I’ve had my students dabble in mindmapping before with vocabulary development. I like them to think about how words are connected and hopefully those connections make the vocabulary more meaningful, thus they remember it.
At first glance, I thought that Popplet was going to be just another word web/mindmapping tool, similar to Inspiration or a few other word maps available online. I discovered the following things while using this application:
1. Easy to use and maneuver: Each popplet, or tiny box, comes with very easy to understand options. In each box, you can add TEXT, or draw a PICTURE or upload MEDIA. After creating the content in one popplet box, you simply drag the grey connector dots out to where you want to make another popplet. This grey line connects the boxes, thus building a very large web.
2. Media: When using technology, you have to ask yourself, “Why is this methodology better than paper and pen?”. I like to justify my technology use. I’ve had students make mindmaps before on paper and they are just fine. But Popplet lets them add PICTURES and YOUTUBE videos to the map. In a recent vocabulary section on adjectives, students took pictures of the words strong, beautiful and weak, and were able to incorporate those pictures into the map. And who doesn’t love YouTube? Students searched for funny videos that would showcase their Spanish vocabulary words. For example, many students looked on YouTube to find pictures of clumsy people for the Spanish word “torpe”. Or they used their favorite YouTube video (the Waffles video by Julian Smith was very popular) and tried to see how many Spanish words they could use to describe that one video. Hands down this was the biggest plus for me and for the students.
3. Customization: Each popplet bubble can be made a different color, so students could color code the different levels or categories of their web.
4. Sharing: Popplet includes nice sharing options for a free application. Students used the embed code to embed their projects on our classroom site at Edmodo. They also used the links if they wanted to post it to their blogs. You can invite others to share and comment on your Popplet and also post it directly onto Twitter or Facebook.
My students worked on these Popplets using the mobile laptops in my classroom. Once they got started, you could have heard a pin drop. There was a such a hushed enthusiasm to work that I haver NEVER experienced before. They were very captivated by it all and worked so hard, so fast and with such effort. I will definitely be revisiting this site again and I consider my use of technology well justified in this case.
Right now, I’m unable to embed these lovely Popplet’s onto this WordPress blog for easy viewing, but I can include the links. These are student created projects. I gave them the bare minimum of requirements and they went with it. Charlie Sheen was very popular in these, by the way. Please check them out, share them and enjoy using Popplet! (I will be adding more examples in the next few days).
- http://popplet.com/app/#/13715 (by Kyle K.)
- http://popplet.com/app/#/13869 (by Emma F.)
- http://popplet.com/app/#/13833 (by Megan F. and Courtney M.)
- http://popplet.com/app/#/13835 (by Brianna S. and Christina D.)
(Thanks to José Picardo for his inspiring ideas! Visit his site @ http://www.boxoftricks.com)