Communicate, Collect & Collaborate with Sticky Notes

Learning in Hand #26 is about Padlet and Lino. Padlet and Lino are the two best online sticky note services around. They are web-based and work great on iPads, PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets. Walls can be set up so that students can use them without logins or passwords, making them easy to infuse into lessons. And the sticky notes aren't limited to text–they can have images, videos, and hyperlinks. Discover how teachers are using these virtual message boards everyday to collect student products, power communication, and fuel productive collaboration.

View the 14:30 video on YouTube, on Vimeo, in iTunes as a podcast, through RSS, or download to explore the educational possibilities of Padlet and Lino.

 

Transcript

This is the Learning in Hand podcast. I'm Tony Vincent and this is the show where I share tips, how-tos, and ideas for using today's digital tools for teaching and learning. Episode 26: Communicate, Collect & Collaborate with Sticky Notes, recorded May 2013, happens now!

I like digital tools that work on many different kinds of devices. I also like tools that don't require students to sign in. So I'm excited to show you Padlet and Lino because they are websites that work on computers and touchscreen devices and don't require students to have an email address or to remember a username and password.

So, have you ever given each student a Post-It note to stick to a wall to gather ideas? That's what these two sites do and they do it digitally, with less mess and more interactivity!

For example, Steve Kirkpatrick's elementary students in Salford, U.K. posted to their Dinosaur Question Wall. You can see sticky notes with questions like, "How many different types of dinosaurs are there?" and "Were there any swimming dinosaurs?" These questions served as investigation topics.

Kathleen McGready's second grade students contributed to a wall to share what they learned after their dinosaur unit. 

And, Mr. Sha has his English students use the Word of the Day  in a sentence. He's even able to use a sticky note to give feedback.

Padlet calls the virtual bulletin board a wall. Lino calls it a canvas. So I'll use the word word and canvas interchangeable for the rest of this video. Padlet and Lino do have more similarities than differences.

I'll talk about setting up your own wall or canvas shortly, but here's how a student contributes to one. He or she simply visits a wall by going to a specific web address in their web browser. Then to add a note on Padlet, a student double-clicks the background to add an item. On a Lino canvas, a student drags a note from the upper-right corner to begin a post. For either Padlet or Lino, the student can be on a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android… really any device with a modern browser and internet connection. I've found that Padlet and Lino work best on Macs and PCs, great on iPads, and so-so on other devices.

Digital sticky notes don't have to be limited to text. Check this out: I created a wall with a selection of videos I've made. The wall was quick to put together. To view a video, all you have to do is click to enlarge the sticky and then click play for the video–all without leaving the wall itself. I can always go back to this wall and rearrange or add or remove videos.

And, in addition to being text or a video, a note can have a hyperlink. For instance, if students make a product that is uploaded to a website that provides a link, they can paste that link into a note so that links to all student products are collected into one spot. [Scrolling - Like from Haiku Deck, Flowboard, Thinglink, GoAnimate, etc]. 

For example, perhaps students record ideas using Croak.it on the web or using the mobile app [iOS or Android]. Croak.it saves your audio recording online and provides a URL. Students simply copy that web address and paste it into a new sticky note. So then the wall is full links to audio recordings all collected in one place. Everyone with access can click the links and hear the recordings.

You can also attach other files, like  images, PDFs, and Word documents, as a way for students to turn in their work or to share it. Or as a way for the teacher to distribute files. Sadly, iOS users are limited to uploading only photos and videos at this time.

But, using an online canvas can be a great way for the teacher to collect, say, collages students have made on their iPads. Students save their work to the Photo Library where it will be available for uploading from Safari. It's a quick way to collect and share all sorts of images created on iPads.

In addition to choosing an existing photo or video, iOS users can take a photo or video as they add the sticky. This could make for a fun way for students to go on photo scavenger hunts and collect all the photos into one spot. And these images can be collected without students having to use email or having to log into a site.

There are lots of ways teachers and students are using online sticky notes to communicate, collect, and collaborate. 

Here are some of them…. Make a KWL chart, post assignments, showcase student work, brainstorm ideas, display artwork, submit questions, sort word or concepts, keep a work wall, contribute observations, and use for prewriting.

Now, let's talk about making your own walls in Padlet and Lino. You'll first create an account. Whenever you login, you'll be able to access all of the walls you've ever created under that account. Over the years, I've created dozens and dozens of walls and canvases.

In Padlet, click the Plus to make a new wall. And actually, you could stop there. Your wall is created and ready to go. By default it's open for anyone that visits the link to be able to contribute. But, I have the feeling you're going to want to do some customizations to your wall. To make changes, click the Modify Wall button. If you want, you can add a title and description. You can select a different wallpaper to make this wall look different from other walls. 

You can change the layout. Under Privacy you can modify who can see your wall and if others can write on your wall. This is also where you can turn on Moderate Posts so that you have to click to approve each sticky before it appears on the wall for others to see.

Perhaps you want to be emailed once a day with what's been posted to your wall. I like to change the Address of my walls to make them easier to type. By default you're given a random URL. In the Address settings you can pick a padlet.com address. It can be anything you want as long as it is between 6 and 20 characters and no one else has already claimed that URL. I suggest making it something short and easy to type and say. Avoid ones, the letter L, zeros, and the letter O to avoid confusion if students will be typing in the URL.

