As a student, do you ever have problems organizing your ideas? Do you ever wish you had an easy way to plan your papers and presentations? As a future teacher, do you want to do the most you can to help your students stay organized so they do the best they can on each assignment? Do you want a tool that can help those students who learn information better when it is presented visually? Do you also want a new and easy presentation tool you and your students can use to keep class interesting?
Popplet is one free tool that can assist teachers and students in making visual presentations and organizers, whether for classroom or individual purposes. This video gives a brief introduction of how to use Popplet.
In his blog post, Best of 2011 So Far – Popplet, Richard Byrne describes Popplet as “a service that combines the best of online sticky note services like Wallwisher with collaborative mind mapping functions.” Popplet allows its users, both on a computer and through the Popplet iPad application, to create “walls” on which they can create “Popples,” or individual bubbles, to provide images, drawings, information, videos, and other media to convey learning. These Popples can be color-coded, organized, and shared with others. Because of these features, Popplet can be used by both teachers and students in multiple fashions, including as an organizer and as a method of presentation.
Popplet as an Organizer
Unlike other presentation tools, Popplet allows users to connect one thought to another in the form of graphic organizers (i.e. Venn Diagrams, flow charts, tree charts, etc) that can be helpful for organizing ideas and details for papers, projects, and presentations. One frustration I have when forming graphic organizers by hand is my inability to add additional information after completion, as illustrated by the image to the left. Popplet overcomes this problem by allowing users to enter new connections and thoughts as they come, as shown in the screenshot below which links to my Popplet. Byrne further states that “For visual learners this could be a good way to outline an essay by using a combination of their own notes with images and videos they find on the web.”
In the blog post Tips2012 iPad App Guide #16: Popplet, Dr. Jenny Lane suggests a few more ways Popplet can be used in the classroom as an organizer. In addition to organizing and planning papers, she suggests utilizing the tool to “Remember, organise and comprehend new information” and “Map concepts and create timelines,” which could help students organize their thoughts so they can better understand the subject matter and study for tests. As teachers, we could even make Popplets for our students to help them review for tests by providing videos, pictures, links to practice problems, and key terms and ideas to know.
Popplet for Projects
Popplet is a great tool for students to provide information, images, videos, links, and more about specific topics learned in the classroom in a creative way. Students can make timelines, collages, profiles, and much more not only to manage their ideas but also to demonstrate their learning. See the Napoleon: History Popplet for an example of how Popplet can be used for student projects and presentations. Also, see the Cabin Project: Mood Popplet for an example of how Popplet can be used to create a image gallery or collage.
Popplet also has the ability to be embedded into blogs or websites. It is relatively quick and easy to do as long as it is supported by the website (WordPress.com does not support it). If you have a class wiki or blog, students can post their Popplets for their classmates, teachers, parents, and other viewers to learn from as well. If you would like to learn how to embed Popplets into a blog or wiki, check out the blog post Using The Embed Code in your Blog and Webpages.
Another great feature of Popplet is its collaborative abilities. Through Popplet, users can invite people via email to collaborate on a single project. Popplet includes the name of the author of each Popple in the upper left-hand corner, so teachers can easily see who contributed what to each Popplet. Also, as demonstrated by the blog post Playing with Popplet, Popplets can be edited by multiple users at one time, making it easy to work as a group on a Popplet during class time. And – good news – there is no limit to how many Popplets each user can make, so if your students enjoy this tool, you can use it again and again.
Popplets can even be presented for an audience, much like a PowerPoint or Prezi. All the student has to do is get online, open their Popplet, and they can present. They can even set an order for their Popples to present in if they don’t want to scroll around. The screenshots below show how to sequence the Popples in your presentation.
Popplets can also be presented offline with the help of the Popplet Presenter application. The image to the right links to a tutorial on the Popplet Presenter.
Popplet in Teaching
In the blog post Tips2012 iPad App Guide #16: Popplet, Dr. Jenny Lane provides some ideas for how teachers can use Popplet to their personal advantage. First, Popplet can be saved as an image so it can be easily shared. This allows Popplets to be used both on the computer and printed to make hard copies. This can be advantageous because Popplet can be used to create study guides for students, note sheets or worksheets for them to fill in, create lesson plans, plan out bulletin boards, and share what they develop with other teachers.
Some additional references and ideas of how to use Popplet in the classroom can be found in the following blog posts:
- Some creative ideas for using Popplet in the classroom provides ideas of how to use Popplet in classrooms of a variety of disciplines.
- The Using Popplet in Presentation Format blog post gives detailed instructions about how to use Popplet Presenter and provides tips of what to include when sharing a presentation, as well as benefits for using Popplet Presenter.
- The blog post Playing with Popplet gives examples of ways Popplet can be used in the classroom, as well as advantages, disadvantages, and reactions of one group of students who used it in their classroom.
As discussed above, Popplet can take a number of different forms. After learning about Popplet, think about how you can use it in your classroom. Do you think it’s a good tool to use? What activities do you think it would be useful for in your classroom? Can you think of any other uses other than the ones mentioned in this post?