7 Ideas for…Padlet

Screenshot of Padlet

What is Padlet?

Padlet is an online tool that enables individuals to express their thoughts around a common topic or theme easily. Users can put any type of content (e.g. text, images, videos, documents, weblinks) anywhere on the ‘Padlet Wall’.

At CCCU, Padlet was first introduced to colleagues through our ’12 TELs of Christmas’ event [internal CCCU link only] that ran throughout December 2016. In September 2018, CCCU bought a site licence enabling all staff and students to use Padlet.

7 Ideas for learning & teaching

  1. Prior Knowledge: Use a Padlet wall to ascertain what students already know about a particular topic. Students just post their knowledge on Padlet, so you can see how to build your lesson.
  2. Resource Curation: Create a thematic or topic based Padlet wall and ask students to post a resource and provide a brief synopsis about it. Can be used for collaborative notetaking on a presentation that was given.
  3. Journal Annotations: Ask your students to post a journal article they have read and provide some annotative text around it.
  4. Student Reflections: At the end of a topic or module, use a Padlet wall to collect student reflections on what was learnt and what students need more help with.
  5. Storyboarding: Use a Padlet wall to ‘storyboard’ when developing stories, dialogue, games, animations and film.
  6. Prediction: Use a Padlet wall to ask students to predict what happened next around a particular idea, experiment, topic, historical outcome.
  7. Ask A Question: Use a Padlet wall to enable your students to ask questions during the lesson. It’s very handy when students don’t understand something or need a better explanation. Stop your lesson 10 minutes early and go over the questions. This way students who are afraid to ask questions can still ask their questions anonymously. It gives a voice to every student in the room, even to the shy ones.

Getting inspiration

CCCU has created an online space for sharing innovative practice in Learning, Teaching and Assessment. We are calling this space ‘PRISM’. Here, you will find a case study on using Padlet. If CCCU colleagues have an innovative or interesting use for using Padlet to support learning and teaching, we would love to hear from you!

What next?

Details on how to access and use Padlet is available on our Blackboard Help page [internal CCCU link only]. If you would like to discuss how Padlet could be useful to you, please contact your Faculty Learning Technologist and arrange for a chat.

Influences of form of GradeMark feedback on Student Engagement

“Speech Bubbles” by Jordan. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND
Speech Bubbles” by Jordan. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND


Use of Turnitin to provide digital feedback has grown rapidly in CCCU in recent years with 52% of 133,000 submissions to Turnitin receiving feedback during 2015/16 compared with 8% of 96,034 submissions in 2012/13. While we know this has helped to improve turnaround times, and our students value the flexibility of receiving feedback online, there has been little investigation of any deeper impact on our students’ learning – particularly use of feedback for development. Whereas the literature indicates associations between use of similar digital feedback tools with greater motivation and understanding of how to improve compared with to non-digital feedback, why this may be is often not clear. One possible factor is how the nature of digital feedback influences learners’ engagement with their feedback.

Understanding how students engage with Turnitin feedback

With the aim of informing markers’ action research into their use of digital feedback, Simon Starr interviewed CCCU students about their experience of the various ways Turnitin feedback can be presented for his MSc in Digital Education dissertation study. It was found that the choice presentation can make a substantive difference to the students’ use of their feedback. Specifically, it is concluded that on-script ‘Bubble Comments’ and off-script ‘Voice Comments’ may both positively influence how valued learners feel and encourage and support their use of feedback for development while on-script ‘QuickMark Comments’ and off-script ‘General Comments’ and ‘Rubrics’ may negatively influence same. These influences arise from how these different choices for presenting feedback in Turnitin affect personalisation, specificity and clarity of meaning of feedback, learners’ emotional connection with their marker and by simply grabbing their attention.

A summary of the research, including more detailed findings, is contained in the attached report: ‘An exploratory investigation into influences of form of GradeMark digital feedback on learners’ engagement with their feedback‘.

Why does this matter?

The NSS continues to highlight assessment and feedback as an area for ongoing enhancement, now incorporated as a metric for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Where the Digital Learning Thresholds (DLT) [internal CCCU link only] include an expectation for digital feedback as standard in future, it is important to ensure that such feedback is not only timely but engages encourages and supports our learners to improve.

What next?

