Learning to Read: Popplet in the Reading Classroom

Learning to read is not something that everyone fully remembers. For those who do recall, memories range from the forgettably nondescript, to the gloriously inspirational to the harrowingly painful. However memorable our early reading days are, one thing is certain: those early lessons in deciphering meaning from symbols are the beginning of one of life’s most impactful experiences, and for many represent the beginning of a lifelong activity, the nature of which exerts a strong influence on their future.

“Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning. It is fully essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives. For individuals, families, and societies alike, it is an instrument of empowerment to improve one’s health, one’s income, and one’s relationship with the world.”  UNESCO

Unlike some other essential skills such as speaking, walking and eating, there is no evidence that human beings possess any innate reading ability whatsoever, which means we have to start from scratch, firmly placing the littlest of feet at the base of the steepest of learning curves. How to begin such a formidable task? Well, according to the experts, the process begins before children ever set foot in the classroom. Continue reading

Public Popplet of the Month: September 2015

September brings our second instalment of our popular new series Public Popplet of the Month. Every week, we raid the valuable resource that is Public Popplets, selecting the most exciting examples of your Popplet work – which can also be viewed on Twitter.  At the end of every month, we draw your best work together in one easy to read article, so Popplet users everywhere (ourselves included!) can be interested, impressed, and inspired by what fellow Popplet users all over the world are creating. 

Public Popplets is home to a vast and incredibly useful library of Popplet work. Popplets on every subject imaginable, in multiple languages and of all degrees of simplicity can be found there. As a source of inspiration, admiration and ideas for those about to popplet, it cannot be equalled. But it is so much more: check out our previous article on the many uses of Public Popplets to see just how cool Public Popplets really are.

So, without further ado, in order of publication date, September’s best Public Popplets:

Borrowing Money

Borrowing Money

Continue reading

People Who Love Music Love Popplet

From time immemorial the People Of The World have been been Lost 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 Country and tried to Break 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

How to Safely Source and Republish Images in Popplet

For much of the Popplet community, embedding images and videos into personal popplets is a great way to map ideas and keep track of the resources that facilitate learning, planning, collaboration and understanding.

While this is perfect for private uses of Popplet, from time to time, we come across school policies that require that all images used in classroom popplets, access only images that have a clear copyright statement allowing the images to be republished. Occasionally, we also get asked by business users about how to best source images that can be published in a popplet aimed at their commercial audience.

If your school or workplace has a strict policy on the reuse of images – even in Popplets! – this blog post outlines some key considerations and sources for copyright free images and video materials. 

Continue reading

Everyone’s A Writer Now: Popplet in the Writing Class

Writing is more popular than ever! Sure, the infamous selfie and the spontaneous snap of a restaurant meal might be getting all the notice, but sharing our prose and poetry is more commonplace than ever before. The Facebook comment, the 140-character tweet, the Tumblr or WordPress blog, and many other platforms offer almost everyone who can write a potential audience numbering in the billions. Never before has so much been written by so many for so many.

Popplet Writing 1a

In technology-assisted classrooms — and in the wider connected world — opportunities to write, to communicate, to develop, and to grow are now widespread. We took a look at how Popplet is being to put to good use by teachers of writing and how young scribes are shaping up in the digital world. Continue reading

We Are Family

You don’t have to be a genealogist to make a family tree. In fact, teachers are using in-class family tree activities to provide children with a sense of identity, to provoke thought, to share a sense of our histories, and encourage stronger family and community relationships.

We took a look at how Popplet is being put to work by budding genealogists in classrooms everywhere, and as always, we learned something too!

Continue reading

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

5 Ways To Use The New Public Popplets Feature

Popplet users (Poppleteers?) have been quick to start using our new public popplets feature. As we detailed in our tutorial previously, this feature lets you share your Popplet creations with the world.

Now you can control three levels of access to your popplets:

  • Private – this level of access is for your eyes only. All popplets start as private creations
  • Shared with collaborators – you can make a popplet public, which means anyone with the URL can see the popplet, and you can give permission to your friends and colleagues to edit or add to the popplet as collaborators
  • Public – this will add your Popplet to our public popplets board and let anyone see your Popplet (they cannot edit it however). Your public popplets can be ranked by popularity so you can see how often others are checking out your creations!

So now that you can add your Popplets to a public library, how can you make use of this? Here are 5 initial ways you can use the new Public Popplets feature: Continue reading

Get Inspired: Popplet Examples To Get Your Brain Jucies Flowing!

Get inspired to create visual thinking maps and concept outlines that help you remember new information, make connections between ideas, and share your thoughts and unique perspective.

This year, we have some great new features planned, including tagging popplets to help you better store your popplet creations with key words and subject categories. We are also looking forward to offering you a new way to share your popplets with the world, with new popularity rankings of public popplets.

While we put the finishing touches on these features, you can get inspired to create new mind maps and concept outlines with our online, iPad, iPhone and iPod apps by viewing some Popplet examples on our new Pinterest account.

We admit, we have been a bit slow to jump on the Pinterest bus. It is a great tool for sharing images, but we love how a publicly shared Popplet is interactive and lets you move around it, zoom in and out, play videos and jump to links. We were worried that none of that interactivity is available through Pinterest.

But on the other hand, we know many of our users are on Pinterest, and sometimes, you want to get inspired by seeing other Popplet examples and learn from how they have been laid out, color coded, and organized. You might not be so fussed about the actual content, so you don’t need to move about so much or click on and watch a youtube video: what you want to get inspired by is the overall organization and mind map design. Well, if that’s the case, our set of Pinterest boards are ideal mind fodder for you! 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