A favourite gets even better- Padlet

One of our favourite online tools is Wallwisher, which we’ve written about before.  It’s a simple site that requires no login, and allows anyone to add sticky notes to a virtual wall. It’s perfect for brainstorming and collaborative work, or just as a simple presentation tool for collating links, text and pictures. But good news has come through recently that Wallwisher has become so much more. The site has a range of new features that make it even more useful without sacrificing ease of use. With these changes comes a new name- now the site is known as Padlet.

Padlet lets users add text, links or images as virtual sticky notes

The new features mean that walls can be created with a number of new layouts and backgrounds. There are a range of options for group collaboration and visibility of walls. You can create walls that are completely open or you can choose to moderate comments before they are posted. Walls can also be password protected for an extra layer of security. One great aspect of Padlet is that you don’t need to have an account to create or contribute to a wall, though if you want to create a number of walls then having an account is a good way to keep them organised. To find all of the customisation and sharing options, create a new wall and then select the cog icon that appears on the right hand menu.

A range of customisation and sharing options are available (look for the cog icon)

Other new features include an option to have each new post on a wall appear in a stream (rather than the default layout that has notes spread randomly over a wall). As Richard Byrne points out at his fantastic Free Technology 4 Teachers blog, this feature means that Padlet could be used as an easy way to set up a simple blog for a student or group. Richard is obviously a big fan of Padlet, as he’s also posted about the handy new feature that allows the content of a wall to be exported as a PDF or an Excel file  (on a side note, Richard’s blog is well worth following if you don’t already). Padlet also allows for some rather complex functions, such as the ability to add mathematical formulas using LaTeX codes.

In a time where we are seeing a number of tools closing down, it’s great to see a site like Padlet actually gaining useful features. There is actually a fascinating story behind the development of the site, and it augers well that the developers have plans for improving Padlet even more. They’ve certainly taken great strides with recent updates, as Padlet retains all of the charm and ease of use of Wallwisher, but adds some very handy new features that makes it an invaluable tool.


Interactive Images with ThingLink

Today’s post comes from regular contributor Catherine Hainstock of Vermont Secondary College.

Cliché: A picture is worth a thousand words.

But wouldn’t it be great if your students could embed those thousand words into the image to demonstrate their understanding or to elaborate on sections of an image? Well now they can.
ThingLink is a simple-to-use website designed to make images more interactive. Originally created for fashion marketing in Europe, it works similar to tagging photos on Facebook or Flickr but goes one step further by allowing the user to embed ‘media-rich tags’ into the image that link back to any web content.

Ulla Engestrom, founder and CEO of ThingLink said:
ThingLink is changing how people engage with photos by transforming them from a static image, into a navigational surface for exploring rich, relevant content that enhances the viewer’s knowledge and experience.

Scroll your mouse over the map of ancient Rome (below) from the ThingLink Gallery and you’ll begin to see the learning/teaching potential of this ‘in-image interaction tool’.

Enhanced images can be embedded into blogs or emailed for people to view. Site registration is free with a limit of 50 images. Once signed up to the site tagging the images is a simple upload, copy and paste process.
Imagine the possibilities for students to create character studies, enhance mapping, curate content, elaborate on mind-maps, or explain a  design or creative processes. It could be a whole new way to annotate or a new platform for interactive storytelling.