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

It’s Elementary: Popplet Amongst The Primary School Apps

This month in our Popplet People profile, we speak about Popplet’s use as one of the best primary school apps (aka elementary school apps) with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Education Expert, Ian Addison.

Primary School Apps Expert Ian Addison

Follow Primary School Apps Expert Ian Addison on Twitter @ianaddison

Ian’s ICT experience includes:

  • ICT Coordinator at St John the Baptist Primary School in Hampshire, England for two years
  • Involvement in developing ICT curriculum for the past 4 years, and
  • Recognition as a Google Apps for Education Certified Teacher.

In May this year, he was nominated by the UK Education Blog Awards for Teacher Blog of the Year, and in July, his book Essentials: ICT was published.

Ian was one of our many education users who contributed to answered our survey, focusing on his primary school apps experiences using Popplet. He was excited to see us introduce a group subscription offer for schools and classrooms, as his grade 5 and 6 students love using our app in classroom activities and as a study aid.

We interviewed Ian about how he uses Popplet as one of his primary school apps teaching tools, and the ICT needs of elementary school-level teachers around the world.

Q: You have created websites including ICT Planning and Under Ten Minutes. What skills are teachers looking for in using apps in the classroom?

I think it is quick and easy ways to get started. Nothing fancy, just basic tools that they can learn in 5 minutes and then give to a class of children to explore and experiment with.

Q: Can you tell us a little about what your book, Essentials ICT, is about and who it is for?
The book is about ways of embedding ICT and computers into classrooms and the chapter Popplet featured in was around the use of presentations. often children are asked to make a presentation but it always tends to be PowerPoint. I love PowerPoint, but I also love Prezi and Popplet too. So it was a guide to using it with some examples.

Q: We recently featured one of your students’ Popplet projects on our Facebook page. Can you describe the classroom activity for us?

Subject: Science
Learning goals: To research information about space and present it to the class.
Class size: 32
Class ages/grades: 9-11 year olds (year 5/6 )
Classroom activity description: As part of their space projects, they could look at any tool they wished and present to the class. Some used Google Sites, some used Popplet and some used paper. All were welcome 🙂

Thanks to Ian for sharing some insights on using Popplet as one of his primary school apps. As an educator, you can use our Facebook page to share your lesson plans and ideas with colleagues, or tweet your elementary school apps experiences using the hashtag #poppleted

Creating A Sitemap Using Popplet

For this month’s Popplet People, we interviewed website design professional Adam Iscrupe about creating a sitemap using Popplet.

Adam lives and breathes website design through 3 complementary roles:

  • He works at Hats Off Creative where he designs custom websites and print materials as part of a team of design professionals
  • He volunteers on the Board of Directors for AIGA Charlotte, where he coordinates a monthly breakfast meetup to inspire the next generation of design creatives entering the industry, and
  • He writes and edits for the forthcoming design blog Pixels & Picas, sharing his love of typeface design and website inspiration.

Adam has been using Popplet with his design team during website creation projects with clients looking for a new approach to their brand. We asked him about why he used Popplet for creating a sitemap and what features were useful for this type of design project.

Sitemaps present all the webpages – and links between pages – of a website in the one place. “A designer is a visual person, and in order to interpret the mechanics/hierarchy of a website, a visual presentation of how the website will look helps me tremendously,” explains Adam. “What I mean by that is a sitemap helps organize mass amounts of page content for a website in a clean, simple interface for a clear understanding. Without a sitemap, confusion without a doubt will set in.”

creating a sitemap

A sitemap example from a forthcoming project by Adam Iscrupe’s design team

Q: Why use Popplet for creating a sitemap?
Popplet is one of the most friendly user interfaces I have come across in terms of online apps for building sitemaps. The design of it may look simple, but it is beautiful how each popplet can be easily resized, moved, or linked to another. Popplets can be color coordinated to correspond with other popplets if the user wishes (perfect for distinguishing navigation, an optional secondary navigation, and internal pages or external links), and my favorite aspect of the design is that each popplet snaps to a grid when moving them around. For me, it is also a huge plus that Popplet has developed an iPad app since the website is flash. This is another feature I don’t see a lot in other sitemap apps.

