Participles themselves can be used as adjectives, but not adverbs:
"¢ This problem is confusing. (present participle)
"¢ I'm confused. (past participle).
However, the participial forms may appear in adverb phrases, like this:
"¢ While shopping at the mall, I ran into an old classmate.
"¢ After finishing our coffee, we lingered for a while at the table.
"¢ Driving through the countryside, we relaxed for the first time in years.
"¢ Driven by ambition, he quickly rose from congressman to senator.
"¢ Having spent a year abroad, Tom was ready to come home again.
Here is a definition of "participle" from The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy*:
"The verb form that combines with an auxiliary verb to indicate certain tenses.
The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the infinitive; it indicates present action: "The girl is swimming"; "I am thinking." (Compare gerund.)
The past participle usually ends in -ed; it indicates completed or past action: "The gas station has closed"; "The mayor had spoken."
Participles may also function as adjectives: "Your mother is a charming person"; "This is a talking parrot"; "Spoken words cannot be revoked."
A "dangling" participle is one that is not clearly connected to the word it modifies: "Standing at the corner, two children walked past me." A better version of this example would be, "While I was standing at the corner, two children walked past me."
*The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Edited by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2002