It is recommended that, through their own action research, markers using GradeMark explore the use of Bubble Comments and Voice Comments as alternatives to General Comments, and ‘Grading Forms’ as an alternative to Rubrics. Specific considerations in doing so are suggested in the report. It is also recommended that CCCU considers strategies for helping learners apply GradeMark feedback to future work, including the possibility of re-writing generic assessment criteria in more ‘student friendly’ language and investigating improvements to accessing GradeMark via mobile devices.

To discuss ways of improving your students’ engagement with Turnitin feedback, contact your friendly learning technologist. See also our new section on technology-enhanced feedback [internal CCCU link only] for ways technology can support various aims for enhancing assessment, including improving feedback. Tools you can use are suggested along with links to examples, further reading and other resources and an ‘index’ of the tools we have available in the University.

Plickers – Engaging your Students

“Plickers” by Wayne Barry. All rights reserved.
“Plickers” by Wayne Barry. All rights reserved.


Plickers is another free online voting tool that can be used to engage students. However, where it differs from many other online tools is that it combines an app that the instructor downloads (free of charge) with paper/cards that the students use. This means that students do not need any technology to take part so no student is disadvantaged if they do not have a smart phone/tablet. The student registers their vote using specially designed cards.  The camera in the app ‘reads’ these votes which are fed back to the tutor and can be displayed on a computer screen in real time if you want the students to view them.

How to use Plickers

Instructors create a free account with Plickers and download the app which available via Apple or Android. N.B. Please ensure that you select ‘iphone only’ when searching via the Apple store even though the app will work on ipad

You can print out cards (free) or order them online. Each card has a unique number which you can choose to assign to students by name or the students can be anonymous.  You can add classes and assign students cards through the Plickers website. New questions can be created in your ‘Library’ within the website and organised into folders. The questions can include images and are either multiple choice or true/false. The instructor uses the app to select the question to be answered and clicks on the camera icon to scan student’s responses. The cards are rotated by the students to select their answers.


  • Free and easy to use software Students do not need any technology as they do not download an app
  • Tutors can view a report of the questions and how they were answered
  • You can assign students to cards or use anonymous voting
  • Immediate results can be made visible to students via the Plickers web page


  • Limited to 63 users
  • Limited question types (MCQs, T/F)
  • Not integrated with powerpoint
  • Need wifi access
  • Need sufficient lighting to enable the camera to pick up images

Pedagogic value

Audience response systems can be used to increase student engagement. As a lecturer you are able to adapt content in response to student answers. It could be used to stimulate debate and discussion and it can be used to help students interact throughout the lecture and enhance learner motivation.

What next?

There are help resources available on the Plickers website including a useful Getting started guide. There is also an introductory YouTube video which you might find useful.

If you would like to discuss how Plicker could be useful to you, please contact your Faculty Learning Technologist and arrange for a chat.

Mentimeter – Engaging your students

“Clickers for engagement” by Alan Wolf. Creative Commons licence CC BY
Clickers for engagement” by Alan Wolf. Creative Commons licence CC BY


Voting tools, ‘clickers’ or audience response systems are all terms for the combination of software and hardware which enable students or audiences to click a button on a device and have their votes display rapidly and dynamically on a screen.

There are many audience response solutions available, ranging from comprehensive systems with dedicated credit-card like controls, to elegant online software which partners well with ubiquitous mobile technology such as phones, tablets or laptops.

One such online tool is called Mentimeter. It is easy to use and very quick to display results in real time. In common with most online tools, Mentimeter has both a free and paid-for versions. Free versions often have restrictions which limit their usefulness, but Mentimeter’s free version does not have a limit on the number of students who can participate and includes the two most popular question types for voting – multiple choice and those which call for a free text, or ‘tweeted’ answer.

How to use Mentimeter

Instructors can create a free account with Mentimeter and prepare as many questions as they wish before a lecture or teaching session. During the lecture, students participate by visiting a web page on their phone and entering the number displayed on the screen to begin voting. A distinct advantage of Mentimeter is that students do not have to create their own account or download an app. To vote, they just need to enter new question numbers displayed on-screen in front of them. All votes are anonymous.

Using voting tools for teaching and learning

You can use Mentimeter (or a similar voting tool) to add some interactivity to a lecture or to take a quick ‘pulse’ to gauge understanding at the start or the end of a session. Voting tools are invaluable for the Flipped Classroom model in which students undertake some learning before the in-class time. When students come to the contact session, a voting tool can be used to see how well they have understood what they have learned. A multiple choice question can be set and if the majority of responses are correct, students can partner up and try and convince the other that they are right!

