always for more free movement of ideas.
      • Stream is much like a blog in that the information that is added is put at the top until something else is added. It is very neat and tidy, but doesn’t allow for things like mindmap type of layouts.
    • Privacy: This has a number of options and is important when working with sensitive data such as a person’s personal information. Here are those options:
      • Private: This option allows you to limit the people who have access to your wall to those you invite via email. In order to use this function, you need to sign up for the free registration.
      • Password Protected: If you want to limit who can visit your wall without having to register, you can also always set a password. People who try to access this wall will then have to enter a password first.
      • Hidden link: This is the default option of a new wall. What this means is that no one can find your wall through a web search such as Google. They need to have the website address to visit. It isn’t a perfect way of keeping strangers out, but it works well for those who don’t want to use a password.
      • Totally Public: This is an open wall that can be found through search engines and anyone can visit.
      • Moderate Posts: This is the same as a public wall, but you are the gatekeeper. No posts will appear on the wall until you read them over first and give the thumbs up.
    • Notifications: If you register for the free account, you can ask Padlet to send you an email every time someone posts something on the wall.
    • Address
      • Pick a Padlet address: You can change the web address for your Padlet wall to something easier to remember. By default, Padlet chooses something random, but you can type in a word or combination of letters and numbers to customize your Padlet address. If the address is taken, it will tell you. If it is good, you can click on the ‘Pick’ button and it will change the web address to what you have chosen.
      • Pick a domain you already own: For this option, you need to own a domain (web) address. This is for those who know what that means.
    • You:  If you didn’t log in or sign up when you created the wall, you can do that here. This will allow you to make changes to the settings on the wall after 24 hours. People will still be able to add things to the wall, you just won’t be able to change backgrounds, passwords, etc. after 24 hours.
    • Delete: The name says it all. You can delete a wall using this option. Remember, you won’t be able to bring it back after you delete it.
  • There are also some other options along the black menu:
    • Home page: This takes you to the main Padlet home page.
    • Create a new wall: Click on this to create another wall.
    • Log in or sign up: Another place to log in or sign up for Padlet.
    • Share/Export
      • Share: You can share your Padlet wall on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Linkedin account.
      • Export: If you would like to save and print your wall, you can download it as a PDF. If you would like to save the data in a chart or for a data base, you can download as a Excel file or CSV.
      • Subscribe: This is an RSS feed. If you know what that means, this can be really useful for telling you when others have added something to the wall.
      • Email: This automatically starts an email for you within your email program so you can share the wall with someone.
      • Print: This will create a nice printable page in your web browser so you can print right now instead of downloading the PDF file.
      • Embed: There are two options here for putting a wall into another website. This is great if you have a class website and you want to make the Padlet wall a part of one of your webpages. The first option is for most websites and the second is if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog with the Wallwisher plug-in installed (level of difficulty: moderate).
      • Mobilize: This weird looking bar code is called a QR code that is often used on signs or other print material to make it easier for people with cell phones and tablets to go to your Padlet wall. Those people who have a QR code scanner installed on their mobile device, can just scan this code and they will be taken to your wall. You can download this image and paste it into a document to give to your students or you can project this code on your screen and the students can scan it from there.
    • Get more info: Simple statistics on your page.
    • Get help: Most of the information you need to create and use a Padlet wall.
    • Modify this wall: Takes you back to the yellow menu items.

How would I use it in the classroom?

  • There are so many ways you can use it. Here are some ideas of how I have used it in my classroom:
    • Brainstorming: I give each group their own Padlet wall so they can gather ideas together. It could be for a presentation or some other group project. This gives students the freedom to work on things together in class and then continue that work on their own at the library, at home, or even on the go with their phones or tablets.
    • Presentations: Instead of using PowerPoint or some other presentation software, students can use the display mode of Padlet to create a presentation using the items they posted on the wall. Click on the first item to start and use the arrow left or right to move to the next or previous item. To change the order that the items appear, you just need to put them in order on the wall first. In the ‘Freeform’ layout, Padlet will display the items in order from left to right. Move the items around to change the order in which they will be displayed in the presentation mode. In the ‘Stream’ layout, Padlet will read the order of the items from bottom to top. You can click and drag the items in the order you would like them to appear.
    • Blogging: You can have students share their writing or presentations on the Padlet wall and then use the ‘Stream’ layout in Padlet to view it in a blog format with the newest item posted at the top. Students can create their own blogs or you can have one page for the whole class to use together. You can also change the order by clicking and dragging them up and down.
    • Bookmarking: Have students share websites, documents, videos, or audio files based on a topic and then use the page as an online self-access learning centre. Students can share and find items on things such as reading or listening, making this an online library.
    • Calendar: Using the calendar wallpaper, you can post things for students to do on certain days. You could use it to post a video you would like students to watch before coming to class or a reading that is related to what you are going to be to talking about.
    • Introductions: This is something I saw being used in a presentation I just attended last week. People could post a note and then upload a photo of the themselves or use the webcam function to take a photo.
    • Reference pages: You can have a page related to something the students need to learn (vocabulary around a theme, grammar point, etc.) and then have students find real life examples to post on the page. This gives it context.
    • Visual dictionary: Put a theme up and then have students create or find pictures and videos of things related to that theme and post them along with the word making it a visual dictionary.
    • And more!

