Padlet: a motivational tool for developing research skills

Padlet in the classroom
Padlet on the PC
  • Session:  Questions and Answers: the research process
  • Access:
  • Classroom equipment: Class computer and projector, Student devices (laptop/tablets or smartphones)

Last week’s CPD session by Antonella Rusconi (EAP tutor: University of Nottingham) demonstrated Padlet. Padlet is a bulletin wall where content can be placed by anyone at any time from anywhere.

This week I ran a Questions and Answers session (Q&As) with a group of EAP students on their experience of producing a research paper. It also provided an ideal opportunity to give Padlet a try.


The aim of the session was for my students to reflect on the stages, difficulties, skills acquired and the ways in which they thought the process could be useful when they start their postgraduate qualifications in business and management.

Classroom activities:

My students were asked to think about questions they still had about producing their business paper and post them to Padlet. The students were then given time to discuss these questions and research the questions using our ‘EAP toolbox’ and materials provided on our course Moodle. The session ended with class feedback and adding our answers and comments to Padlet.

This Q&A session came a day before our workshop on ‘editing and proofreading’. Additional questions were added to Padlet between these sessions and during the editing workshop.

Practicalities and other uses

Antonella showed us how this virtual bulletin board could be used for sharing ideas, videos and web-based text. During the CPD session, we discussed with peers how we could use Padlet as a space for posting class information, mind-mapping, or displaying supplementary resources for access outside of the classroom. Here are the notes from Antonella’s CPD session on Monday 27 August 2018 (Si Yuan building, Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham) on how Padlet can be used both inside and outside of teaching sessions together details on how to deploy Padlet.

In class

  • Quick brainstorming of ideas
  • Concept-checking: students post definitions to be peer checked in real time
  • Collaborative writing: students in groups contribute to a writing task
  • jigsaw writing
  • Grammar check: students improve/reformulate sentences
  • Peer feedback on their performances in presentations and debates in real time

Out of class

  • Repository of sources/materials
  • Original start and closure to the course: students create a Padlet with comments,
  • photos, videos about their experience in Nottingham


  1. Create a free account
  2. Start a Padlet, choose background, name it, choose privacy settings
  3. Make it either secret (for invites only) or public (appearing in Google searches)
  4. Click on Share on top right corner
  5. Students access your Padlet through a QR code from their mobile phones
  6. Other sharing options: copy link to Padlet and send it by email; embed code (to be added to a blog, website, e-learning platform)
  7. Click on + to add Word and PDF docs, pictures, videos, links, voice messages etc.


Follow me on Padlet:
My referral link:
Antonella’s CPD training:

Padlet in the classroom
Padlet in the classroom

Jubilee Campus: Tour

Key words
Padlet, smartphones, devices, Q&A, bulletin board, EAP, academic study, post-graduate, research process, academic writing, cpd, cele, university of Nottingham, moodle, toolbox, teaching, tutoring, guide, Si Yuan, Jubilee Campus,

Student Response Systems (SRS) in EAP

Could students’ devices be used successfully as part of our EAP classroom activities? Smartphones hold a central place in the communication culture of EAP students. They check their university emails, read their VLE notifications, do research, scrutinise essay feedback and even write their assignments on their smartphones. It would perhaps be rash to not explore the possibilities of using students’ own devices in our EAP classrooms.

I’ve found ‘Kahoot!’ useful during a recent EAP lesson observation to maintain students’ attention.  Look around your EAP classroom and you’ll normally find a poster prohibiting the use of mobile devices. EAP departments often have great traditional EAP teaching resources and language material, but little time or resources is spent on providing mobile teaching material for student devices in the classroom.


Kahoot! the game-based learning platform was launched in August 2013 in Norway. It allows students to take part in multiple-choice quizzes through their smartphones.
Here is one I’ve created for Monday morning’s class. This quiz has been designed to check comprehension of the reading texts by Julio Gimenez 2000 and Rosa Gimenez 2011. This quiz is part of a lesson designed to help students identify how academic writers synthesize sources
Please feel free to copy, edit or share this quiz:

I have used Kahoot! In many classes, covering common academic language issues such as academic style, features of essay writing and consolidation exercises. Every time I use this tool engagement levels of students increase. The instant feedback possibilities of this system seem to appeal to the majority of my learners.

Further reading

Article by Alf Inge Wang and Andreas Lieberoth
Article on Medium by Kahoot! co-founder Johan Brand

Randomising tools for EAP

Have you ever asked a question to the class which is met with silence, or taught a new class and have not learned all your students’ names?  Giving the job of selecting a student to a randomiser reduces your cognitive load – you don’t have to think about who you’ve already asked, who you might have missed out and what’s the name of that quiet student in the corner?

Student’s quickly understand why you use a randomiser and this keeps them engaged in your class. They know that the randomiser may select them at any time to perform a task. A randomiser helps the tutor avoid asking questions to the ablest student.

Hot Seat

In a recently observed EAP class, I created a ‘hot-seat’ activity where I placed business idioms into a randomiser. The class was split into teams and one team member was nominated to sit in the hot seat with their back to the board so they can’t see the selected idiom. The aim of the task was for the students in the teams to describe that idiom. The student in the hot seat listened to their teammates and tried to guess the word. The British Council describes ‘hot seat’ in more detail, but does not use the randomiser. ‘hot-seat’

I’ve often used this online randomiser from,  but recently, however, they have started to put ads. on their pages. There is now a premium edition (ad. free) available.

