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Susan Kistler on Padlet: A Free Virtual Bulletin Board and Brainstorming Tool

Hello aea365ers! I’m Susan Kistler, Executive Director Emeritus of the American Evaluation Association, professional trainer and editor, and all around gregarious gal. Email me at susan@thesmarterone.com if you wish to get in touch.

Rad Resource – Padlet: The last time I wrote about Padlet for aea365, exactly two years ago on September 12 of 2012, it was still called Wallwisher. One name change, two years, and a number of upgrades since then, this web-based virtual bulletin board application is worth a fresh look.

Padlet is extremely easy to set up – it takes under 10 seconds and can be done with or without an account; however, I highly recommend that you sign up for a free account to manage multiple bulletin boards and manipulate contributions.

Padlet is even easier to use, just click on a bulletin board and add a note. You can add to your own boards, or to other boards for which you have a link. I’ve set up two boards to try.

Hot Tip – Brainstorming: Use Padlet to brainstorm ideas and get input from multiple sources, all anonymously. Anonymously is the keyword here – the extreme ease of use (no sign in!) is balanced by the fact that contributions only have names attached if the contributors wish to add their names.

Hot Tip – Backchannel: Increasingly, facilitators are leveraging backchannels during courses and workshops as avenues for attendees to discuss and raise questions. Because Padlet is a platform/device independent application (PIA) accessed through the browser, and does not require a login to contribute, it can make an excellent backchannel tool.

The uses are almost endless – any time you might try sticky notes, Padlet may be a virtual alternative.


This board illustrates the linen background (there are 15+ backgrounds from which to choose) with contributions added wherever the contributor placed them (the owner may then move them). Just click to give it a try. Please.

This board illustrates the wood background with contributions organized as tiles (a new option).

The size is small when embedded on aea365, go here to see the same board in full page view.

Hot Tip – Multimedia: Padlet can accommodate pictures, links, text, files, and video (when hosted elsewhere).

Hot Tip – Export: A major improvement to Padlet’s functionality has been the addition of the capacity to export the contributions to Excel for analysis, sharing, etc.

Rad Resource – Training: I’ll be offering an estudy online workshop in October on collaborative and participatory instrument development. We’ll leverage Padlet as an avenue for stakeholder input if you’d like to see it in action. Learn more here.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

3 thoughts on “Susan Kistler on Padlet: A Free Virtual Bulletin Board and Brainstorming Tool”

  1. Wow! This tool looks fantastic and can serve many uses! I could imagine this being good for school work, schedules, and even writing assignments! Its also pretty amazing that you can customize the background and it supports many file types. I will need to look into using this!

  2. Hello Susan Kistler,

    My name is Wafa Abidi and I am a graduate student of Professional of Master of Education in Queens University. Recently, I read your article “Padlet: A Free Virtual Bulletin Board and Brainstorming Tool” on http://aea365.org . First of all, I want to thank you for informing me about this useful tool through your article.

    In your article, I really like the way how you have clearly mentioned the main usages of Padlet. Using this tool as brainstorming purpose, we may get ideas and input from multiple sources, all anonymously. The best thing about Padlet is the option of sign in is not mandatory, which makes this tool easy to use and let people contribute into it anonymously. If they wish to add their names with their contributions, they may do so! Facilitators may use this tool as a backchannel to discuss the courses and workshops to their attendees. We may also post links, texts, files, pictures and videos on Padlet. In addition, there is an option on this tool where we may export our excel files for analysis and sharing.
    After having being introduced about this immensely multitasking tool through your email, I was curious to know much more about it. Being highly inquisitive, I started searching websites which would help me to learn more about this tool and operate it in a better way.

    Being a school teacher, I found Padlet highly productive. Right now I am using Padlet for some of the important purposes. It helps to keep my students involved and engaged in their studies. Padlet offers a great platform for thought sharing. I use is as a brainstorming tool. Usually I create a Padlet wall for the whole class where they can collect and share ideas about a given topic. I also use it as a backchannel tool where my students can post comments and feedback on what they are learning. With Padlet, they also have the option to highlight their favourite quotes, ask questions, discuss story and characters etc. After having all the thoughts, quotes and questions posted on the board, I would present the page to the class and together, they may discuss all the important topics. I often use Padlet to summarize long texts and then add photos and graphics into it to make it visually interesting. My students can access our “questions” board 24/7 and sometimes anonymously post questions. I try to answer their questions each day. Often I post a particular topic or issue, and ask my students to post their opinions on the subject. Sometimes, my students use it as portfolio where they display their best work. I encourage my students to use Padlet for sharing their reflections on what they have learned and what they need help with. Recently I have started engaging parents in the learning that is taking place in class by inviting them to visit our classroom Padlet wall. Last but not the least; I use the classroom Padlet wall to post assignments and homework reminders to students. It is very important to keep our students reminded about important deadlines;)

    Thank you so much again for introducing Padlet to me!



  3. Dear Ms Kistler,

    I am writing to thank you for your blog post. As someone who is just beginning my journey in evaluation, your article provided me with both new information to consider and an increased awareness about using technology appropriately in an evaluation setting.

    I came across your post around the same time as I was wondering how I was going to have a number of participants in a program, who are all non-native English speakers, comment on a program in a neutral and non-threatening way. As luck would have it, I have some iPads at my disposal so it should work out well.

    Another great benefit I can see for using Padlet is that I can use it with multiple groups that I meet with at different times, but they are nonetheless able to see others’ comments and think about them to help them get started.
    Finally, as you mention, the comments and data will be anonymous, which will be a great help in ensuring that the participants can comment in an authentic manner.

    Thanks again for your article. I’m definitely going to check out other articles you have posted on this site!


    Neil Westcott

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