Popplet

Popplet

Popplet is a simple application that has the basic function of creating boxes of varying sizes for text, photos or drawn pictures. These can be linked together by lines if necessary or stand alone. The application lets you choose colours for the backgrounds, boxes and text.

How can Popplet be used in an ELT classroom?

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My first impression of Popplet was that it just glorified what a pen and paper can easily do. However, after playing for a short while it became apparent that it has wider capabilities in terms of tasks and engaging students.

Some of the tasks or activities I think Popplet would be ideal for producing are;

  1. Comic books or story boards with either drawings or photos taken by the students
  2. Brainstorms, mind maps or food chains etc. all interconnected
  3. Information posters
  4. Presentations
  5. Treasure hunt or scavenger hunt style activities that include students following clues or finding items and taking pictures and placing them in order. For example; an A-Z scavenger hunt to practice vocabulary.

 

Advantages of Popplet

Unlike some applications I have used where the students work really hard then produce something that isn’t very pleasing to the eye, Popplet has the opposite effect. With only a few minutes spent using the simple and intuitive functions it can make ideas look very professional and eye catching. Another positive was how speedy it was to send your work through email in a variety of formats (jpeg or pdf).

My students learnt how to use this amazingly quick and when I set them off on a group task moving from ipad to ipad with a different task at each table (think circuit training at the gym!), it really got them focused and encouraged them to get their ideas down quickly. Once done, we emailed it and printed it off and it then served well as a poster and revision tool.

Consider this skeptic converted!

popplet

Doceri

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Doceri allows users to combine voice and photos in a presentation. The app is simple to use, though the layout may seem daunting at first. Click on ‘from my iPad alone’ and you will be taken to a new page. Click on the plus sign on the bottom left of the page to start a new project.

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You will be taken to a new screen with various menu options on the top of the screen. The one that looks like a landscape will allow you to add photos from the iPad photo library.

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              Photos can then be adjusted for size or positioning.  You can also choose from pens on the top to draw on top of the picture and focus attention on a particular part of the picture. Clicking on the right arrow at the top right hand of the screen adds a new page to your project.

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Once you have chosen all of the photos, you can record voice and slide through the pictures in real time. Clicking ‘Stop Recording’ will take you to this page and allow you to access your project. Clicking ‘My recordings” will take you back to this page.

How to use in class:

I used this app in conjunction with Google image search. Students used lexis they learned in class to create a presentation describing a city of their choice. Students worked in pairs to choose a city and write a script. Next, students searched for photos using Google image search to add to their presentations. Students then added the pictures on the slides in Doceri and recorded their presentations.

To make this activity communicative, students evaluated their partners’ presentations on a separate worksheet. To end the activity, students decided in groups which cities they’d like to visit the most based on their evaluations.

Though I did this activity with Pre-Intermediate students, it seems like it would be useful for all levels. Besides vocabulary, using Doceri may be a creative way to exploit a grammar point or to induce deeper thoughts on a particular topic. The jigsaw nature of individual presentations lends itself to various other ways this app can be exploited in class.

Potential issues and solutions:

While students generally enjoyed the activity, some issues did occur. One issue is time. Explaining the app, having the students write scripts, search for pictures and record, then doing the subsequent communicative activities can take a long time. I’d allow at least an hour to accomplish all of this. The activity could also be split in to two classes. Another issue was the volume of the recording. Some students complained that the presentations were difficult to hear even at full volume. To ensure students are using loud voices to record, sending certain groups to another classroom or the hallway to record will help to avoid this problem.

Generally, the app and activity were very well received and the students rated it high on fun and usefulness. It’s useful as a skills based activity allowing students to practice speaking, writing, and listening as well as exploiting a teaching point.