Alternatively, you could use a simple ppt with one name/idiom per slide that cycles through automatically.  Jimmy Littlewing has shared his creation on the TES lesson resources page.

New teaching position

I am presently a tutor at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), University of Nottingham, teaching on the presessional EAP ‘Business and Management’ course.

The syllabus has been designed in collaboration with the Nottingham University Business School and prepares students for study on postgraduate programmes in business and management.

Who are FE’s top 50 social media stars?

The definitive list of the UK’s top 50 FE practitioners on social media

social media UK’s top 50 FE practitioners

Simon Wardman, EFL teacher and editor of, was entered into a competition organised by Jisc to find the UK’s top 50 FE practitioners on social media.

Hannah Oakman, posted for ‘Education Technology’ ‘The competition searched for people currently working for a college or learning provider in the UK who are using social media to improve learning and teaching or create positive change within their organisation. The final line-up – taken from nominations and a panel of social media experts, including former principal education adviser and chair of the government’s computing expert group, Bob Harrison, Stephen Exley, further education editor at Times Education Supplement, and James Clay and Sarah Knight from Jisc – features everyone from college managers and leaders, to tutors and support staff, on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus and YouTube.’

Education Technology Stories

TES Further Education News

Scunthorpe calls on the cosmic forces of Cambodia

Café INDIEpendent, Scunthorpe 2015, a seemingly incongruous location for the Cambodian Space Project’s first gig of their UK tour.

Scunthorpe for sale ‘to let’ shopfronts Cambodian Space Project

Scunthorpe was a once thriving town build on the iron and steel industry. The grim, empty, moribund High Street had seen better days, with an abundant number of ‘for sale’ and ‘to let’ signs hung from the shopfronts.

Type 40 time and space machine with Gallifreyan warp matrix engineering.
Type 40 time and space machine incorporating Gallifreyan warp matrix engineering.

I turned to the bar and Julian is Poulson ordering drinks; am I the only person who recognizes him from the BBC documentary ‘Rocking Cambodia: Rise of a Pop Diva’ broadcast earlier in the year? I introduce myself to him as a new fan from Nottingham, he introduces me to the stunning Channthy – who had mysteriously materialized leaving me dumbstruck.

A dimensionally transcendental event is occurring, I’ve got a bottle of Steamer in hand, and I’m transfixed by the sublime voice to the stage. The originally small empty venue now huge, full and pulsating with gleeful musicophiles.

The otherworldly sound of Channthy’s vocals with abrupt changes in notes along an astronomic range fills her songs with emotional power, while Julian’s punchy controlling guitar fuses perfectly to give the band an ethereal expressive energy.

The Cambodian Space Project are a force that is reigniting the Cambodian psychedelic musical genre of the 60s and 70s and is levering open a galactic door into the unknown mystical world of the Khmer culture. Two encores later, the fusion-powered CSP time vortex had thrown us back out into our own dimensional plane, the venue contracted to its original size, the sounds subsided. Channthy and her band dematerialised into an interstellar cloud of dry gas.

I was walking alone again down the dark and deserted Scunthorpe High Street. Something had happened within me, if not a regeneration, certainly some type of rejuvenation, an expansion of my horizons, I was now on a mission to understand more.

Vocabulary Scavenger Hunts improves language learning

Vocabulary Scavenger Hunts improve language learning

NFC scavenger hunt at nottingham college

Near Field Communication (NFC) tags embedded into posters are a great way to create vocabulary scavenger hunts and other out-of-classroom collaborative activities for students.  Vocabulary Scavenger Hunts improve language learning by providing the opportunity for students to contextualize language in real situations. Students find these activities engaging and motivating and find new vocabulary easier to understand.


Small groups of students were required to navigate around the college via 9 posters embedded with NFC tags. These interactive posters directed the students’ smartphones to tasks, which could be written on blog posts.  In our recent scavenger hunt, we linked our NFC tags to word definitions on an online crowd-sourced dictionary called Toponimo. The students then had to make a collaborative decision regarding the most appropriate meaning of the word, relevant to its context.


The GPS system on smartphones can’t work inside buildings, so NFC tags are an ideal way to provide students with contextual information. These interactive posters had the effect of taking the focus away from the technology and allowed students to focus on deciding on the correct word definition for the location they were in. The students found that NFC-enabled mobile devices were a lot easier to use than the QR codes which have been previously used in vocabulary treasure hunts.


Questionnaires were given to the EFL learners after the scavenger quest and their opinions on the activities where gathered in focus groups. Initial research findings show that nearly 92% of our EFL students already looked up words on their mobile phones but every student involved in the project thought that learning the words in the different places around the college made them easier to understand. At the time of running the first vocabulary quest in December 2012, only one-third of the language learners regularly carried an NFC-enabled device to college. This is the main criticism of the vocabulary scavenger quest. Students mentioned in the focus groups however that these group vocabulary quests using mobile devices were more fun than comparable classroom activities using traditional dictionaries.

Read More
JISC Article on NFC Interactive Posters

Jisc blog

rfid journal

NFC World

UK college uses NFC to help teach English