I used Padlet for collaborative writing – IELTS task 2. Students had already brainstormed an answer to the question in groups of three (three groups in total) and they were required to write a different paragraph(s) on their own before class to form one essay. During the class they were supposed to work in breakout rooms to share their paragraphs and write a final draft collaboratively with a focus on cohesion and organisation of ideas. Then when finished they could look at other groups’ writing, peer correct and add an overall score by referring to the marking criteria.
1. The use of Padlet was a powerful tool for writing collaboratively while working on Zoom. Writing in breakout rooms meant that the students were not distracted by other groups talking. However, some had done the pre-task activity while others had not done any preparation. But this was fine as they could still share ideas to write a final draft. One student in each group was able to add their group’s essay to the Padlet.
2. I felt confident setting up the task as I had done this activity with Google Docs in the past. There were no firm rules. The aim was for students to reflect on the writing of others and try to improve it. The drawback is the limited amount of Padlets available for free so I have to reuse them . Therefore, I encouraged students to take a photo/screenshot of the Padlet for future reference.
3. I feel that Padlet is a really effective tool for visual learners when compared with GoogleDocs as you can change the background of the Padlet quite easily. It may be beneficial for some dyslexic students as it is easy to change the colour when writing to avoid black print on a white background which can be challenging for some students. Also, when students see writing from a distance on a screen, it can be easier for them to spot errors. Students seemed to engage well with this activity overall even though it took some time to get started. Students were not required to write their names on the Padlet so that they didn’t need to feel embarrassed. Many students make similar mistakes so it doesn’t really matter who has written the text. I got each group of students to use a different coloured background for their writing when I went round the breakout rooms and then they became the blue/pink group, etc. There was quite a discussion about why certain scores had been awarded to the essays. Students could also use the chat box to share their ideas/respond to the ideas of others.