Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tech Review of the Week: Collaborative Walls

This week instead of a specific app, I'm introducing an idea with several resources you need to implement it. Collaboration is something we want to teach our kids, and this is an awesome way to collaborate online from any location, at any time. I have been using some collaborative walls over the last few weeks and have discovered how engaging they are, and how many different possibilities they hold for the classroom. A collaborative wall is just a space you set up online that your students can add their thoughts to. Think of it as an online board where they can stick up their sticky notes. I'm going to share three websites that I have discovered that are simple and effective. Please note, these are websites, not apps.  They will work from the computer or the iPad.

 Answer Garden is probably the simplest form of collaboration. You simply ask a question, and the students respond with one word. Visit and click "create an answer garden." You will get a URL (web address) for your answer garden. As you receive answers, a word cloud will form. As you know, in a word cloud, the size of the word is determined by how many times it is entered. This would be a really awesome pre-writing activity or background building activity. Here is an example if what this looks like. Add a word and watch how it appears instantly.
AnswerGarden is... at

The next step up, which I think is really great for K-2 is Primary Wall. It works the same way. Visit and set up a free account. Then you can create a wall. Share your URL with your students and they can add a "sticky." I think this would be great activity for writing sentences with a vocabulary word, or answering questions to use like an exit slip. Try it out! Just click on the wall below to tell me what you think.

Another great option for upper grades adds the ability to add pictures, files, and websites. This is one I have been using a good bit in the lab. There are so many different ways you can use this. Visit and "build a wall." You will have some options on how to set it up and how to set your privacy. If you set up an account, you will be able to edit the things that other people add to your wall. In this example, 3rd graders used another program to create graphs, save images, and post them to the wall. This padlet wall is in the "freeform" format, so the posts can be moved around the wall.
In this example, 5th graders had specific questions to research. They saved pictures to go with their information and added it to the wall. This is in the "stream" format, so the posts flow from top to bottom.
This example was used as an exit slip type activity after watching a Brainpop video about St. Patrick's Day.
I encourage you this week to just choose one of these and try it out. They are all so simple to set up, but I would be THRILLED to help you with your first one. Just let me know and I will come see you . :)

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