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.
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
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?
I 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.
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.
Books 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:
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!
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 →
From time immemorial the People Of The World have been beenLost 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 Countryand tried toBreak 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 →
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.”
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 →
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 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.
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 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 →
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.
We 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 →