In the age of digital, one might be tempted to diminish or even forget the importance of the written word in education. Fortunately for our learners, their teachers most certainly have not and literacy skills, along with other valued core skills, continue to occupy their rightful place in the curriculum despite and because of the growth of the digital classroom.
Literacy isn’t just restricted to the study of books. However, analyzing a piece of quality text or even a well-known story can reveal much about what’s great and progressive about reading and writing, and also provide endless opportunities for more in-depth study and learning, for example:
Story building – how a narrative is constructed and how this impacts on the reader.
Themes – the exploration of a book’s main elements.
Character analysis – who are the main characters, what shapes them, why do they do what they do?
Cause and effect – who or what makes things happen. Events are connected.
Quotes and other memorable pieces of writing – why do they affect the reader so, why are they memorable?
Significant events – what are those happenings that determine the outcome of a story or the fate of a character? What matters?
Language study – focusing on grammar, parts of speech (adjectives, adverbs, nouns…), technique.
Identification – gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves and others from the people, places, and events described in a story.
Popplet is present in many classrooms. Fortunately for us, teachers and learners often publish impressive examples of their Popplet work. Popplet’s easy-to-use and powerful features make it a very useful addition to any lesson, especially in the literacy classroom, as you will see.
Picture the scene: the ardent lead detective questions his team – anxiously huddled close by – about any new information in the hunt for the criminals. He pushes, he prods, he orders, he pleads with his fellows to think hard; time is running out. Now cast your eyes to the wall behind the lead detective, what are the detectives staring at?
Images of suspects or “persons of interest”, significant events in date order, addresses, car registrations, any and every piece of information that will help the detectives crack the case. This is the timeline, an interactive representation of the facts, and from it, if they look hard enough, they may just glean enough information to catch the bad guys and save the day. Of course, this is what we see in films and on TV, but it’s obvious enough that timelines such as these are used by real-life detectives. They could just make lists on A4 paper and discuss their findings this way, but that’s not what they do – why not? Elementary: a visual representation of facts like a Popplet, for example, sets neurons firing and makes for a highly effective investigative tool.
It’s not only law enforcement who benefit from using timelines. Timelines are a useful and even essential tool in many different types of situation:
Studying events – any event can be broken down and its parts placed in the order they happened.
History – any historical event or fact can be visualized on a timeline
Biography – leader, writer, artist…
Projects – from going on holiday to setting up a new company
Autobiography – all about you and the milestones of your life
Process – any process that benefits from the recording of significant events
Books, stories, films – explain and understand what’s going on
Writers use Popplet to create timelines for their work
We don’t just find Popplets lying around on the floor you know! However, due to the absolute deluge of Popplet creativity out there online, popplets are pretty much digitally ubiquitous – just not on the floor!
If you have never seen a Popplet (unlikely) there’s one above. If you are in need of inspiration or if you are searching for ideas then there are plenty of places you can search.
Don’t be scared! The advance of robotics is not turning out to be the Terminator-like experience of the movies: Schools still exist and they are not teaching our kids how to protect themselves from the Arnold Schwarzenegger type androids prophesied in The Rise of the Machines. The dystopian nightmare scenario is not how things are playing out at all. In fact, the future is looking pretty good for humankind’s collaboration with Artificial Intelligence. In saying that, it would be foolish to entirely ignore the cautionary tales contained in Isaac Asimov’s: I, Robot. Why we see so many Popplets about Online Safety, maybe.
We know all about our bright digital future because of the increasing number of popplets that we see featuring Automation, Robots, Artificial Intelligence, and society’s ever-widening use of new technologies. This is the future – no doubt!
So, are you ready for the future as glimpsed on Popplet? – Engage!
Educators and learners can achieve a lot using a mind mapping tool like Popplet. Popplet’s easy-to-use interface and its powerful features allow Popplet users to immediately capture their thoughts in several different ways. They can then organize and share this information using Popplet’s powerful editing and collaborating tools.
Having so many features, an indefinable age group for its user base, and as well as being useful for practically any task means Popplet is definitely considered one of the app world’s true all-rounders, making a name for itself outside of education, in business, as well as for personal use. In spite of this Popplet is still a favorite when it comes to App Smashing activities. Isn’t this what every job requires: A committed team player with the ability to work on their own initiative? That’s Popplet.
Here are some examples of Popplet’s favorite App Smashing partners and some of their activities.
Number Pieces has a web and iOS version and is totally compatible with Popplet. “Number pieces help students develop a deeper understanding of place value while building their computation skills with multi-digit numbers.” As well as place value and simple computational tasks – adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing – early-years students use Number Pieces Basic to represent smaller numbers, and then store their creations in Popplet.
A Popplet App Smashing article would just not be complete if we didn’t mention the iPad cameras and their functions. All you need to do is snap an image and it’s immediately available to add to any popplet by pressing export then save JPEG.
