Monday, June 25, 2012

More Popplet!

As I was sitting here- I thought of more ways to use Popplet!  You could use it in math to organize math vocabulary.  At my school we categorize it by the State Curriculum strand and that could be done using a Popplet- like the "Number" strand could have all words associated with operations and place value attached to the popple called "Number."  I can't wait to use this with my students! 


No- it's not the Popples of the 80's and early 90's- but it's just as fun!

Popplet is a brainstorming tool that allows you to map out ideas and thoughts to make webs and idea boards.  You can use it to collect images like a virtual pin board, draw on it, or use the popples (bubbles) to organize text and ideas.  Some examples from the site include: History of Coca-Cola Bottles, Facts About Earth, Cabin Design, and someone's Travel Log about New York. 

What I like about this tool is that it easily lends itself to distance learning because you can share your Popplets and let other users add to it, which is really helpful for collaborating with others when you plan a project or have to jigsaw what you know about a topic or reading.  In order to share your Popplet, you can use Facebook, Twitter, make it public to be modified, or send out a link to specific users to have others add to the Popplet.  As I was looking at the examples, you could use a Popplet to brainstorm like we do in a Circle Map about almost any topic and have the students add to it once you give them the link.  I think you could use Popplet to create a community helpers Popplet, ecosystems and landforms, or even one that focuses on their home state and branching out to list jobs, foods, tourist places, etc.  You could even set one up on a blog and have people that view your blog add their names and countries.  This could also be an easy way to exchange ideas with people from far away if you give a topic- like holidays, and having people from different parts of the world add their own popple to the main topic. 

You can change the colors of the borders, popples, draw pictures, connect the popples, etc.  The site is very user friendly in that all you have to do is click and it guides you through it without being annoying like some guides can be. 

I think this tool is an easy to use interactive organizer that would be a snap to share with students and getting them to collaborate quickly without much pre-teaching.

Popplet Example

My first Popplet.  It is such a fun tool and I can't believe how easy it is to use.  I want to use this instead of Thinking Maps because it is much neater than what I typically draw in class. 

Here's a link to the Popplet Blog called Popplet Rocks!- which has up-to-date news about Popplet and shows some different ideas about how to use Popplet. When I was looking at the blog, I discovered a Civil Rights Movement Popplet with leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and the contributions they made. I also found out that Popplet has an Iphone/Ipad app too!

I made this Popplet in a matter of minutes and was sorting some common Web 2.0 tools as an
 example to show you :)
I even used the drawing tools to draw that little computer on the Web 2.0 Tools popple. 


Jing is a screen capture tool that is free to download and easy to use.  You can use it to capture images and make short videos of what is on your computer screen.  I have been using this for my Web 2.0 blog to take screen shots so I don't have to crop it in Microsoft Word, so I can just save the image.  I haven't used Jing's video abilities yet, but you could make your own video tutorial on how to use a Web 2.0 tool for a distance class, or even how to use a web platform like Moodle to check assignments and grades.  I was thinking if I could get permission to download Jing onto our school computers, or even my school laptop that I use for our main classroom computer, to have students take turns using Jing to show how to solve math problems.  For example, they could use the document camera to take images of solving long division problems step by step and use Jing to put the video together.  Jing could be helpful for distance learning to share what students find on the Internet or to create movies for class.

If you like Smart Notebook's photo capture tool- Jing is very helpful because you can also manipulate images by adding text and auto shapes without having to insert the picture into another document or file first.


My new favorite thing is Pinterest.  I think I missed the boat when Pinterest was really popular, but I have had the best time creating a virtual bulletin board of ideas people share.  You can make a board for almost anything, but as a teacher, I'm finding it very helpful for coming up with new ideas for school.  I've taught fourth grade for awhile, so it's nice to get some new ideas to use in the classroom, especially when you feel as if you have used all of your fun ideas, or maybe even just to try something new. 

Here's a snapshot (thanks to Jing) of some of my school board.  I have 80 pins on there just for school alone. 

My friend made a Pinterest account and she has even made separate boards for the subject areas she teaches so it is very organized. 

I don't know that Pinterest would be a good distance education tool- other than possibly making a "Me Board" to get to know one another at the beginning of a class, like we do in class with "Me Bags" where the students decorate a bag and then fill it with things that are important to them and then we share them in class. 

However, as an educator, I think Pinterest could be a valuable tool to refresh our teaching when we need some inspiration.

Schoology Uses and Resources

Schoology is a social network for schools, much like Edmodo.  Schoology could easily be used to host a distance learning course because of its discussion capabilities.  The site allows for easy assignment postings and is easy to administer quizzes and collect data from the completed quizzes.  With a site like Schoology, you can import courses from Blackboard and Moodle, share resources from Khan Academy,and upload ExamView quizzes.  Students can submit Google Docs as assignments using Schoology as well, which is helpful because most people have Google accounts.  I joined the site as a teacher and as soon as you sign up it offers you a quick tour of your page to give you an idea of what to do and how to use the tools offered. 

As far as the NETS standards for students, Schoology allows students to communicate and collaborate in a secure space on the Internet, meeting Standard 2.  When students use Schoology they are also trying to understand and use technology systems in order to learn when completing assignments and participating in on-line discussions on Schoology. 

  • The attached link takes you to case studies and success stories of schools and districts using Schoology and finding success.  User Testimonials
  • Wikipedia's information on Schoology
  • Schoology is involved with social networking for Facebook and Twitter
  • You can use your Schoology account to conduct a research project
  • I made a quick sample page for my Treasure Time class (small group reading) that I can use in the Fall.  I made a basic reading inventory and uploaded a link to the textbook website also.  Here is a screen shot of the page that I made.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Timetoast Uses and Resources

Timetoast is a free online timeline creation tool.  When using time lines in the traditional sense, this makes a neat presentation of historical dates and events.  However, you could also use it to sequence events in a story.  For back to school, you could use it to create a timeline of important events in a students life to have them get to know one another.  Or, instead of a PowerPoint like my team and I had our students do, students could work on a timeline throughout the year and record field trips or activities they liked throughout the year to share on the last day of school.  Students could also probably use Timetoast to plan an essay.  My school is big on setting goals and Timetoast could be a good way to visually represent their goals throughout the year and track their progress for tests and subject areas.  Any of those projects could be done with distance learners. 

This Web 2.0 tool allows you to have students create and demonstrate what they know using words and pictures in a linear format.  Students can upload pictures to help illustrate events or topics they are discussing on the timeline which works with ISTE's NETS standards for students as far as creativity and communication standards.  However, for distance learning collaboration, it does not seem to let teams manipulate a timeline together.  Collaboration can be achieved because once the timeline is published, it can be commented on by viewers and be rated.  This could be good for teaching peer assessment and feedback skills.

  • The link below is a sample of Timetoast but shows you how to use Timetoast as you practice navigating your way through the sample timeline.  How to use Timetoast
  • This link has helpful frequently asked questions about Timetoast. F.A.Q. about Timetoast
  • Timeline Ideas from Teachers
  • Really Good Stuff Blog about Timelines