Yesterday, Padlet announced what every educator fears the most…limitations on the free version of their product. Now, users can only make up to 3 Padlet walls for free. I totally get it. Padlet is a company made up of employees with families to support. The freemium business model is not new to the world of educational technology and almost all of the popular services teachers use have limitations. So, why is this announcement so painful? Because online tools such as Padlet, Thinglink, Sutori, Flipgrid and other similar cross-curricular platforms are guiding teachers AWAY from worksheets and TOWARDS implementation of the 4Cs (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication). Right now, teachers that want to utilize these amazing products end up paying for it out of their own pocket. Let’s not forget they are also paying for paper, glue, poster board, markers, crayons, paper plates, plastic wrap, toothpicks, and everything else that Hobby Lobby carries. What’s going to happen when they have no more money to spend on their students because, at some point, they must use their paychecks to put food on their own table? I can tell you…they will go back to worksheets.
Obviously, district and state entities aren’t doing enough because this has been a systemic problem for YEARS. So, what are some things we can do to continue in the direction of educational best practices without going broke?
- Ask campus admin or PTA for funds to purchase campus-wide subscriptions
- Stop purchasing devices and start purchasing platforms that are cross-curricular in nature and support the use of the 4cs. If a campus spends $700 on a single iPad, it will be obsolete in about 4 years. Apple won’t allow the device to update to the latest operating system, therefore making the apps buggy and eventually useless.
- Stop buying worksheets on TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers). I guarantee teachers spend more money on that site than they would on a monthly subscription to a quality platform.
- Sometimes platforms offer an educator’s network where you can get your subscription for free if you promote their product and participate in blogs and webinars.
- Try to mimic what a service does using free tools like Google. Here is a mock “Virtual Board Doc” that simulates some of Padlet’s features. It is by no means fancy pancy, but guess what? IT’S FREE! Go to file>make a copy and modify as needed.
6. Alice Keeler recently posted this Tweet. Genius, of course. Make a copy of this template.