Popplet People: Craig Badura

“Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Teacher, Coach, Learner, Catalyst, Collaborator, Creator, Contributor, EdTecher, DIYer, Tinkerer, Golfer, Exerciser, Gardener”…. and if that weren’t enough, there’s a whole lot more to dynamic educator and Popplet aficionado Craig Badura.

We started to get to know Craig from his quality Twitter posts. However, when he commented one day that there was nothing that you couldn’t do with Popplet, we knew we had to speak to this man! Here’s what he had to say.

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

I am the K-12 Integration Specialist for Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, Nebraska. Prior to my current position, I taught Social Studies for eleven years. In addition to my duties as our Integration Specialist, I coach boys golf.

What do you love about your work?

I absolutely love working with kids. It’s a great job because I get to work with every grade level. I would have to say my favorite grade level would be Kindergartners. They are so curious and interested in school. One of the best things about teaching Kindergarten in regards to technology is the first day that I show them how the iPad can be used to CREATE on the iPad. They are so used to tapping an app and reacting to it, they’ve never created. Popplet is an awesome app to introduce Kinders to because there are so many creation possibilities with Popplet.

Can you talk about the impact of digital technology like Popplet on your work?

Too many apps change all the time, it’s hard to keep up. I have a handful of apps that I refer to as MacGyver apps. We all remember the TV Series MacGyver and how he could solve so many problems with the simplest items. Popplet is one of my MacGyver apps. You can do so many things with it, and it has stayed the same for the last 5-6 years. It’s simple, and I love that when it comes to using technology in the classroom. Teachers’ time is so valuable and apps like Popplet come in handy because it’s so easy to teach to their students. There’s not a lot of time wasted when it comes to integrating Popplet.

How do you use Popplet? In what situations; do you have a favorite use?

I use Popplet in so many ways. One of the ways we used it last week was in a 3rd-grade reading class. They had just gotten done reading a story about sibling rivalries, that ends up with one sibling being kind to the other. I hadn’t done much with illustrating in Popplet and wanted to give it a go, so we had students create a Popple for each sibling they had. Students then picked one sibling to tell a story about. I wanted them to add a Popple to that sibling’s Popple and write a quick story about a time that sibling was nice to them. When they were done with their writing, I had them illustrate their story in a Popple that was attached to their writing. When they were done with their story, they turned it into Seesaw.

What do your students like the most about Popplet?

How do they react when told they are going to use Popplet? They love that you can type, draw or add an image. Show them that you can change the color of a Popple and they go crazy. That tool is great for when it comes to classifying information or pictures! Students may get frustrated the first time they use Popple as it’s so easy to create a new Popple on the iPad, but once they get the hang of it they are good to go. It’s fun giving students an idea and letting them run with it. I have seen some pretty creative assignments turned in using Popplet.

Are there any other apps you like to use along with Popplet? (App smashing!) Or that you think compliment Popplet?

Seesaw goes so well with Popplet. We just teach students how to “save as jpeg” and the rest of the school year is easy when it comes to handing in creations done in Popplet. The camera app is awesome with Popplet as well. Adding images and labeling in Popplet is a favorite with students. If you want some higher grade level creations, have students create in Pic Collage or any other photo app, save to camera roll and insert into a Popple. The sky is the limit when it comes to app smashing with Popplet.

What are your student’s favorite EdTech classroom apps? What are yours?

We tend to focus on doing a few apps really well instead of having so many apps that you tend to forget about them. We like to use Seesaw, Apple Clips, Pic Collage, Book Creator, DoInk just to name a few.

Do you have any suggestions on how we might improve Popplet?

None!

Thanks Craig!

If you want to see more of Craig’s work with his students check out his website. Craig’s Twitter account is also packed with ideas and well worth following.

For more Popplet ideas take a look in Public Popplets – if haven’t done so already, you will have to sign up for a free Popplet account.  Not only do you get access to Public Popplets, but you also get ten Popplet boards for free.

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