Popplet People: Paul Baez, Educator

From the back of the classroom to the frontline of education management, passionate educator and school principal Paul Baez talks about his work journey, Education Technology and Popplet.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I have been in education since 1995 and I have learned so much from every experience I have had, being a fourth grade classroom teacher, Assistant Principal, and now Principal. I feel fortunate to have worked in three different Houston area school districts and five different schools. Each experience has pushed me to the next level of leadership and has reinforced my belief that I chose the right career path.

What do you love about your work?

Paul Baez HeadshotI love my role of leading a school of educators at Rees Elementary School, ensuring that we provide a great learning experience for every student. It is a responsibility that I fully embrace. As much as I enjoyed being a fourth grade classroom teacher, I knew twenty years ago that I wanted to have an even greater impact on students and here I am now. Growing up I was that kid in the back of the room that kept quiet and never said anything. Now I can’t stop talking about technology in education. Makes me chuckle to think how much I’ve changed over the years.

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Popplet People: Keith Goddard, Books Matter

Reading and academic success are closely linked – just ask anyone who has been to school! There is now strong evidence to suggest that readers – those who have developed the habit of reading regularly for pleasure as well as academic or professional purposes – also enjoy more success in their professional lives and in their relationships. Reading makes your life better. This chance of a better life through reading should be open to everyone.  Keith Goddard knows this, that’s one of the reasons he co-founded the charity Books Matter.

Keith GoddardBooks Matter is a Toronto-based charity that collects quality books, and then ships them to schools in Ghana, West Africa, where books are desperately needed. In their own words:

  • Literacy changes lives
  • Books are essential
  • Literacy is a basic right.

Keith recently posted a Books Matter Popplet on our Twitter page, and we were so impressed we wanted to know more. Continue reading

Popplet People: Claire Brown, Kindergarten Teacher

When I tell you that our featured Popplet Person is a Kindergarten teacher, you might be forgiven for rightly jumping to some easy conclusions: a dedicated, devoted, hardworking and supremely motivated individual…and of course busy, so very busy! So busy and hardworking are kindergarten teachers like Claire Brown, that when they choose apps like Popplet for their students to use in the classroom, then those apps have to work as hard as they do!

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Claire came to our attention through sharing her student’s Popplet work on Twitter and her very cool blog, where she regularly posts her student’s classroom activities. Both are fine examples of what can be achieved by embracing technology in the classroom.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am in my tenth year of teaching an I’m originally from Lafayette, IN., where I went to Mayflower Mill as an elementary student, and that is where I started my teaching career and where I work now, graduating along the way from Purdue University with a degree in Elementary Education with a Reading Specialist focus. I love going on vacations anywhere there is a beach and the ocean. Continue reading

People Who Love Music Love Popplet

From time immemorial the People Of The World have been been Lost In Music. Be it the primal powerful drumming of our ancestors or the sophisticated orchestral opus, music has the power to cross every cultural, linguistic and geographical divide.  

Considering the immeasurable impact music has on our lives, a closer inspection of Popplet’s special relationship with music lovers everywhere was long overdue. So we went On The Road Again, travelled Up The Country and tried to Break on Through… and we had a great time doing it!…but what did we learn? Well, what we discovered is that Everyday People who love music, love using Popplet. Here are some of your Greatest Hits. Continue reading

Popplet People: Popplet Behind the Scenes at SXSW!

At its core, Popplet is an app all about interactions. Our web-based and iPad/iPhone apps help you interact with ideas and concepts, interact with content (videos, images, text and links), and to interact with work colleagues, clients, fellow students and team mates via our collaboration and share features.

So it is little wonder that our app has caught the eye of the premiere interaction festival, South by Southwest (SXSW). SXSW is an annual festival held in Austin, Texas each year to celebrate and showcase current trends in creativity, innovation and inspiration.

Covering SXSW in 2014 for Forbes, business journalist Lawton Ursrey wrote:

“Not only is it one of the greatest annual gatherings of leading thinkers in digital, music, and film, it’s a concentrated learning experience at all levels. With so many intriguing individuals and genius ideas, I wanted to cram in as much as I could. Each second of my day was booked with sessions on a wide variety of topics.”

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One of the key leaders who helps make this happen each year is Hugh Forrest. Hugh is Director of the SXSW Interactive Festival component, which in 2015 will be held from March 13 to March 17. SXSW Interactive has become a key event for many industries curious to see what is on the horizon and what ideas and technologies are beginning to shape our world. Continue reading

Business Techniques for Using Popplet: Heroik Media, Part 2

How do businesses make the most of using Popplet? In the second part of our Popplet People Profile, we talk with Nicholas McGill from business consultancy Heroik Media about how his team uses Popplet to collaborate, innovate, and inspire.

Nicholas McGill

In the first part of our latest Popplet People Profile, we learnt about how Nicholas and his team use Popplet to encourage businesses to create the organizational changes necessary to power new growth and opportunity.

Nicholas told us that one of the benefits of using Popplet with business clients is that it is easy-to-use and immediately allows business clients to start working on the real organizational challenges in a welcoming and intuitive interface.

