How to fund the digital revolution that has taken place in all sectors of education over the last twenty years has been the pressing, constant question for many administrators. Quality technology costs as does its implementation and training. Even with Education Technology suppliers such as Popplet offering substantial discounts to institutions there exists huge financial disparities at a local and global level. Ensuring that learners are provided with equal learning opportunities seems like an impossible task – unless you’re Sheeba Ajmal that is.
“I firmly believe technology has the power to transform the lives of individuals.”
Sheeba founded the Pakistan based organization Technology For A Cause – Enhancing Skills Empowering Kids, which works with children in the most challenging economic conditions harnessing the power of the global nature of new technologies to level the playing field when it comes to equal opportunity learning. Her work first came to our attention when she shared some of her student’s Poppplet creations on Facebook. We got in touch with Sheeba to learn more about her work.
Traditionally, Christmas, the most well-known event in the Christian religious calendar, is all about giving. It’s the time of year when people pause and reflect on what they can do for others. Friends and family get together and exchange gifts and cards. We think of others all year round of course, but Christmas, like the festivals of other religions, is a special time.
Now, if you’ve read our first Popplet Christmas article, which was more about getting more than giving, you’ll appreciate this second set of Popplet Yuletide activities, where we focus on what is for many, the true spirit of Christmas, and how it can be of value inside and outside the classroom.
Do you believe in Santa Claus? You remember: a rotund distinguished gentleman with white hair and a big white beard who favors red suits with white fur trimmings? One of the world’s largest employer of elves, who is known to ride a sleigh driven by celebrity reindeer. He also goes by multiple pseudonyms: Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Papá Noel, or just plain old Santa for short. No? Best you take a close look at this Santa Claus popplet.
Jingle any bells? Well, if doubt has pushed tender childhood memories of Dear Old Father Christmas from your mind and you have forgotten him, he hasn’t forgotten you! Dear Old Father Christmas. So fear not! To participate in these traditional festive Popplet activities all you really need is Christmas Spirit, Good Cheer if you will, and presents – let’s not forget the presents, they’re important. You’ll also need Popplet. So let’s make that the first thing on our list shall we?
Get Popplet, It’s a Gift
Making a Christmas popplet is just like making any other type of popplet. First, you’ll need a Popplet web account, which you can easily get by signing up on the Popplet homepage. You will discover that Christmas has come early at Popplet and Santa has left you a gift of ten Popplet boards. Alternatively, download Popplet Lite or the Popplet app and create Christmas popplets using an iPhone or iPad. If you don’t have one of those, you could ask you know who!
Now, we know what you’re thinking: Does Santa even own a computer or a tablet? Does he use Popplet? Well, don’t worry about any of that stuff because even if you don’t have Santa’s email address you can print off your Popplet Christmas List when you’ve finished it, and mail it to Lapland in the traditional way.
Christmas is coming soon, that means Santa is getting ready, so let’s get started.
Brainstorming Christmas Present Ideas
Before we begin writing to Santa with our lists of presents, it’s best to give some thought to the whole matter: What is it that I really want for Christmas? Almost certainly your students have something special in mind. But even so, it never hurts to speak to classmates and share ideas. Teachers could begin a Christmas list activity by brainstorming Christmas present ideas. Have the students work in groups, alternatively project one big Christmas present popplet for all to see and prepare to be overwhelmed by expectation. Students could even all collaborate on the same Popplet. Be warned, this activity will generate much excitement!
Now, teachers don’t worry if you feel a little out of your depth at this point, you don’t need to know what any of these things actually are. The toy world is not what it was when you were writing to Santa. It’s now a complex maze of things understood only by children and those who work in marketing. Rest assured your students will understand it all perfectly well, and if they don’t immediately recognize their partner’s choices they’ll soon find out all there is to know. Trust your students! Talking seriously about toys in class, how cool is that? Very soon the whole class will be aware of what’s on offer and some may even begin revising or increasing the length of their lists before this part of the lesson is over.
A Letter to Father Christmas: A Letter Writing Activity
From what we’ve heard, Father Christmas, like most other distinguished gentlemen, is a lover of tradition and appreciates the protocols which govern written communication. As such, a lesson in formal/informal language and letter writing could make the difference between a gleeful, fulfilled 25th of December and one which is, well, not so gleeful. Best to err on the side of caution we say and demonstrate to students the ancient art of letter writing. There are a number of ways to do this, depending on the level of your class. Below is a popplet template you could use followed by some classroom ideas:
The teacher could supply examples of formal/informal language and ask students to choose which statements or phrases are more appropriate.
Or teachers might elicit the correct language from the class for a formal letter.
Popplet can also be used to show how a letter should be structured. Again the teacher can supply a structure (above), or ask students to create their own, then correct their work.
Another possibility is to turn the activity into a popplet puzzle by asking students to organize the different sections of a formal letter.
