Challenge – It is easy to get stuck in a rut when teaching vocabulary online. It is difficult to recreate matching activities, or any ‘hands on’ activity, which in the physical classroom would make a more dynamic and engaging atmosphere. The solution presented here is to use Padlet in order to move images around the screen and enable learners to have a visual reference for learning new vocabulary. The Padlet can be controlled by the teacher or the learner depending on learners’ technological skills.
Tools Used – Zoom Breakout Rooms, Padlet
In this example, learners were going to pretend to be on television and say their own weather forecast. First, they watched a video and learnt vocabulary relating to weather. After practising some useful phrases for saying a weather forecast, they used a Padlet to move images around the screen and create different weekly weather forecasts which they then said to each other.
Before the Lesson:
1 – Teacher creates a Padlet. Use the ‘Canvas’ Padlet type as this allows users to move content freely around the screen. Upload any images or text you want the learners to move around. My example looked like this (most images taken from http://www.allthingstopics.com weather video or Google images):
Version 1: Learners with high technology skills
1 – After being introduced to the new vocabulary and weather forecast phrases, share the Padlet link with a nominated learner who is using a laptop and make sure they can move the images around. Learners on phones will find it extremely difficult to move the images around as their screens are so small.
2 – Teacher shares screen so learners can see the Padlet. The nominated learner will have to stay on the Padlet link, not watch the teacher screenshare.
3 – Learners take it in turns to say which weather they want on each day. The nominated learner with the Padlet link chooses the correct image and moves it to the correct day – other learners will see this via the teacher’s screenshare. One learner then says the whole weather forecast.
4 – Learners begin again, making different weather forecasts until everyone has had a turn speaking.
Version 2: Learners with low technology skills
1 – After being introduced to the new vocabulary and the weather forecast phrases, open the Padlet and share your screen so learners can see it. The teacher will take control of the Padlet so the learners can concentrate on the vocabulary.
2 – Learners take it in turns to say which weather they want on each day. Teacher moves the correct image to the correct day. One learner then says the whole weather forecast.
3 – Learners begin again, making different weather forecasts until everyone has had a turn speaking.
- The Padlet writing can be very small on some phones. Be prepared to write any important dialogue in the Zoom chatbox so learners can read it easily.
- If the learner is controlling the Padlet, they do not need to share their screen as well. The teacher can share their own screen and everyone can view the learner moving the images via the teacher’s screen share. This removes one level of technology for the learners which can detract from the lesson aims.
Version 3: Multiple learners with very high technology skills
This activity can also be done with multiple groups using breakout rooms.
1 – First, you need a separate Padlet for every group. You can easily make multiples of the same Padlet by using the ‘REMAKE’ option.
2 – First, you need a separate Padlet for every group. You can easily make multiples of the same Padlet by using the ‘REMAKE’ option.
3 – Split learners into groups in breakout rooms and nominate one learner to control the group’s Padlet. This learner will need to share their screen and be using a laptop. Give each nominated learner a link to their group’s Padlet.
4 – Learners complete the exercise as in Versions 1 + 2 above.
5 – The teacher can stay in the main session and monitor every group’s Padlet at the same time, allowing them to know which group may need extra support.