Due to the current confinement situation, you may already be keeping in contact with your learners by offering them materials and activities online. You might be finding that online teaching and learning can be very effective. You might also have begun to see areas that need to be improved. One of those could be motivation. For our learners, it’s not always easy to motivate yourself to sit in front of a screen, work through materials and tasks and then wait for the teacher’s feedback. Learning online can be lonely. It’s therefore important to add social elements into your proposed learning activities. One possibility is to ask learners to create something together. In this post I’ll introduce you to an online tool that allows you to generate a variety of learning activities that can be carried out in pairs or small groups.
The tool is called PADLET. It is basically a “wall” where people can co-create texts or mind maps, do brainstorming, and display and exchange information. You can find it at www.padlet.com. The free version allows you to create a maximum number of 3 walls simultaneously.
Here are just three examples of how your students could create a common padlet-wall. Activities like these can raise interest and create a feeling of togetherness that can be very motivating for learners.
Associations (Level depends on topic; learners work in groups of three or four)
Create a new padlet choosing the modality “shelf”.
Prepare a number of categories. Make sure the number of categories is equal to the number of groups.
Name the categories. Choose terms that have a relation with the topic you are currently working on with your class. Let’s say that your current lesson is about houses and living. In that context your categories could be “rooms”, “furniture”, “domestic appliances”, “decorative items”, etc. For higher levels you could choose more abstract concepts, such as “democracy”, “liberty”, “freedom of choice”.
Assign a category to each group (or let the groups choose, in a forum or chat you might already be using).
Ask learners to post new entries under their category. The entries have to be related to the category and can be nouns, verbs or adjectives. To make the wall more attractive, tell the students they can add a picture to their entry by clicking on the globe icon.
When they get to 10 entries, groups “visit” the columns of a different group to post new entries at the bottom of those columns. This time the posts have to be phrases in which the students use the biggest number of words they find above in the chosen column. Set a time limit for the creation of sentences.
The final stage of the wall will be a collection of associations to a current general topic with examples of sentences constructed with the gathered vocabulary. And all created by the learners.
Flea market (A2 – B1; learners work individually but still together)
Create a new padlet choosing the modality “wall”.
Tell learners that the wall is going to be an online flea market, a kind of a simplified “Wallapop”.
Ask learners to post five objects they would like to sell. Each item or box has to contain a title (the name of the object), a description, a price, and a photograph of the object. For the description you can ask for the use of specific grammar points, such as the use of adjectives and adverbs, relative clauses, etc.
Each learner has to show interest for at least three objects. They do that by writing a comment (enable the comment-function when creating the padlet). In the comment, the learner should explain what they think about the offered object and make a new offer in terms of money.
Set a time limit for the whole activity.
The activity generates curiosity regarding the objects that are going to be on offer. It also starts a simple asynchronous communication around the objects and can therefore be good for motivation.
Short poem (A2 and above; learners work individually, but the outcome is a common poetry wall)
Create a new padlet choosing the modality “stream” for bigger boxes in an easy-to-read, top-to-bottom scroll format
Ask students to write one or more poems following a specific structure:
a) First line: Contains one single word that represents an idea, object, colour, smell, etc.
b) Second line: Contains two or three words that explain what the concept in line one does.
Example: Keeps us safe
c) Third line: Contains three or four words that describe the concept given in line one.
Example: Though hard to handle
d) Fourth line: Made out of four words that describe the authors opinion about the concept in line one.
Example: We have to succeed
e) Fifth line: Contains one word that represents some kind of conclusion.
The activity generates an interesting collection of short texts with a very personal perspective. Again, curiosity about what others might have written can fuel motivation to read and to post more creations.
For more ideas about how to work with padlet you can check this site provided by bookwidgets: