So the Popplet app…
In the monthly iPad meetings we have, I often find the most valuable part is listening to my colleagues discuss their adventures. Through hearing their implementations of the iPad, I can get a great sense of how it can be more effective in my own classroom. Oftentimes, there are plans and uses that I completely rip off my colleagues, while with other uses, I can sit back and appreciate how well it worked for them but realize it isn’t my cup of tea.
The latter is exactly what happened with Popplet app. The structure and pace of my class must remain consistent , especially with a Special Ed population. There was no legitimate way to force Popplet into our routine without removing another part of the puzzle. Rather than make that sacrifice, I chose to continue to use the iPads as a reinforcement tool. With the help of the school's subscription to ixl.com, my students now use the iPad to log on and complete math goals and objectives. While ixl is something that can be done on the computer, may of my students prefer being on the iPad. Part of it is the “cool new toy” thing, but the larger part of it is COMFORT. The lack of wires and lack of restricted movement allows my students to get comfortable before starting work. This comfort has led to higher scores in ixl as well as a more eager approach from some of my students to doing math. The “comfy chair” that they argue over daily has become the throne in the room, and its inhabitant changes daily. When the ticket price is high score of the day, it motivates students to accomplish more and focus in for the privilege.
Back to Popplet- I did eventually use it in my capacity as Dean. When dealing with an unruly group of children I provided them with the challenge of presenting a web and collage using images pulled from the web, and all other aspects of the popplet app. They were able to complete the assignment but while they were doing it, they felt trapped by the restrictions. "How come I can't ..." was the main refrain as most of these students were computer savvy enough to be familiar with normal word processing features. So while popplet works, I would feel more comfortable showing my students how to accomplish the same webs in a word processing program such as Pages or Word.