Visible thinking aims to make thinking or cognitive processes as overt, conscious, and deliberate acts for learners. Visible Thinking routines help learners to be aware of their thinking processes, what they are thinking, and to make these concrete or tangible. It helps students to articulate their ideas in a more thoughtful and reflective manner.
Routines promoting visible thinking can occur in individual or group settings. In the individual settings, students turn to and converse with themselves, opening up for a personal metacognitive activity. Collaborative routines, on the other hand, enable learners to uncover and make their ideas concrete through sharing, exchanging, and discussing about their ideas.
While there are a lot of apps that can support the use of Visible Thinking Routines in class, Padlet remains to be a great tool to foster collaborative and reflective thinking in class.
One simple tip in using Padlet as a visible thinking routine tool is to change the background image of the Padlet wall with an image that shows a particular routine to be done in class. For example, if the learning activity asks for the use of “See-Think-Wonder,” an image showing a chart or table having “See-Think-Wonder” columns could be used as a background image.
To create the background image, use any photo editor that can make the tables or columns needed for the particular visible thinking routine. A simple way to do this is to use Keynote or any presentation tool. In the presentation, construct the columns or tables or add images that are needed for the visible thinking routine. Export the slides as images, which can be then uploaded. Another alternative is to take screenshots of the slides and upload these in Padlet.
Since Padlet is a collaborative tool, students can access the wall and add their ideas through adding texts or uploading images or videos. Each post can then be placed under a particular column. For this to happen, enable a freeform lay-out for students to freely add and place their notes on the appropriate part of the wall. Through this simple trick, teacher moves beyond creating a collaborative space for students. An opportunity for students to organise, categorise, and make sense of their ideas arises.
Last, the Padlet wall can become an online assessment portfolio that contains their thoughts while they are learning. Students can go back to their ideas and reflect on how these have changed or modified. Teachers can use Padlet as a platform to showcase the insights and learnings of students during the learning process.
Check sample background images for Visible Thinking routines below: