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Technology has grown to be a significant part of the modern world. It is among the main contributors to development (Bulman and Fairlie, 2016). It is therefore not surprising that it is among the main pillars towards the achievement of the sustainable global development. Technology has been integrated into many sectors globally with the aim of improving them. One of these is the education sectors. Key players in the education sector such as higher learning institutions began involving technology in the learning process and this has gone ahead to be adopted in many parts of the globe for it has proven to give positive results (Schmid et al. 2014). Padlet is an example of how technology has been integrated into the learning process. It is an online platform where learners and tutors get to post educational material such as books, journals, videos, and audio clips as well as engage each other in healthy discussions. It is within this context that the paper gives a detailed exposition on the use of technology and more specifically the Padlet in higher education learning.
As noted by Fisher (2017), developers of the Padlet aimed at bringing about efficiency in the education sector. Their goal was to invent a platform that enables both the learners and the teachers to get more for less (Fisher, 2017). The Padlet has also proved to be quite effective and useful in higher education learning due to the numerous benefits that come along with it. To start with, it enables students to develop by sharing their knowledge on something. In the traditional classroom setting, students do not get to express themselves unless asked to do so by the teacher. However, Padlets allows students to randomly post information on a certain concept. As a result, students without knowledge in this field will learn while those with more knowledge will also post it here to shed more light on the concept (Fuchs, 2014). This promotes learning.
Secondly, it promotes easy and unlimited discussions. Padlet provides learners with a great platform to conduct their discussions. Traditionally, learners who wanted to have discussions had to set a specific time and a specific place. However, as explained by Fuchs (2014), with the use of Padlet, learners can do so at any time from any location. It also does not limit the number of people involved in the discussions. This means that a lot of content will be available due to the unlimited number of contributions. Thirdly, it provides learners with an international platform or forum (Ellis, 2015). Padlet is international and therefore can be used by people from across the globe. This aspect helps to connect learners throughout the world. One factor that stands out about this attribute is that learners can get information from the source itself or people close to the source. For example, if a student would like to learn about the Japanese culture, he or she can get such information from the Japanese themselves. This provides more concrete and reliable information.
According to DeWitt (2015), the use of padlet in learning has brought about equality and freedom of expression. Through this platform, anyone is free to post or retrieve content despite his or her gender, race, cultural background, or sexual orientation thus promoting equality. This is better than the traditional classroom system whereby a lecturer may be biased and only involves a certain group of people in the discussions. This platform also enables those who shy from expressing their views in public to do so. In the classroom, some students may be afraid to air their views on a certain topic. However, through padlet, they can do so comfortably (Hamann, Pollock, and Wilson, 2014). This ensures that everyone is involved in the learning process, unlike the traditional classroom system whereby only a few people end up dominating the discussions.
Nyawanza (2016) explains that responsibility is an important trait, which students ought to learn as they go about their learning. Padlet promotes this aspect by enabling the students to be more in control of their learning process. In a classroom setting, the teacher is responsible for steering the discussions. He or she ensures that the right language is used, there is mutual respect and that only relevant information is raised. However, through the use of padlet, this role is played by the students themselves. They get to steer and control the discussions they have on this platform. They raise the topics of discussion themselves and ensure it is conducted amicably (Nickerson and Zodhiates, 2013). This makes them have more control over their education thus promoting responsibility.
Additionally, padlets also promotes the collaboration between the lecturer and the students (DeWitt, Alias, and Siraj, 2015). Padlet is not only used by students but also by lecturers. Discussions held by lecturers and students in a classroom setting are limited by time, and the topic based on the course outline. However, using padlet, these limitations are excluded. Therefore, students can engage lecturers in discussions even after the school hours are over (DeWitt, Alias, and Siraj, 2015). These discussions can be related to the ongoing course or another topic. Here, the lectures get a good platform to share more with the students. This educational tool also promotes the aspect of learning being a two-way traffic. This is because both students and lecturers get to learn from each other (DeWitt, Alias, and Siraj, 2015). They both post materials from relevant sources such as journals, books, videos or audio clips. As a result, both parties get to learn from each other. In addition, the information made available in this platform is subject to long-term storage (Fisher, 2017). In the traditional learning system, student mainly stored information by making notes from the lectures’ teachings and books. This led to a huge pile-up of books. Storing information in such a system is tedious, and the books can easily be damaged. However, technology has enabled information to be made available in a soft copy, which is easier to be stored and retrieved over a long period (Bulman and Fairlie, 2016). A student can save information posted on padlet easily in the cloud storage. The student will then be able to retrieve the information from anywhere in the world through a smartphone, laptop, or any other internet-enabled device.
