Popplet: A Multi-Dimensional Tool

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

A hand-drawn graphic organizer.

Attributed to Ken Stein.

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.”

Popplet screenshot

This Popplet is an example of how to organize your ideas through Popplet.

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.

Popple showing author's name

Popplet puts the name of the author of each Popple in the upper left-hand corner, so a teacher can know who did what in a collaborative project.

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.

Screenshots showing how to present with Popplet

Popplet has the ability to present your Popples in a specified order.

Popplet Presenter Tutorial Popplet Screenshot

This tutorial teaches you how to download and use the Popplet Presenter in your classroom.

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?

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16 Responses to Popplet: A Multi-Dimensional Tool

  1. Erin M. says:

    Holly, I think this is a really great tool. I remember in elementary school having to brainstorm ideas and make ven diagrams and then pass them in before handing in an essay, and I hated it. I think this would be a great alternative to this, as a way to organize all of your sources and ideas. Also I personally forget all of the specific things that I want to use in each of my sources, and then in the end when I have all of my notes, I have to go back through each of the videos and websites to find where I found it. I think this tool could be a really useful way to connect ideas and expand on it virtually, instead of searching for a piece of paper with scribbles. I think it would be just as useful for me as a student now as it would be for me as a teacher and for my future students. Thanks for showing it to us!

  2. Emmie C. says:

    Holly, I enjoyed learning about Popplet and I believe it is an extremely beneficial tool. Not only can students use this for projects or other ways to be organized, but teachers benefit from having this tool as well. After reading how to incorporate Popplet into teaching, I thought of some great ways that I personally will want to use Popplet as a future teacher. It’s a fast and easy way to create study guides, lesson plans, and bulletin boards. I also liked looking at the examples of how students used Popplet in their classroom for projects and presentations. It’s a great way for students to demonstrate their learning in a fun and creative way. I plan on using this tool when I become a teacher and I’m really glad you shared this with us!

  3. Elizabeth L. says:

    Holly,
    Great post! I think that Popplet looks like a great tool that can definitely be used in a variety of educational settings. I will use Popplet as a student as well to help make study guides and concept maps for different subjects. I know that it really helps me to stay organized, and as a teacher I can show this tool to my students as an easy way to organize concepts before a test. It can also be used for making timelines because you can easily position the different Popplet entries in chronological order based on the specific time period you are talking about.

  4. Allie W. says:

    Love this tool! I was always required to do graphic organizers in elementary and middle school and even occasionally in high school. I would lay out all of my ideas in the organizer and then sometimes I would think of a better way to lay out my paper or project and would have to redo the entire sheet. This tool allows you to easily reorganize your thoughts in a way that makes more sense or that you like better. I like that my students will be able to see an idea laid out in front of them like a timeline or another grouping of ideas. In a way you could almost call this hands on because you can move it and see it in front of you. I definitely plan to use this as a tool when I teach.

  5. Sydney B. says:

    This is a great tool! It’s useful for both students and teachers. I like how you can do so many different things in one place. The fact that there can be youtube videos and other documents here is wonderful. I like how anyone can edit this information. Also, when someone adds a new box, the persons name is in it. That way, when students edit information or contribute information, they take ownership of it. It’s a great way for everyone to help brainstorm!

  6. Rebecca S. says:

    In theory, graphic organizers are always a great, simple way to organize your thoughts and ideas, however it is very easy to get frustrated with them when you try to add additional information. I know in elementary and middle school I always liked the idea of graphic organizers, but quickly became frustrated when, after adding more information and ideas, my organizer became not so organized. For this reason, I stopped using graphic organizers. I’m so glad you introduced us to Popplet! This tool seems like it is so easy to add in extra bubbles and information while keeping everything else nicely organized. Graphic organizers seem to be common throughout elementary and middle school curricula, so why not use the technologic version of them in your classroom? Because this tool seems so easy to use, I think it would definitely be a great tool to utilize in classrooms! Thanks Holly!

  7. Emily D says:

    Holly! What a great find! I used this in class today and really discovered the redeeming qualities of Popplet. I am doing my blog post on Wallwisher this week, and I love that Popplet has taken Wallwisher and pushed its abilities even further. Popplet makes organization attractive, easy, and technological. I also love that Popplet is a collaborative tool where users can work on the same project together. After creating my own Popplet, I think it would be fascinating to see what a collaborative effort on Popplet would look like. Teachers could even use Popplet to help one another lesson plan and get ideas from one another. I can definitely see myself using this in the future! Nice work!