Printable instructions:

30 thoughts on “An introductory guide to Padlet: Your free online multimedia bulletin board

  1. Pingback: An introductory guide to Padlet: Nathan Hall | ...
  2. Excellent guide Nathan, I have just been introduced to Padlet and am going to use it in a lesson tomorrow – I expect chaos as I’m going to give a group freedom to post to one shared wall but we’ll see how that goes. I like some of your other ideas for using in the classroom though.

    • Sometimes, chaos is better than what we have planned. :-)

      Just a quick note about using it for the first time. I usually introduce a new tool to my students by using a very simple task just so they can get used to it. Then, the next time I want to use it for a larger activity, they are already comfortable with it.

  3. Nathan, a friend just sent me a link to your list of non-registration required sites — it’s awesome. And since you’ve asked for advice, particularly for reaching non-tech comfortable teachers, here’s mine: LESS IS MORE. For me, as a Tech Integration Specialist, your Padlet Post looks very appealing; I think, “surely there’s something here I don’t know.” But I would not use it to introduce the material to my English Dept. colleagues — it’s overwhelming. Here’s what they usually get from me: To use this teaching technique (note that I start not with the TOOL, but with the pedagogy), here are the four steps you would need to take.” OK, four is an ideal — it’s often more. But my tech-fearful colleagues need VERY, VERY simple steps. So, maybe you want to post a “super short, simple approach” AND the more thorough one for each blog.

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  10. When you do brainstorming and set up separate walls for the small groups in your class, how do the groups get editing control? In other words, how do you make it possible for the students to move posts, images, notes, whatever around? My problem is that students have to search for a bare spot on which to post their comment and if the kids are working together to brainstorm, it seems they need the ability to rearrange their padlet as the project advances. Your advice?

    • Thanks for the questions, Ellen. It isn’t that hard actually. If I read your questions correctly, all that has to be done is to have the person who created the padlet change the privacy settings to ‘Can Moderate’. After that, anyone with access to that pad can edit or move items created by someone else.

      Also, keep in mind you can go off the screen if you need more space. As you drag down or to the right, more space becomes visible. it isn’t ideal since you can’t see all of the items, but that is an option.

      I hope that helps!

      • It does, Nathan, thanks. I am screamingly technophobic and an utter newbie at this, but I think Padlet (and similar places) can genuinely help me achieve the goals I set in class. I have already discovered that using one padlet for a whole class for all the work is just a mess. But for seven small groups? Individual padlets are probably the answer now that I understand how to make it possible for teams to control their own boards.

      • Padlet is a great tool to learn since it can be used for many different things. That way, you don’t have to try to overwhelm yourself with learning too much at once.

        Feel free to ask any questions you want. I am happy to help. :-)

  11. Hi Nathan,

    I am hoping you can help me!!! I am a newbie to Padlet and was just wondering, is it possible to manage all your padlets on just one screen i.e I want to set up a few Padlet walls and I don’t want the children having to type in a different url each time to access a different page.

    Would really appreciate any help so I could have this up and running for September!


    Lisa :)

    • Lisa,
      Thanks for the question. Padlet doesn’t have that as an option, but it is easily created on your own. Create a new Padlet as your ‘home base’. Whenever your create a new Padlet that you want to share with the class, simply copy the share URL from that pad and out it on the ‘home base’ padlet. That way students only have to go to the ‘home base’ padlet to find all of the links to the other pads. I’ve done this with groups as well.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Here is a demo I threw together quickly:

      • Nathan,

        You are an absolute star!!!!!! Thank you so much for your help!
        I really appreciate it!! So glad I came across your page!!!!


