Picture an instructional setting where the teacher has planned the perfect lesson in terms of activating student’s prior knowledge, delivering standards-based content interspersed with whole group and collaborative small group problem-solving, and students on-task while engaged in the learning. However, when the teacher checks for understanding using different questioning stems, there is a sudden silence in the classroom. Why are not students responding especially ELL students?
For those of us who have taught at the secondary level, this aura of silence is not new and may have little to do with the teacher’s preparation or execution of his/her operational curriculum, but , more to do with students feeling a bit uneasy with blurting out an answer or a registering a thought that later could subject them to ridicule from classmates. Enter Padlet.
Padlet is an online bulletin board, easy-to-use, free, and most importantly, presents opportunities for students to respond to any prompt anonymously to others (except their teacher). Padlet also allows the teacher and/or students to post pictures or videos thus expanding opportunities for all students to carry out productive dialogue with others regardless of their level of language proficiency.
Sometimes the best digital devices are those that are the easiest to use and, of course, free. Give it a try!