Last year I came across this little 'cool-tool' on the American Evaluation Association AEA365 website and had a play with it.  I have to say that I was mightily impressed.  It's an electronic notice board that anyone can set up (as per the example below) and individuals can then post their own notes or responses onto a shared space indicating what they think about an issue or challenge.  Over the weekend, I received an update telling me that materials can now be exported from the notice board to other platforms for processing. 

If you want to, you can respond on the Example Board I've set up below but you need to bear in mind that the amount of space available for responding is limited because of the other items which appear on the host website,  (I guess that them's the breaks!)  Nothwithstanding the reduction in visible 'board space' I've discovered that it's now possible to import a large body of text and photos as well as video data can also be uploaded onto the board.  To illustrate that, I've included in the example board, a photoshopped image that somebody else generated following the most recent New Zealand elections.    

If you're interested in exploring this tool further, you might like to check out features of this software by going to http://padlet.com/ You can then make your own board which means that you can try this evaluation or sampling tool out for yourself, e.g. with a class of students, or a committee, a consumer group, colleagues, or a group from U3A learners, and so on... .  It only takes a minute or two.  I've not yet tried to see if it can be used as a teaching tool where the collaboratively generated work of groups of respondents become 'merged' for a plenary discussion but I think that this might be one way of applying the tool.  

Finally, I want to share with you the possibility of using this tool as a real-time file-sharing device.  The equipment you'll need is simple and minimal:  first, you each need to be on the end of a connection over the ubiquitous phone (ideally set to loud-speaking mode).  Second, you also need to have each of your computers set to the same padlet notice-board over the Internet.   The other day, I did this with a student who inserted (by way of a dummy run) written material onto the sample board I've developed below.  She simply double-clicked and I could see her inserted comments and work in real time.  

Content discussion and editorial changes were then able to be developed in real time with the student inserting changes whilst I watched and variously praised and quizzed her for your choices of words and meanings.  (However, please note that the capability of generating student-driven inputs seemed to lapse if I assumed control as the administrator.  So the rule seems to be, if you want the student to drive the process of writing, keep your hands free from the keyboard!  Listen and look, don't type!)  

So there you have it: a simple free tool that can be variously used for
canvassing viewpoints, eliciting responses and for sharing and working on material-in-common in real time.  And all of these facets work even though participants are separated by distance. 

It's a tool that I like because it's simple and I have to say that I'll certainly be recommending it to others in future.  I'd certainly be interested to learn  from you just how useful, if at all, you've found the tool to be.  Oh, and remember, please, to write your thoughts about Mr Joyce's stifling of education for the elderly onto the sample board below.  Happy notice boarding...