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 →
Halloween is rich in tradition and steeped in superstition; a genuinely sacred night for some, and a traditional night of warm family fun for many others. This is the one night a year when Scary Ghosts, Wicked Witches, Evil Spirits and all manner of Creepy Crawlies roam the Earth with impunity – so watch out, stay home, be safe! Should anyone (or anything!) knock on your door, be nice! Because we all know what happens to people who aren’t nice on Halloween, don’t we?
Dressing up, trick or treating, going to parties and having fun are just some of the things us mere mortals do to entertain themselves when evil is loose. For a great many others, Halloween also means making stuff: costumes, masks, lanterns and decoration, and yes, Popplets! We took a look at how Popplet people were busying themselves by getting into the spirit of Halloween, but be warned, what we found is not for the faint hearted. Continue reading →
There is definitely something cellular in nature about the humble popple – the irreducible building block of all the Popplets ever created. Cellular not only in shape, a single popple also mirrors its organic counterpart in that it contains the vital information necessary – text, images, video – for the formation of things far greater than the sum of their parts – Popplets!
In our article published last month Mind Mapping to Minds Meeting: Popplet in Autism Education, we talked about how new technologies were fast becoming powerful and invaluable tools in autism education. Young learners on the autism spectrum experience fewer difficulties when presented with new technology and have different needs to conventional learners. So certain technologies such as the iPad and apps like Popplet play to the strengths of autistic learners.
These technologies are not without their drawbacks: mainly the repetitive and inappropriate use of games and some social media apps. But that’s a problem not only found in the classroom! This is why people with autism, parents of individuals on the autism spectrum and educators involved in autism education use reliable “evidence-informed” information when choosing which technologies to use.
One organization that provides information for parents and educators is Autism Spectrum Australia (“Aspect”) – “Australia’s leading service provider for autism and other disabilities”. Two of their community leaders recently published a detailed guide demonstrating how the game “Minecraft is being used to address the special interests of those in the autism classroom”.
Like any other subject, math has its gifted students who thrive on any problem their teacher sets, but in the main, kids find math difficult – so much so, they often start to question it’s usefulness quite early in their academic careers. This can also carry over into the teacher’s experience, with math being one of the subjects causing the greatest anxiety for teachers planning lessons and seeking to engage classrooms in math challenges.
As digital technology is introduced into more schools, apps like Popplet are reinvigorating the math classroom from an early age, so that it is not quite the dreaded place it once was for many.
For many in the northern hemisphere, it’s Back To School week! September marks the start of a new school year in North America, the UK and throughout Europe. And this school year, more than ever, tablets and bring-your-own-devices are becoming the norm, meaning there are many students using iPads in the classroom, and teachers working to make educational technologies useful as an aide to learning and skills development.
For example, we increasingly live in an era of big data and instant access to all the world’s accumulated knowledge. As a result, being a subject matter expert is becoming less a sign of educational achievement than the ability to navigate knowledge systems and to acquire a skillset that makes use of all the information that is on offer. At Popplet, we believe this trajectory will continue and hope that students and teachers can use our visual thinking and ideas mapping app as a way to build core competencies in how to manage information, collaborate with others, comprehend complex concepts, and uncover new connections between seemingly disparate ideas. 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 →
We are always excited by the myriad of ways that people use Popplet. For hobbies and personal interests, for education and classroom learning and for creative projects and business, Popplet is the go-to app for brainstorming, organizing ideas, outlining concepts and thinking visually.
This is great for “thinking out loud” on projects that require you to show videos, collect images, organize weblinks, and connect ideas. But sometimes, we want to use a Popplet as a complete project resource, which means getting text heavy.
For example, Adam Iscrupe talks about how he uses Popplet for creating a sitemap. What if he wants to add to his Popplet with the text for each webpage in his site structure?
Or if a classroom activity wants to include a downloadable worksheet?
Or if your Popplet is a collection of all your research notes on a particular subject?
For anything longer than a paragraph or two, including text in a popple begins to look cumbersome and destroys some of Popplet’s ability to help you get a global view of all the connections between various concepts in your overall idea.
Our Twitter follower @Raff31 recently had this same problem and asked:
Are Word documents uploadable to Popplet?
Here are two solutions if you want to include larger text documents in your Popplet. Continue reading →
Learn how to increase blog traffic with nothing more than a calendar and Popplet!
Recently, we have been looking at ways to generate website traffic using Popplet. We started by looking at how creative professionals are getting website traffic using Popplet and Twitter hashtags, and have discussed how to leverage current trends to create timely Popplets that spark reader curiosity.
But both of these techniques need you to be able to tune into the zeitgeist at the right time to add value to what people are already interested in. That can be hard work if you have been so immersed in your own creative process you haven’t really had time to see what people are talking about this week.
As a creative professional with a dynamic website aimed at attracting new visitors regularly, you have probably started to create a content calendar to help you map out your future blog posts. Here’s how to increase blog traffic by factoring in seasonal trends into your content plan.
Dates like Halloween and Thanksgiving happen every year, and are increasingly talked about in the weeks beforehand. In the graph below, you can see that Google searches for these holiday terms remains dormant for most of the year and kicks into high frequency as the date approaches:
Build your seasonal trend Popplet so it has a relevance to your business as well as to the holiday. For example, a chef or catering company could share a recipe or two and this year’s menu options for Thanskgiving on a popplet. A design company might share home made decoration tips or a swatch board for creating your own holiday posters.
When you have completed your popplet, embed it into your blog post so you are offering readers an interactive experience at your site. Don’t forget to tweet the link to your popplet regularly using the holiday term as a hashtag (such as #thanksgiving) and to post your popplet creations to other social media sites where you think readers will appreciate your work.
Schools could use this technique to create a relevant class activity based on the holiday date. Popplet user Mr Fornadel, for example, used Popplet in his math class. Students created a dinner menu and then used their skills in calculating fractions to determine how much it would cost for each person to attend the celebrations. General studies or foreign language classes could use the holiday season to discuss how these dates are celebrated in other cultures.
It’s not too late to share your Thanksgiving popplets with us. Post a link to our Facebook page or tweet us the details. Here’s ours:
We will be continuing this series on how to increase blog traffic with Popplet in 2013. In the meantime, we would love to know which methods you have used and what is working for you. Share your results with us on our Facebook page.