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Throw ideas against a virtual wall with Padlet

Easy, versatile, and multimedia-friendly, Padlet is a slick Web app for online collaboration.

Web app Padlet calls itself a "multimedia friendly, free-form, real-time wiki." Which is to say, it's a blank canvas where you can throw ideas around with a virtual group. Each participant can post his or her thoughts, along with any files, photos, videos, and links that pertain to the discussion.

I hosted a Padlet conversation between me, myself, and I using a MacBook, a Windows laptop, and an iPad. Padlet worked flawlessly on each device. Let's take a look at how it works.

To start a Padlet session, head to its Web site and click the yellow "Build a wall" button. It's that easy -- no registration required. You'll be greeted with a blank canvas with a toolbar running along the right edge. To invite others to you wall, click the share button on the right; sharing options include e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In the sharing options, you can also snap a picture of your wall to share or get the embed code for your blog or site.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

To post something on the wall, double click where you'd like you post to appear. You can give your post a headline and supporting text, and you can add a link, upload a file, or snap a pic using your Webcam. You can also drag a file from your computer into the wall. For files you add to Padlet, a thumbnail will appear on the post. Clicking on a thumbnail opens Padlet's multimedia viewer, where you can cycle through all of the posts and see larger images and play videos.

Highlighting text on a post calls up a limited formatting menu, and you can drag to reposition or resize each post. Participants can edit and delete their own posts, while the originator of the wall can edit and delete any post.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Click on the gear button on the right to modify the look of your wall. You can select from a number of background images or upload your own, and you can choose either the default free-form layout or the Stream layout, where posts are placed one below the other. You can also set privacy controls here (public, private, password-protected) and choose to have the moderator approve posts before they appear on the wall.

(Via LifeHacker)