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If you’re a teacher looking for a free Padlet replacement, this versatile Bookmarking site will probably do everything you need.

Bookmarking sites can be a handy way for teachers to store and share all kinds of related information with their students and the leader in the field has, for me at least, always been Padlet, www.padlet.com mainly because it lets you organise and display a variety of linked documents (text, video, audio…) in a quick, simple and visual way.

Recent changes to the site have, however, seen its functionality limited unless you fork out for the “Pro Plans” at around $100 / £75 a year. While there’s still a perfectly serviceable free version that let’s you organise a wide range of different types of information, new users are only allowed 3 free Boards (Padlet’s way of naming grouped information).

And while you can still cram a lot of bookmarks into a Board, it’s not very useful if you want to categorise information in more than 3 ways.

Which is probably something most teachers want to do.

But without the price tag.

And this is where Wakelet might be a useful alternative, particularly if you just want to store and organise basic types of information, such as links, documents and videos. While Padlet has a few more bells and whistles, Wakelet does pretty much everything a teacher / student might need (although it’s important to note it doesn’t – at least at the time of writing – allow you to directly upload Word or PowerPoint documents. You need to covert them to Pdf first – and although this isn’t an insurmountable problem, it is a definite limitation).

Functionality

Instead of Boards, Wakelet has Collections – places where you store related bookmarks. If you want to see how this works, this is a Collection I made earlier. It’s just a set of video links, but it should give you an idea about the sort of stuff Wakelet can do once you’ve familiarised yourself with the interface and layout.

There are some basic customisations you can make to your Home Page and Collections (adding background images / branding for example) and you can set one of three levels of access for each Collection:

  • Public can be seen by anyone
  • Private, which only you can see
  • Unlisted, where you can invite people to view a Collection based on a link you share.
  • In terms of what you can Bookmark, this currently includes:

  • YouTube videos
  • pdf documents
  • images
  • free text (you can write whatever you like)
  • Twitter links to display a Twitter feed as a Collection (although this requires giving Wakelet a level of access to your Twitter account that you might want to think twice about)
  • Crosslinks that allow a link from one Collection to be added to a different Collection.
  • You can also give different contributors, such as your students, access to each Collection so they can add information to it.

    Overall, while Wakelet is probably not quite as flexible as Padlet, it’s a decent bookmarking site that’s easy to use and which allows you to create as many Collections as you need.

    All for free.

    Happy New Year.

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