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.
Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress found that despite the growing use of tablets in schools, they are not being harnessed to help students achieve learning goals in the most effective ways. Their review found that, for the most part, education technologies are being used to replicate basic drill tests rather than empowering students to develop new skillsets in knowledge management.
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