More complex business tools can slow down initial discussions as participants first need to understand how to use the software before they can start collaborating to build a new organizational mission. Nicholas told us that by using Popplet, he is able to start recording group discussions and mapping ideas immediately. The colorful straight-forward design creates immediate buy-in and the simplicity of the tools mean that teams can start using tech to collaborate straight away, and can graduate on to more sophisticated business tools in future.

While Popplet has maintained a minimal aesthetic as part of our focus on effective, easy-to-use design, there are also a lot of features that can be leveraged by savvy power users.

In the second part of our interview, Nicholas shares some of the techniques that he uses with Popplet in his business.

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Overcome the Fear of Change to Help Business Growth: Heroik Media

Popplet is a much-loved app amongst startup entrepreneurs, web designers, creative professionals and new technologists who need access to collaborative tools (online and on their iPads) that reflect how they think visually.

But what about more established and traditional businesses who are having difficulties incorporating new ways of thinking and new collaboration techniques into the ways they work? Can they benefit from using Popplet in their organizations?

Collaboration tools are being considered more and more essential in the business context. Research by the McKinsey Global Institute found that social collaboration tools are becoming essential for businesses that want to increase productivity and drive a new wave of innovation.

These businesses are looking for ways to encourage diverse teams to work together in realtime (across remote locations), and want to use online and iPad apps that can help ignite a sense of creativity amongst the project team. Businesses want tools that can be used across project planning, implementation, monitoring and review.

NIcholas McGillNicholas McGill is the Creative Director and Founder of Heroik Media, a business and innovation consulting firm. He leads a team of seven global thought leaders who work across a range of industries to help businesses communicate with their audiences and build their brands.

Nicholas and his team often work with established businesses who may have begun to stagnate or have gotten used to their current ways of doing things. …And they are using Popplet to create the transformational change that is helping these businesses succeed. Continue reading

Popplet in the Classroom and Setting Up a Global Online Community: An Interview with Kinderchat Co-Founder Heidi Echternacht

It still surprises us that Popplet has as much of an eager following amongst kindergarten students as it does amongst creative professionals and business users! It really shouldn’t be such a shock to us:

  • The ease with which you can start thinking visually with Popplet
  • The ability to add your own text and images as you go
  • The way you can incorporate links and content from around the web, and
  • The collaborative features that make it so easy to work with others and share your ideas…

So, on reflection, the uptake of Popplet amongst kinder teachers and their classes makes sense. Last school year, the use of Popplet in kindergarten classes jumped dramatically, as those involved with the kinderchat peer network began to share lesson plans and classroom activity guides on using Popplet.

Kinderchat is a global network, with 17 international moderators who work together in teams to select topics and guide weekly discussions. It is already one of the most popular edu chats on Twitter (try searching for the hashtag #kinderchat), and is listed as 5th most ”liked” online community overall according to the US Dept of Education Connected Educators Directory.

heidi echternachtWe spoke with Heidi Echternacht, Co-Founder of Kinderchat about how the online community has grown and how Popplet is being used in kinder classrooms around the world. (For those not involved in education or are involved at other age range or education modalities, we hope the story of Kinderchat provides some great insights into how to grow any online community.) Continue reading

Gamification, Meetup Note-Taking and Why Toronto is Fertile Start-Up Territory: An Interview with Mark Reale

Mark Reale is the Community and Culture Partner at Canadian tech company BNOTIONS, and has been using Popplet to organize his ideas, map brainstorming activities, and present at conferences since 2010.

Mark Reale

Mark Reale

BNOTIONS is at the center of the Toronto start-up scene, releasing an ongoing schedule of mobile and app products. Despite the hectic nature of being part of a business that is on Branham’s Top 300 list of best performing companies in Canada, and with an ever-growing catalog of mobile apps in development, Mark still helps host the weekly Lean Coffee entrepreneurs’ meetup, and manages the company’s not-for-profit initiative the YMC.

“We were 4 guys for a really long time, and now we’re around 60”, he says, explaining why BNOTIONS was ranked Number 5 on Branham’s Top 10 growth companies for 2012.

Mark recently shared a Popplet from the latest Lean Coffee meetup (see below). We asked him what Lean Coffee is all about, why the Toronto tech scene is getting some buzz, and where Popplet fits in to his creative, working life. Continue reading

Mom Bloggers Use Popplet! Maria Talks Language Games With Kids

Mom bloggers using Popplet get double the opportunities to use our visual thinking and idea management app. At home, Popplet can be used by families as part of language games with kids, while at the home office desk, Popplet can help organize blog ideas and manage content plans.

Danish mom bloggers Maria Grundtvig

Maria Grundtvig

Maria Grundtvig is one of our many international Popplet users. Her blog “My cousin Maria” – in Danish, Min Kusine Maria – shares her skills and knowledge as both a mom and as a trained speech and language pathologist.

For mom bloggers around the world just starting out, Maria shares her experiences in our Popplet People interview. She talks about using Popplet in language games with kids, organizing her blog ideas with Popplet and building an international blog audience. Continue reading