What was your favourite plant science article in May?

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Padlet is a new online tool that helps people to collaborate by posting their thoughts and comments on a virtual board. Contributors can simply access it through a URL on their computer or mobile phone, without having to register first. It allows anonymous contributions, while at the same time offering a variety of privacy and moderation settings.

I first learnt about Padlet in my ‘Teaching in Higher Education course’. Our tutor, George Roberts, introduced it to us new lecturers as a way to request anonymous feedback from students. If this sounds slightly scary, let me tell you: the feedback that this particular session received from a room full of academics was more ruthless than any of the feedback I ever received from my students!

Since then, I have used Padlets in various ways. I set up a Padlet for my first module and encouraged students to leave feedback after every lecture. This way, I was able to try and speak more slowly in the second week, rather than hearing about it in the final module evaluation. I asked students to write exam questions on the content they just heard in the lecture, with the twist to formulate questions according to the higher cognitive domains on Bloom’s Taxonomy. During the break, students posted their questions to a Padlet, and we discussed the anonymous contributions after the break. I used it as icebreaker activity in tutorials with my academic advisees, asking them to post their favourite TV show from their phones, and projected the results going up live on the screen.

Padlet has huge potential for collaborative work. My colleague Richard Francis used it in a workshop, in which participants produced a Padlet with thoughts on how the library of the future would look like. Padlet backgrounds are customisable, and so we asked participants of a training session in advance to plot themselves on a graph. The X-axis indicated how long in advance you started doing coursework, and the Y-axis equalled panic levels. Again, this was a fantastic icebreaker.

At AoBBlog, we like to try new things. We also like to learn even more about plant science. So we are now asking you: If you had to choose one plant science article that you read in May, which one would you pick, and why – and would you share it with us on our new Padlet?

This is what a Padlet looks like. The space just looks limited, as it changes with window size.
This is what a Padlet looks like. The space just looks limited, as it changes with window size.

We’d like to hear about your favourite news article, journal article (your own one maybe?!) or blog post. You can post anonymously,  with your first or full name, Twitter handle…you get the idea. You can also add notes as response to other notes. We’re looking forward to hear about the community May highlights!


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  • Looks a great tool, and a good use you suggest for it. I can imagine a series of Padlets. I’ve actually posted a book not a ‘paper’ (although it does have a doi, http://dx.doi.org/10.17226/23395 ) on the Padlet for this month, one well-worth a read, and I was thinking of reviewing it for AoBBlog/Annals of Botany too (or would somebody like to volunteer?). I often think we need somewhere to post ‘grey’ reading – reports from international and national organizations, patents etc. Another more social page could be for scientists to post their most under-cited paper. For myself (and, indeed, everybody else I know), generally the most important papers get the most citations but there are a handful of exceptions of papers I am really proud of with minimal citations.