Dear Faculty,

In an email today, one of my colleagues in German (at another institution) asked if I had ideas about how to use Padlet. I had mentioned that I love Padlet, but I’m thinking of switching over to Jamboard, simply because it’s totally free. In any case, here’s my email response to my colleague. I thought it might be useful for some of you. And I’d love to hear more ideas about how you use platforms like this!



Director of Writing, Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching
Associate Professor (NTT), Department of German and Russian Studies
651-696-6960 |


I use padlet or jamboard for:

  • brainstorming and collecting vocab (in a language class): e.g., all the words related to Umweltschutz (environmental protection–I selected this example because the vocab is tricky and plentiful). The advantage of a platform like this is that we can go back to our brainstormed list after each reading/video and add new words that we’ve encountered, and then of course I can link to it directly in Moodle so that students have it afterwards as a reference and to help with memorization. I often start out by just throwing all the words in a jumble on the page, and then we go through and cluster terms by various categories.
  • summarizing main concepts and reviewing ideas: e.g., for each unit in my vampire course, I ask:  what are some of the metaphors or themes we’ve seen about vampires in this unit? We brainstorm and review the main ideas and record a bunch of ideas on a jamboard/padlet. Then we use it for writing: low-stakes writing about one or more of the ideas to wrap up the unit, ideas for high-stake essay topics, etc. You could also do a great thesis workshop using the results of a brainstorm like this: have students link specific works with concepts and formulate a thesis statement. The class can decide if the thesis statement is one that would work well for an essay.
  • basically, anything that I might use an associogram for in the classroom: brainstorming key words, ideas, vocab, sources, people, etc. Either students can shout out ideas and I add them to the padlet/jamboard that I’m beaming, OR students can log on and add their own ideas, either individually or in groups.
  • Jamboard: could be used to sketch things out, such as floorplans, a diagram, etc. It’s not super easy to sketch with the writing tools, but possible for rough sketches. I’m thinking about the language classroom: rough floor plan of a room or apartment while working on housing, for example, or a route you follow to walk to class.
  • Jamboard allows you to add multiple pages to a file, so you could give each small group a different page within the same jamboard to collect ideas and record/take notes on their discussion. This is great for small group work: each group adds to their assigned page, and then the entire file is accessible to you and to the rest of the class. You could beam/share each page while the group reports back. Instant shared note-taking!