Padlet is a great way to brainstorm online, to collaborate by getting your class to upload ideas quickly and easily. No need for your students to sign in, and after a few tries, you can set up an online scratch pad for everyone to contribute in a few seconds. Great for on-the-fly teaching moments. You can splash the results up in front of class using your digital projector, but results are updated in real time for all the students on their own devices (laptops, pads, or smart phones). Moments that you can keep, edit, add to and use as a reference. You can also export your work into images, pdfs, or even embed into your website.
Your students can add almost anything, text, pictures, websites, even videos. Perfect for small group work.
Once you set up an account, you can make a “padlet”, and share the URL in seconds. For example, I am tokyokevin at padlet, and I create a space for students to share how they learn vocabulary, as an introduction to a class on techniques for learning new words. See the results below, or add an idea or two yourself at http://padlet.com/tokyokevin/vocab
If you want to get fancy, you can sign up for a Backpack, $50 a year, where you can manage your classes more closely. This is a new feature, and I will follow up when I have used it a little more. But for now, simplicity reigns with Padlet, even though it has lots of features, like export and import.