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Laura Gibbs

A Padlet of Student Voices

Posted by Laura Gibbs Apr 15, 2017

While following the Twitter traffic for CanvasCon at Southern Methodist University in March, I saw an example of someone using Padlet in Canvas. That seemed like a really good idea, and I knew I wanted to give it a try. Padlet is especially good for collaborative editing, and I might use it for that next year in my classes... but for now, what I wanted was a way to collect and share quotes from the growth mindset posts in my students' blogs.


So, I created a free Padlet and chose the grid option, which means that the newest items will automatically go in the top row, which is just what I want, since it is my plan to keep adding new quotes every few days just to keep it fresh! It's easy to snag the quotes from the Inoreader stream of my students' growth mindset posts.


padlet screenshot


Then, I decided to embed the Padlet in my Growth Mindset blog, and I liked the Padlet wallpaper so much I grabbed that to use as my blog wallpaper too. It's a green theme: green for growth! (I used to mirror the wallpaper image to it works well even when tiling.) I am really excited about having my students' thoughts and observations on every blog page! I've never embedded something across columns at a blog before, but I really like the idea of putting the students' voices there up at the top. I might attempt a more ambitious blog redesign this summer using one of those new responsive Blogger templates, but for now, I think this is a good change, and it is a great reminder / incentive for me to keep an eye on the blog posts, looking for more good quotes to use:


blog screenshot



Then, I created a Padlet page in my Canvas Growth Mindset space too:


canvas screenshot


It's easy to embed because Padlet gives you the iframe. The Padlet has a share icon in the top right, and you just choose "embed" to get the code you need to copy-and-paste into Canvas. Easy-peasy!


padlet embed screenshot


This is the kind of dynamic content that I really like: you add a new item to the Padlet and — presto! — it shows up everywhere the Padlet is embedded. MAGIC.


I'll be presenting about Growth Mindset for CanvasLIVE this week, so this will be fun to share then! :-)

5 Ways to Weave Growth Mindset into Your Courses 


And be sure to check out Kristin Lundstrum's CanvasLIVE presentation on Padlet from back in February:

Collaborate with Padlet  ... with the video here:

Collaborate with Padlet 

After a pretty crazy week last week ... and yes, I have to write up notes about Project Khaki! ... but this morning I just wanted to get back into my routine, posting a new growth mindset infographic and a new growth mindset cat. Here's the cat:


Don't let your fear paralyze you.


Don't let your fear paralyze you.

And what I wanted to share is a very nifty thing about Pinterest: although Pinterest does not get a lot of respect as an educational tool, it really does have some powerful search and discovery features. For example, I just uploaded today's cat to my Pinterest Board, so here is its pin page:


pin page


Underneath Pinterest gives "related pins" which are all kinds of LOLCats. It's one of those endless scroll pages; I don't know how many hundreds or thousands of LOLCats Pinterest might want to show me.


But here's a cool trick I want to demonstrate in this blog post: you can click on the magnifying glass on the image itself, and go to a visual search page keyed to exactly that pin. Here's the URL so you can see how it works, searching on a specifically defined area of the image, and you can control that by using handles that let you drag to define the area:


So, when I zoom out to do the whole image here, I get all the pins at Pinterest that people have made using this cat image. It is ASTONISHING. So many languages!!! The top six show me Italian, Russian, and Spanish in addition to English. Scroll down for German, Turkish, Portuguese and more.


visual search screenshot


And so much creativity! As someone who loves proverbs and aphorisms, I really enjoy the creative spirit that you can see at work here. I really like this one:


monster shield



So, I am a big believer in having students create and share memes, and this Pinterest feature is a beautiful way to explore the "meme-ness" of memes, how they are created and recreated and spread around the world. This is just one little picture of a kitten under a blanket; it's not even a famous meme. But Pinterest has so many pins from so many people that even just for this not-famous image, there is a wealth of human creativity on display, with the power of image recognition software being harnessed to gather and share the memes in a search result. 


And if you are wondering about Google reverse image search, it really does not deliver here, at least not for this kitten. When I do a "Search Google for Image" starting with my meme today, Google really comes up short, as you can see. It only returns three images, compared to the dozens that Pinterest finds:


google reverse image search

I don't know the ins-and-outs of how the algorithms work, but Pinterest is clearly ignoring, at least to some degree, the text on the image while Google, in contrast, seems very hung up on the text (even though the text here does not match the text on my meme). So, while I love Google as a tool for discovery, Pinterest wins here hands down.


My advice: if you have not explored Pinterest, give it a try. It really is fun to use, and because of its enormous worldwide popularity, it gives you access to a gigantic body of image-driven content that is a real pleasure to explore. Not just for LOLCats. :-)


Some notes here on Pinterest and Canvas:

Pinterest in Canvas