Be sure to have students include everything that they have done right this year, and why they deserve to have their wants fulfilled. Let’s avoid any negativity, Father Christmas already knows everything!
Creating Popplet Christmas Lists For Santa
Now we’re prepared for the main event: The Christmas List for Santa. Of course, students could just set to work with pen and paper, but even if that is how Santa is to receive the student’s lists, you can still use Popplet to help you out. Popplet can help you create cracking Christmas lists, guaranteed to grab Mr. Claus’s attention. Here’s how:
Create a Popplet with your name: “Petra’s Christmas List” in this example
Next, create a popple for each item on your list (most wanted things first of course). Using the text feature, enter exactly what it is that you want
Then, add an image of the present. This will help the elves locate your gift (after Santa’s approval of course). Santa’s helpers are pretty busy at this time of year and will be grateful for anything that reduces their workload. For this to work, you will need to have the image stored in your computer or camera roll beforehand
To add an image click on the square with the two triangles which will say upload things when you hover over it with the cursor:
Select the image that you want to add:
Now, if you really want to help out the elves, you can add a link to the list entry:
When that’s done, repeat this for every item on the list. You’ll end up with an astonishingly attractive, informative Christmas list sure to catch the eye of everyone in Lapland.
Finally, students might add a photo of themselves and use Popplet Linker to include the letter that they wrote in the previous activity.
What more could you ask for? What are you waiting for? The sooner Santa gets those lists, the happier the world will be!
If you have created any Christmas lists or done any Popplet Christmas activities in your classroom we would really love to see them. Share your ideas with the Popplet community on Twitter, and on our Facebook page.
A good education is not restricted to achieving competence in literacy, math, and science; there is another set of equally essential life skills related to health, happiness, and well-being that we need to learn and respect if we are to become shiny happy citizens of the world. Having a healthy body and a sound mind is about as good as it gets these days, and those who are fortunate enough to maintain both are surely some of the planet’s happiest people.
Like other good things, there’s a great deal of common sense involved in healthy living. Lessons about diet, exercise and taking care of body and mind, are as essential as learning to read and write. Popplet itself is no stranger to the doctor’s surgery: when Popplet was very young, it had no conception of how just how popular it would become. This caused some “health” problems such as overstretched servers, sign-in issues, and general stress. Now, we’re happy to report that Popplet is following doctor’s orders, and is in pretty good shape.
We are glad to report that the Popplet community is also healthy and doing well! We frequently see popplets about how to keep up health, happiness, and well-being, and what happens if you don’t. Popplet is used in schools, colleges and by and medical professionals all over the world. Here is a small sample of some of their work.
The Popplet social media message boards are positively crackling with numerical creativity at this time of year. School’s back and teachers and students alike are getting to grips with new projects, tasks, and technologies. Popplets about just about anything you can think of from pretty much everywhere are streaming hourly from the minds of popplet users onto our message boards providing valuable ideas and inspiration for others.
Math is a core subject, and even with a number of excellent dedicated math apps, Popplet finds its place in the math class. A versatile graphic organizer, that adds new dimensions to math work: visual, intuitive, and fun. Here are some of the ways math and technology educators are making Popplet count in the math classroom.
The Popplet community is worldwide, and a quick stroll through Public Popplets, an open forum where the Popplet community shares their work, will reveal impressive Popplet work in a multitude languages that come from all over the world. With Popplet’s global success came a few glitches, one of which was that non-Latin based text sometimes caused problems. So, we quickly added a feature to fix this.
Like all things Popplet, it isn’t complicated. The languages feature employs styles and fonts that correspond to whichever language is chosen, producing optimal results. Below, the Japanese text on the left was added using the language feature. Compare this to the exact same text on the right added in the (Latin-based text) default mode. There are some character and punctuation differences between the two, and the script added using the Japanese language option looks more elegant.
It is possible to import text in its original font style, however, there are occasional issues when adding some non-Latin based language scripts. If you do experience problems, try the popplet language feature.
Using the Popplet Language Feature
First, click on the blue cog menu directly below your popplet’s title, and a menu will appear.
Next, choose languages from the very bottom of the menu:
A new window will open offering you a choice of language inputs:
Choose the language you want to use, or that is closest to your languages text style.
For now, there are only four choices: none (Latin-based text), Japanese, Korean and Hebrew, where “none” is the default mode. If the default mode doesn’t return satisfactory results, and your input language isn’t one of those listed trying any of the others may improve the look of your text.
The language chosen determines the text style for the whole Popplet and it can be changed at any time. It isn’t possible to use different styles within different popples on the same popplet using the language feature, however, this is possible in the default mode. Text size and alignment can always be edited within individual popples.
Are you using this feature to add create Popplets in your language? If you are, we would really like to know what results you have been getting. Share your experience with us on Twitter, and our Facebook Page.
To browse Public Popplets, open a free Popplet account on the Popplet homepage, where you will receive ten complimentary Popplet boards to get you started.