If you want to add your image to a popplet right away press
On the popple’s toolbar and you’ll be given to option to snap a photo and have it added straight into the popple:
You don’t have to add your images to Popplet right away. You can snap as many as you like and make an informed choice later just like Sara Shafran’s first-graders did on their “learning how to observe nature” activity:
Apple’s document creation app is another favorite of Popplet users and is often to be found in writing activities. Popplet is usually employed in the planning of writing tasks. The “writing plan popplet”, which can contain images for meditation and inspiration, is inserted into a Pages document as an image and the budding scribes use it as a reference. It’s not only about images, quite often students fully plan their writing projects using Popplet, whatever medium they use. The group below did all their planning digitally but chose to write the traditional way.
Apple’s flagship presentation tool, Keynote, is as likely to be found in the classroom as the conference room, a bit like Popplet. When developing the skills of future digital citizens, it’s better that they gain experience with apps of this caliber. Year 6 at Howard Junior School have been doing just that! In this example, the students began with the fictional book, Holes, by Louis Sachar. Then they went out and done some digging of their own, created popplets from their results, and finally created non-fictional reports using Keynote. Phew! Well done guys.
A single popplet can only hold one image. The regular solution is simple: create another popple! However, that’s not always how it goes because some learners want more than one image per popple, and if they use tools like PicCollage, they can have this. Like all of the apps featured here, PicCollage is a superb app in its own right and well worth a look, even if you’re not planning to use Popplet with it.
Flipgrid is an amazing app that encourages discussion between teachers, learners, and even parents. Users respond to each other by adding short videos to which they can add presentations. Flipgrid users use Popplet as well as many other apps in their video presentations. More often than not, questions are set by the teacher and students respond. But peer to peer interaction is what really makes Flipgrid special. We love it, take a look for yourself.
Not an app as such, but there are apps out there with this feature. Mostly they employ the microphone button on the keyboard of any iOS device – that’s correct, students don’t even have to write any more to add text to Popplet! Of course, we are not discouraging writing development, but sometimes, when one is dictating directly, or the opposite – in a stream of consciousness mode, using a text convertor is frequently more productive.
We are sorry to all of those apps that learners happily App Smash with Popplet that we haven’t mentioned – there are a lot more but we only have a thousand words! If you want to see more App Smashing or more Popplet ideas join the Popplet community on Twitter and don’t forget take a look at our Facebook page. If you like what you see, you know what to do.
Are you back to school or college yet? Maybe you never went away – depends where you are in the world. Anyway, if you are returning from a well-earned break, it’s now time to shake off the summer holiday routine and get back into the school work rhythm. A painful process for some, but you’ll be raring to go in no time and Popplet might just be able to help.
Learners often find themselves with new classmates at this time of year: going to a new school, moving onto college from school, beginning to study new subjects… and this is a good thing. Differing relationships is important as we grow and learn from each other. However, making friends with your new learning buddies can take time, so for teachers, it’s a good idea to have a few “icebreakers” on hand at the start of the academic year. Here are a few simple Popplet activities that will help new classmates get to know each other quickly.
Getting to Know You: The Self Popplet
Popplet lets students add information to create informative and imaginative visuals. A good activity to begin the new school term, when not everyone in a class or group may know each other, is to have students create popplets about themselves and compare them in a mingle activity with their classmates. Have a look at this Popplet from 5th-grader Heather:
Many students use digital devices that contain tools to enhance their learning, a bit like the traditional pencil case that most students still carry. Limited space means only vital tools can fit in the pencil case. Same should go for digital equivalents: tablets, smartphones, Chromebooks… but that’s not the norm. There are currently so many learning apps available that devices often become cluttered in a way that the traditional pencil case can’t. So, to get the most out of your digital pencil case, you need to choose your tools wisely.
There are a lot of solid, useful educational apps out there and choosing what’s best can be a perplexing decision. From what and our users tell us Popplet is a valuable addition to any digital pencil case and well worth having. If you’re new to Popplet or even a bit of a digital novice then there’s no better place to start. Here’s why.
Do you know that anyone who signs up for a Popplet web account gets ten Popplet boards absolutely free? No strings attached, no publicity (we never do that). Ten free popplets to do with as you please – that’s the deal.
If you aren’t sure why you might want ten free popplets, enter “popplet” or “popplet….” followed by any topic you can think of into a search engine then click on images for a random samples of amazing Popplet creativity such as this:
Let’s take a quick look at what Popplet users have been sharing. Multiple languages, the global nature of Popple, and the sheer scope of the subject matter meant we had no problem at all in bringing together ten of the best Popplet ideas.
A great many popplets are created and shared every single day. A quick look at Popplet’s very own open forum Public Popplets will reveal that hundreds of Popplet users choose to share their work publicly.
Public Popplets is the place to go when you are looking for ideas or inspiration. It is an excellent resource for educators. A place where the work their fellows and their students can be found. But Popplet isn’t just for education: a few minutes browsing in Public Popplets will reveal the enormous scope and variety of Popplet’s uses and users. Popplet work from all over the globe, in many languages, covering every subject imaginable.