In every training session I host, the very first thing I do is ask teachers to give me three examples of when they used tech succesfully in their class. Instead of going around the room, asking everyone in turn, I direct them towards a Padlet wall and they can all add to it from their own devices. It’s a great tool, and I love using it in class as well.
Unfortunately, Padlet have just announced a significant change to their pricing strcture. You can now only have 3 Padlet walls for free, if you need more than that then be prepared to pay $99 a year (existing users have a higher limit depending on how many walls they had before the change). Clearly, most teachers will balk at paying that much for a service they’re used to getting for free, and it is therefore hard for me to recommend it in my training anymore.
Many teachers on Twitter are up in arms, complaining that Padlet are trying to make money out of them. As sad as I am about the change, I can’t agree. Padlet clearly realised that they could no longer afford to pay all the server and staff costs it took to make their service for free for so many people. They are a business, and they have to make money to survive just like we don’t teach for free, we need our salary to survive.
So, what are the options now?
- Pay the $99 and keep using Padlet as before. Whilst it’s unlikely many teachers will do this, it’s obviously an option. Padlet have today promised that they are working to create a package between Free and $99 but we’ll have to see what they come up with.
- Keep using your free account, but delete each wall after you’ve used it to free up space in your 3 wall limit. This is far from ideal, but you can create a wall, use it with your pupils, take a sceenshot and then delete the wall.
- Find alternative services. There’s a lot of discussion on Twitter about good alternatives. many have pointed out that you can share a Google Slide, let every pupil write on one slide each and display them in Grid mode to look like a padlet wall. There is a company called Wakelet who are pushing themselves as the alternative to Padlet. From a cursory glance, it seems a nice resource that deserves a more thorough look, but it does not quite the same easy functionality as Padlet (pupils would each need an account, have to be invited to collaborate like on a Google Doc).
Myself, I’ll probably do a combination of options 2 and 3. Using Google Slides seems like a good idea in my class, as all my pupils have accounts and are comfortable using it. In my training session, where I can’t expect every teacher to have an account, I’ll have to re-use and recycle my 3 wall Padlet limit!