Questions which require a free text answer are great for prompting discussions. Students can ‘tweet’ sentences which appear on-screen in front of the group. With Mentimeter, you can highlight one of the contributions by bringing it to the centre of the display where it is automatically highlighted.

You can keep a Mentimeter voting session open for a space of time and you can embed the live results on your Blackboard. When students vote, they can refresh the page and see how their choice has altered the results. Note that the embedded version doesn’t display on Apple iOS devices, so just include a link to the live voting page so students can view it just by a single click.

You can embed a vote into Blackboard

Help and advice

If you are thinking of trying out an online tool such as Mentimeter, your Faculty Learning Technologist will help you start out. It is important to note, however, that Web 2.0 tools are not centrally supported by the University. Check out their Help facilities and video guides so you know that you have recourse to specific support and always read the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Conditions before signing up. With any technology, it is always advisable to have a Plan B too!

Socrative – Engaging your students

“Sócrates” by  Carlos Blanco. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA
Sócrates” by Carlos Blanco. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA

About Socrative

Socrative is a smart, yet simple, participant response system (PRS) which turns students’ smartphones and tablets into ‘virtual clickers’. The system allows the tutor to engage with their students through a series of interactive polls, quizzes and games that they have devised to check their students understanding of the course material during face-to-face lectures.

Socrative derives its name from the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates (470/469–399 BC), and in particular, the Socratic Method which is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, requiring the individuals to ask and answer questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.

Getting Started

Tutors can create a free Socrative account using an e-mail address or a Google Mail account from either a PC or a mobile device. The tutor will be given their own ‘room’ in which to create polls and quizzes, though it is advisable to rename the ‘room’ to something that is easy to remember (or include the ‘room’ name in any PowerPoint presentations being used). The ‘room’ will be the means in which students will gain access to the polls and quizzes, therefore students will not be required to sign up and create an account.

Socrative currently offers three question formats: multiple-choice (these can be turned into multiple-response), true or false, and short answer. Questions can be enriched with the inclusion of images and/or feedback. The site is supported with a useful help site and a YouTube channel.

The Benefits

  • Socrative is free.
  • The software is simple and easy to use.
  • Requires no additional hardware (e.g. no clickers).
  • You can create multiple quizzes.
  • Students can respond ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’.
  • Good for concept checking and for checking class understanding before, during and after the lesson.
  • Can create games out of your quizzes.
  • Results can be made immediately available.
  • Results can be downloaded in Microsoft Excel.
  • Socrative has very good supporting help materials and videos.

The Barriers

  • Limited question diversity (MCQs, T/F, short answer).
  • Limited to 50 concurrent users.
  • Does require students having access to a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
  • No Microsoft PowerPoint integration.
  • Wi-Fi enabled room.

Getting Access

Tutors can download the Socrative ‘Teacher’ app from Google Play or iTunes. Alternatively, they can log on to a mobile friendly website.

Students can download the Socrative ‘Student’ app from Google Play or iTunes. Alternatively, they can enter the ‘room’ via a mobile friendly website.

Pedagogic Value

Such a tool could be used to increase student engagement (Addison et al., 2009) and classroom interactivity (Blasco-Arcas et al., 2013), provide instantaneous feedback, stimulate peer instruction, check and deepen students understanding of the course material (Arteaga & Vinken, 2013).

Where Next?

There is a very helpful and comprehensive user guide that is available from Socrative for tutors who are interested in giving this service a go. Alternatively, watch the video below that gives a brief overview of the Socrative tool.

If you would like to discuss how Socrative could be useful to you, please contact your Faculty Learning Technologist and arrange for a chat.


Addison, S., Wright, A. & Milner, R. (2009). “Using Clickers to Improve Student Engagement and Performance in an Introductory Biochemistry Class”. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 37(2), pp. 84-91. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bmb.20264 [Accessed 24.2.2015].

Arteaga, I.L. & Vinken, E. (2013). “Example of good practice of a learning environment with a classroom response system in a mechanical engineering bachelor course”. European Journal of Engineering Education, 38(6), pp. 652-660. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03043797.2012.719000 [Accessed 24.2.2015].

Blasco-Arcas, L., Buil, I., Hernández-Ortega, B. & Sese, F.J. (2013). “Using clickers in class. The role of interactivity, active collaborative learning and engagement in learning performance”. Computers & Education, 62, pp. 102-110. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.10.019 [Accessed 24.2.2015].