Assessment is a crucial part of learning in higher education. It shows the progress one is making in learning and points out where one has understood and where one has not. Padlet as an educational tool has greatly assisted learners in assessment. By use of padlet, students can assess themselves or others. Students engage in personal assessment by giving their opinions on discussions. In doing so, a student can determine how much they have understood. Also, where one is wrong, he or she gets corrected (Schmid, et al 2014). In these discussions, a student also gets to see the areas being discussed that he or she does not understand. A student can also assess other students by asking them questions on various topics. The response they give points out the extent to which they have understood the concept. Moreover, as illustrated by Watson, and Tinsley (2013), using the padlet in the learning prepares students for the outside world which is tech driven. As earlier stated, technology is a significant part of the world. Technology is used in every sector to ensure things learn smoothly. Upon graduating and venturing into the job market, these students will be using technology in their daily lives to go about their affairs, to do the jobs assigned to them, and to retrieve information. Padlet, therefore, assists them to be acquitted with this concept of technology early enough. The students will therefore easily adapt to the outside world (Watson, and Tinsley, 2013). This, in turn, fosters development since minimum time and resources are spent in this transition.
As explained by Thompson (2015), the traditional system whereby the teacher steers and controls the learning while all the students have to do is flow with the tutor is monotonous. Students get bored easily for being subjected to the same system continuously. As a result, this makes their concentration deteriorate hence the learning objectives are not fully met. However, as further pointed out by Thompson (2015), this demerit of the traditional system is resolved by use of padlet. Padlet is greatly efficient since it breaks the monotony. It does not have a fixed system of learning (Thompson, 2015). Anyone can bring up a discussion or post relevant learning materials on this platform not necessarily the teacher. The students too get to steer the learning, which breaks the monotony of the teacher always conducting this role. Any learning material can also be posted on this platform at any time, as there is no specific time for posting specific learning information. Breaking the monotony and the other benefits that come with the use of padlet make learning more interesting. As such, students become happier and even more eager to learn. This educational tool, therefore, acts as a motivation factor for learning (Thompson, 2015). Its great efficiency gives the students the urge to be involved with it more.
However, the use of padlet also comes with some drawbacks. First, using this platform to foster education brings about disconnection between students (C.A. and Woods, 2014). One goal of the traditional classroom discussions was to make students interact and connect at a personal level on a one on one basis (Meyer, 2007). Students got to learn a lot from this such as the different accents by people from different communities which helped them in the outside world. They also learned how to relate to different types of people. This objective can however not be attained by use of Padlet. If anything, this platform has made the students more disconnected and reserved when around their peers. Such students do not feel comfortable airing their views in the presence of their views; they can only do so behind the screens (Meyer, 2007). This aspect will pose a huge challenge for these students upon entering the job market.
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As pointed out by Meyer (2007), another demerit is that there is the risk of cyberbullying. The idea behind padlet is that students will conduct themselves amicably and in a civilized manner while on this platform. However, this might not always be the case. There is the risk of cyberbullying which is prominent among young students. A group of students might gang up to demean another student. This may affect the learning of such a student. Students who are cyberbullied have a difficult time trying to air their opinions again (Meyer, 2007). They also face a lot of psychological torture. In some cases, victims of cyberbullying have committed suicide due to the mental torture (Meyer, 2007).
Technology can be a major distraction (Nyawanza, 2016). The use of padlet is, therefore, a potential for distraction. Using padlet means that the student is using either a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or laptop connected to the internet. The internet is a hub of many distractors. The student can easily be swayed away from the padlet platform to other platforms on the internet. In addition, this type of learning does not have restrictions or a system of control. Therefore, the parents or the teacher do not have to monitor the students activities. The students can therefore easily be involved in non-constructive affairs when online.
As stated earlier, technology has played a vital role in the development of various sectors and the education field is no different. One way this has been achieved is through the use of padlet. Padlet has brought about many benefits with it. It is a great tool since it has brought about efficiency in the learning process. Learners get to get more benefits at a lower cost. Padlet is an interesting learning platform, which has made the learning process exciting. As such, students are more eager to learn, and their concentration is improved. However, this learning tool also comes with various drawbacks such as social disconnection among students, the risk of cyberbullying and distractions.
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