With the exception of Chinese (Mandarin), English is the world’s most understood language. Unlike Chinese, approximately two-thirds of those who communicate regularly in English, are using it as a second language. The idea for Popplet was conceived somewhere around the New York area, so English seemed like the natural choice for the app and for our blog. However, the global reach of Popplet and the incredibly diverse nature of our user base has surpassed all expectations. What does it all mean?
Thousands of popplets are shared openly every week: in Public Popplets, Twitter, FacebookPinterest, and on personal and community blogs. Our support teams and technical staff also receive thousands of emails and messages: many of these Popplets and messages are in languages we know and understand, more than occasionally though, we are still surprised.
To give you some idea of worldly-wise our humble app has become, we thought we’d share a few international Popplet creations.
The last few weeks have seen a flurry of Popplet creativity as the beginning of the academic year in North and Central America, Europe, and a lot of other places gets into full swing. New teachers, maybe some new classmates, definitely a lot of new things to learn. For a large number of learners, Popplet is one of those new things!
Popplets on every subject from every place are appearing thick and fast on our Twitter feed and Facebook Page.We are seeing great work from experienced Popplet users and great work from Popplet newbies, both students, and teachers. Educators working with words in their classrooms are creating some pretty impressive Popplet activities at the moment so we thought we would feature the best of them. You can create a popplet about anything, but here we have:
Adjectives of Character
If you are looking for ways to use Popplet in your classroom, then take a moment and see what is possible.
For some educators, the digital technologies now standard in our classrooms are not new; they were a part of their primary or higher education. There are many others, however, who have benefitted from the rich experience of the transition to the digital paradigm; working through and shaping the changes that technologies such as Popplet have been making on teaching methods and on the development of learners. Monica Evon is one of those educators who embraced the change and is rewarded daily with the growth she sees in her students.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a fourth-grade teacher from Nebraska. I teach at Bellevue Elementary. My district is Bellevue Public Schools and I am part of Bellevue Public Schools iPadAcademy. This is my thirty-second year in the education profession. I have taught special education, first, second, third, and fourth grade and I was an elementary counselor for six years. I am passionate about my students, teaching, and learning! I love using technology to enhance learning opportunities. I am a 1:1 iPad classroom.
Growing up my dad was in the military, so we traveled the world. I attended five different elementary schools. My husband Steve and I have two grown boys. We love to travel and two of our passions are snorkeling and hiking in the mountains. My favorite quote:
“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” John Dewey
There is currently an issue with YouTube videos and Popplet: you can add them to, but they won’t play. This affects all YouTube videos added to popplets, past and present. The issue occurred after a recent API change by YouTube. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may be causing. We are laboring hard to resolve this matter and are confident of finding a solution soon. However, until we do, we have a couple of simple alternatives that will help when it comes to adding video to your Popplet work.
YouTube is by far the world’s most popular video platform. That’s why, back in the day, we chose it as Popplet’s integrated platform for the sourcing and addition of online videos. Soon after, there were a lot of requests from the Popplet community for Vimeo, so we added that too. We are grateful we listened to you because Popplet has an entirely adequate (some might say better) alternative to YouTube.
When everything is in working order, it’s possible to choose to add videos from either YouTube or Vimeo to Popplet: to learn more, check out this quick tutorial. But for now, it’s Vimeo only!
Simply search for the video you want by keyword, and when you find it, drag it as a full popple into the popplet you’re working on. Alternatively, add the video’s URL.
We searched for “popplet” in the above example and scrolled down to view the results. If you are going to do a search, be sure to select the Vimeo tab in the bottom left-hand corner.
One of the main differences between YouTube and Vimeo is the number of users. YouTube has a lot more, is much more widely used and as such has a greater selection of videos. Vimeo has fewer users but is good in other ways. Just like YouTube, Vimeo has a free plan for those who prefer to upload their own work. Unlike YouTube, Vimeo’s free plan is completely ad-free. Since most Popplet users upload clips that they themselves create, it’s definitely a viable alternative. And, maybe more importantly, right at this moment, it works!
A Simple Workaround For YouTube Users
While recommending Vimeo at this time, we appreciate that there are many reasons why YouTube is the undisputed king of online video sharing. So we understand that many will want to continue to use YouTube. Fortunately, there is a way to make it work with Popplet. It’s not as elegant as the Vimeo solution, but it will allow you to add links to YouTube videos in your popplets. Here’s how it’s done:
Begin by locating the YouTube video that you want to add to your popplet, and click share to reveal the video’s URL:
Next, return to your chosen YouTube video and take a suitable screenshot. We chose Harry Potter in our example, well, because it’s Harry Potter! But something that speaks to the subject of the video is best. Or, you could omit these two steps entirely and use only the link.
Finally, upload the screenshot to the popple that contains the URL.
Click on the go to link window in the bottom right-hand corner of your popple to open the video – try it now in the popplet above.