In Lino, you'll click Create a New Canvas. Before you can get started using your canvas, you give it a name and choose its settings. You can choose from the backgrounds Lino provides. Or, you can upload your own image to use as the background. Then you get to decide how public you canvas will be. It can be just for your use, or you can let others see your canvas but not add to it. Or, you can make it so everyone can see it and contribute to it.

If everyone may post stickies, then I suggest unchecking most of the Details. Be sure to leave Allow Guests to Post Stickies checkmarked. That way students will not need a Lino account in order to post. Unlike Padlet, Lino does not let you pick the web address of your canvas. And the web address Lino provides is long and complicated. I suggest using a URL shortener like TinyURL.com or Bitly.com to make the URL easier to say and type.

Yes, Padlet and Lino have a lot of options to choose from. The good news is that you can always come back and make more modifications to your Padlet walls or Lino canvases.

So you've got a wall or canvas created. How do you get students there? Well, if you have a website or class start page, you can simply add it as a hyperlink. A great option for mobile devices is to make the address into a QR code. That way students can scan the code and automatically be taken to your wall. Padlet is kind enough to provides a QR code for each wall. You can see it by clicking the Share button.

If all your student are iOS users, you can use the free Chirp app. Students open the app on their devices and then the teacher uses the app on her device to send the web address as a sound. Students then tap their screen to be instantly transported to the wall or canvas without any worries about typing or typos! I'll Chirp right now a link to my canvas of videos so you can try it out. You'll need to pause and install and open the Chirp app on a device other than the one playing this video. I'll click play so that your device hears the sound. [Chirp]

I chose to share Padlet and Lino with you because they don't require collaborators to log in to add a post and they work great on iPads and other devices. But what are the big differences between Padlet and Lino?

Most notably,  Padlet has a Stream layout where posts are placed one below the other. I usually use this layout because it's easier to read than a big pile of overlapping notes. You cannot sort the posts like in a Freeform layout, though.

Lino doesn't have a Stream layout, but its posts are easier to drag and sort. You can even tilt your notes if you'd like. Lino lets you change the color of the notes and the text color. Color coding notes can be a handy feature. If working in groups, each group can have its own color when contributing to a class canvas. Or when brainstorming what technology could be used for a project, the notes could be color coded according to what device is required.

Both Padlet and Lino only allow contributors to edit and move their own notes. The teacher who is logged in can of course edit, move, and delete any and all posts.

Unfortunately, Lino annoys you each time you load a canvas on your iPad to download the app. You don't want the app because it requires a username and password. So each time you go to or refresh a Lino canvas from iOS or Android, you have to click the Close link.

Padlet allows for the upload of videos. To post a video on Lino, you have to upload it on YouTube, Vimeo, or Ustream first.

Stickies appear for everyone on Padlet moments after a user double-clicks the background. You can even see the note as its being created. This can be extremely distracting. Lino stickies do not appear until the note is completed.

Padlet has the option for moderated posts. With moderation turned on, each posts requires the teacher's approval before appearing on the students' screens. Moderating is as simple as clicking Remove or Approve. Lino does not have this feature.

Lino is the best choice if you plan to use your own background. Backgrounds can be a chart, graphic organizer, something for students to label… Anything. You can use an image from the web or make your own in, say, a PowerPoint slide, and export that slide as an image for uploading to Lino. For instance, I've had students collaboratively complete a Looks Like/Sounds Like chart for what our classroom should be like during project work time. Here are more examples: students could add details they know about characterscompare animals, or label their classroom in Spanish.

While Padlet also lets you upload your own wallpaper, I've had a hard time getting posts on Padlet to stay on a certain part of the background.

If you want to print, Padlet is your choice. Lino doesn't support printing. Padlet has a Print button under the Share menu. You can also save posts from Padlet in a variety of ways, like in a PDF or Excel file.

Here's a chart comparing Padlet and Lino. You can view this chart at learninginhand.com/26.

Of course, you can find lots more features in Padlet and Lino, like embedding and emailing. These online tools are sometimes updated, so you can be sure that there will be future changes, hopefully for the better.

Whether you are using Padlet or Lino, I do suggest that if it'   s a wall you plan to keep, change the privacy of the wall so that no one else can add to it after all of the student contributions have been posted. This way it's not open for possible vandalism in the future.

With online canvases, keep in mind that not everyone needs to be in the same place at the same time to contribute. You can use these tools across classes, grade levels, buildings, or countries!

In your own classroom, online stickies can allow for more students to speak up and contribute. Digital walls can allow for anonymous responses.

I think a digital wall is a tool that can be used everyday by teachers to collect student ideas and work, power communication, and enable collaboration. It's a good thing that neither Padlet nor Lino limit the number of walls you can create and maintain!

That's it for Episode 26. For more about mobile learning, visit learninginahand.com and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Pinterest. And if you're looking for a mobile learning conference, consider coming to Mobile Learning Experience 2013 in Tucson, Arizona in September. Go to mobile2013.org for more information.

Thanks for watching!