Q: How does the rest of your team find using Popplet for web design projects?
Our team uses Popplet as an internal tool in order to collaborate on developing a website. One of our team members is always travelling so he has the Popplet iPad app, which is a great tool for him to continue to update a sitemap remotely in real time. Since we are typically working on one sitemap as a team, Popplet has developed a great feature that labels each popplet that a team member has created, which makes it very easy to distinguish who has created what and has the ablility to leave comments for one another.

Thanks to Adam for sharing his insights into using Popplet for creating a sitemap. You can keep up with Adam’s work at his website, follow him on twitter, or keep your eye out for Pixels & Picas when his team launches the site in September with more design related articles.

Have you used Popplet for creating a sitemap for your web design projects? Share your sitemaps and website examples with us on our Facebook page or tweet us your links!.

Fan Poll with Popplet for Authentic Audience Participation!

An interview with Abi Robins, musician and indie music label producer at Morning Bird Records

For most of this year, indie musician Abi Robins has been using Popplet as a fan poll to encourage audience participation around the development of her next album. In our first Popplet People Profile, we interviewed her about how she uses Popplet…

audience participation interview with abi robins

Abi Robins: Photo Courtesy of Corey Woodruff Music Photography www.coreywoodruff.com

Musician Abi Robins has been producing and sharing her original music since 2006 and has been cultivating fellow artists through her indie music label Morning Bird Records for the past four and a half years. She has been described as “electrifying on stage with an immediacy that stops listeners in their tracks”, while her label is “community oriented with DIY sensibilities, but deeply grounded in self-reliance.”

For anyone who has heard her music, it should come as no surprise that Abi uses Popplet as part of her creative process. Her music blends folk, rock and jazz sensibilities to create a wholly original sound in the same way that Popplet allows users to make the types of connections between disparate ideas that lead to new insights and perspectives.

This year, Abi has been using Popplet to encourage audience participation feedback around the development of her new album – a technique in the music industry known as fan polling. With a collection of tracks from the summer of 2010 onwards and still more in development, Abi had a hard time deciding which ones should make it onto her new album. She created a popplet with all the possible songs that could go on the album and asked her fans and followers which ones should be included, and in what order. We talked with Abi about how Popplet helped her consult with her fan base during the record production process.

Q: Why use Popplet for this type of audience participation?
I love using mind map stuff for my creative process and when I saw you could share popplets with others I thought it was an awesome way to share my ideas with my fans.

Q: How did you create the fan poll popplet?
A: I made it a point to make videos for all the songs, some were recordings with my band from shows and some were drafts I made on my iPhone: nothing too fancy, just rough outlines of the tracks I was working on. This album has been the longest in the works: if I get it out in September it will have taken two and a half years, and with so many songs, it was hard for me to be objective about which tracks fit together and which ones my fans would like best. I shared the Popplet with all the possible songs on my social networks and started to get quite a bit of feedback through audience participation.

Q: What was the reaction amongst your fans and followers?
A: A lot of people thought the idea of using Popplet as a fan poll technique was really cool. It got a lot of comments, people thought it was a really neat idea. As an indie musician, fan polling is a really good way to keep in touch with the fan base and keep them active and involved in the music.

Q: How have you used the feedback in the album production process?
A: I’m really thankful for the feedback and now have a great idea of how to fit the songs into the record. As an artist, I tend to like the newest songs I am working on the most, whereas from the feedback, a few of the older songs were really well liked. A few songs in particular were surprises: songs that I wanted to throw away now I think ‘I should work on this’. One song in particular, “Silver”, by the time I got into the recording studio, it didn’t have the ‘oomph’ it needed and I was ready to set it aside but the feedback from fans was ‘no, it really has to be on there’. That song will be included particularly because of the feedback from popplet!

Above: In addition to the fan poll, Abi Robins created this popplet to describe the process she used to create handmade CD cases for her forthcoming release.

To learn more about Abi Robins’ music, you can visit her youtube channel, her bandcamp, or her Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow Abi on Twitter! We invite all Popplet users to check out Morning Bird Records for more about Abi and her indie music label stablemates. Thanks to Abi and Morning Bird Records for sharing the process of using Popplet as a fan poll technique for audience participation.