  8. Katie R. says:

    Holly, this is an awesome idea. I have used Popplet before and find it to be extremely useful. It’s great because it is an organizing tool that you can create in order to make your ideas flow more smoothly in your mind. Popplet makes it look pretty and because of that, many students like to use it for it’s accessibility and attractiveness. I used Popplet to make a time line of chronological events that have happened in history. I believe this will be a very useful tool when I am a teacher because I will be able to create chronological timelines for my students with Popplet. Thanks for the post!

  9. Maddy R. says:

    Holly, this is a great post! I had never heard of Popplet before and it looked really awesome. So, I decided to try it for myself. I made a Popplet on the quadratic formula as if I were going to teach my students that math concept. It is fun and so easy to create and display. You can use it in any subject or any aspect of life really. You can post videos, projects, text. It’s just like a PowerPoint almost, but better! Popplet is great for teachers to use in having their students do projects or display their understanding of the material they have learned. They can move their Popples wherever they want and present their Popplet any way they want. There is much more room for flexibility in this tool, so it really catches the students’ attention and interest. It is a great for students to stay organized and to demonstrate to their classmates what they have learned and know. It is very interesting.

  10. Patrick C says:

    Holly, this is a great post! I had never heard of Popplet before. It was one of the tools that I explored in class. I was thoroughly impressed with it. I was skeptical at first if it would be a good tool to use. I really like how easy it is to use. I can definitely see myself using this in the future in both the classroom and as a student. This is a great tool for organizing information and I think that it will be very helpful for students to brainstorm papers and even do cause and effect type things with information that they are learning. Overall great post. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hilary S. says:

    Great post, Holly! I had never heard of this tool, so I’m glad that you taught us about it! Through out school I was encouraged to use graphic organizers a lot, so I could definitely imagine using Popplet with my elementary school students. I would love to use Popplet with my students to help them plan essays and research projects. For students in the younger grades, this could be a great way for them to help categorize things, for example types of dogs or primary colors. Students could also use Popplet to create story maps, like we did in our Fine Arts class when we were planning our play. Great job, Holly…thanks for sharing!

  12. Meagan W. says:

    Great post Holly! I read your post the other day in class and it was very informative! I really enjoyed making my first Popplet as well. I can definitely see using this in the elementary setting, not only with planning for papers and research projects but I know students make a lot of “webs” at this age– Popplet would be great for that! This tool is great for brainstorming and staying on track which can be difficult for young children! I am very glad you shared this tool and we had time to explore it in class, I know I will be using it in the future!

  13. Anna H. says:

    Great tool and post, Holly! Like Hilary, I had never heard of this tool before, so I’m so glad we were able to learn about it from you and have it introduced in class! It’s such a great tool to use in the classroom, and one that takes such basic concepts that tend to get boring (graphic organizers, study guides, etc.), and add a whole new dimension to them. This is a great way to make students more interested in their material, due to its level of interaction and interesting, fun displays. I think that there are so many way that Popplet could be used in the classroom, and I am definitely planning on incorporating it into my own use!

  14. Madison L says:

    Holly,
    I think you did a great job on this blogpost. I was using this tool quite a bit yesterday and it really blew my mind considering how interactive it was. Popplet is such a great way to organize material so that one is scrambling while teaching the class. Students can also use this tool in order to organize their assignments and they can even create presentations on this tool which i find very impressive and I would be thrilled if a student gave me a presentation using this tool. I feel as though students will have an abundant amount of creativity if they decide to use this tool and i think that is an excellent concept.

  15. Riley K says:

    Organizing was one of the most difficult things for me in school and it still is to this day. Popplet seems like a way to solve my problems so they do not follow me into the classroom. I need the order of my day, assignments and things to accomplish in a read-able fashion. Teaching in this manner would provide students with a new way to present and explain one’s self. Students I also feel like they want to use Popplet more because of it’s attractiveness and how easy it is on the eyes. The fact that it allows videos, texts, and pictures to be featured just adds to it’s attractiveness.

  16. Kendall C says:

    This is awesome! In the English classroom, we’re constantly organizing and needing a big space to visually construct ideas, theories, paper topics, analyze language in works, etc. I can use Poppet regularly. It’s cool also that you can comment on other people’s ideas and leave feedback. This was a wonderful discovery! It’s also a good way to organize the class activities/discussions/lessons for the day and display the day’s objectives or other material. It seems like a nice way to combine what I would do using a whiteboard, sticky notes, planner, loose leaf paper, and more! Awesome!

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