April 5, 2011

Popplet popped for me

So when I was asked to try out this awesome new app, Popplet, I was pretty excited. The idea that the students could create these long lengthy charts and posters using the iPad to display in the classroom was awesome to me. Long go the days in which I would be the one tirelessly creating charts. I would be able to really give the student centered, student generated learning environment a chance to thrive.

Unfortunately my hopes for the program fell flat. Yes, it does as promised. Yes you can create thought bubbles, yes, you can give each student a different color for their ideas, yes, you can create the pretty charts that all teachers want to have. But I was underwhelmed because that’s where the program ends.

So, I will concede that you can import pictures, and the kids do enjoy adding bubbles to the Popplet. But quite frankly I can do the same on a program like Word or Publisher on the computer or pages on the iPad. The great invention, the new timesaver, Popplet, was not. The reality is that it is limited to that – thought bubbles, pictures, colors, a couple of fonts, but not much else.

I will admit that I am the type of person that requires a lot of variety when it comes to fonts and choices in how I am going to create a document or poster for my classroom. So I am a tougher then usual critic. I have found that when I do go above and beyond with my students in terms of fonts, color and layout, the students are far more excited about the work, especially when I can use fonts like “Thug” or “Bleeding Cowboys.” Two fonts that I cannot use on Popplet.

The reality is that if you are looking for an app that lets the kids create some thought bubbles with some pictures, then this is a great app for you. If you’re looking for something more advanced you will not find it here. You will have to go to something like Word, Pages, or Prezi. But that is another post.

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