      • Sorry to bother you again Nathan, but this isn’t working for me! I am trying to write a post on my home page padlet by sharing the link of another padlet to it, but it will not let me add the link!!!! It doesn’t seem to recognise it! Links for other website pages like youtube etc. will work but not my padlet link for some reason!

      • This is something I wanted to know too. I’m not quite getting it, though. First create a new Padlet (the home base), yes? Now that’s just a Pad and not an account, right?

        Now create subpadlets? Where exactly? Are you starting by creating each of the subpadlets as a separate padlet from the home base? Once you have them, you then put them in the home base??? Could you confirm or clarify?

        So “copy the share URL” from each “sub pad” so that the home base is a mama base with lots of little padlet babies. But I am not understanding the copy the share URL thing. Yes I am utterly challenged. Again, could you confirm or clarify?

        But this whole thread is hugely useful. Lisa is quite right. You are a star!


  12. Actually – it does work but for some reason it doesn’t put up a picture of the page. Instead it is just blank!
    Better than nothing I suppose!

    Thanks again Nathan!

  13. Lisa: Yes, I found that as well. I’m not sure why since it used to, but again, it is better than nothing. I am glad we have found a solution, even it it could be a bit better :-)

    Ellen: No problem. I realize that this can all be a bit confusing. Try this:

    1. Go to Padlet and create a brand new pad. Copy the link for this page and make this one your class page (or home base as I called it above). Don’t lose this link. If you have a free account, you can always find it later, but it you are doing it with registering, you won’t find it again.
    2. Click on the big plus symbol in the top-right corner of the screen to create a new pad. This padlet is one that you will share with an individual student or a group. Copy the link for that page.
    3. Go back to your class page and double-click anywhere you want. Add a Title and then click on the ‘+’ symbol at the bottom of the new box that appears, paste in your link and click on ‘Submit’. As Lisa mentioned above, it may spin for a while and then leave a simple ‘Attachment’ statement, but the link will be there.
    4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 again and again until you have all of the student/group padlets you need.
    5. Give the single link to the class page to the whole class. They can then click on any of the links on the class page and it will open up a window in padlet showing the padlet it is linked to. They can then click on ‘View Original’ to go to that padlet.

    I hope that helps!

  14. Nathan, this is a continuation of the home base/little pads problem. I though everything was going okay but I started to set up the home base for my modernism class and ran into a weird situation. I have 7 groups (A, B, C, D, E, F and G–I know, not too original). For whatever reason, group B is overriding C and D. Each little pad has an address that is a subsidiary of the big one, i.e. …/modernism and …/modernism_group a and so on.

    Is there a limit to the number of little pads I can have inside the home base? Is five the limit?

    If not, have you any idea what is going on and why those two are defaulting back to B?

    I even tried deleting and rebuilding them. Same thing happens. Getting frantic. Class starts Monday.

    Thanks so much. Ellen

    • Interesting. There is no limit to the links added to a pad, so this shouldn’t be happening. I’m not sure what could be happening. If this continues, I would suggest using something else as your base. For example, you could Etherpad to create a simple online document. On that, you could add a short description (ex. Group B) and then paste the link to that pad on Padlet. Here is how you can make a Etherpad document:
      Let me know how that works for you.

      • As I am prone to spazzing out over the smallest thing–and because I was freaking about class on Monday–I went through all kinds of things I thought would fix it. I rebooted the computer, I deleted things, I created new baby pads, all of it.

        In the end I think something got corrupted in the url for the baby pads. Or at least the b, c and d pads. In the end, having proven to myself that I could put more than five pads in the home base, I made a minor adjustment to the url used for the baby pads and that solved the problem. I dunno. Maybe I did something stupid when I was creating all the pads. Who knows. But I solved the problem which is the only think I care about–although I don’t like the alteration I had to make to the url.

        I also contacted the padlet people. We’ll see what they say. I am very grateful that you explained the process of using walls and little walls like a folder and subfolders and files. It was really helpful. And conceptually, until you explained it, I hadn’t seen it that way.

        So I have no real explanation of what happened. And, much as I love you, the etherpad stuff was scaring the daylights out of me.


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