Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2013

Popplet

A compact, simple organizational tool for minimalist presentation

Common Sense Says:
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Grades
1-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: User-friendly format lets students focus on presentation content instead of dealing with a complicated interface.

Cons: Editing capability is almost non-existent; students can't revise drawings or move photographs.

Bottom Line: Great web-based presentation tool for beginners.

Popplet is entirely appropriate for elementary to high school students or for situations requiring a minimalist approach to presentations. For some high school-level presentations, however, students may need more detail offered by other tools. You might ask students to showcase their knowledge of a given topic via a popplet instead of a written report. For example, on a mammal unit, you could have each student choose an animal to present, include pictures and informational text, and even post a video.

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Popplet is a click-and-drag platform that facilitates easy organization of information, pictures, and drawings. It gives students a quick way to organize information, color-code topics, type in data, and add comments. Images can be added from Flickr, Facebook, or your computer. Kids can also add content from Google maps and videos from YouTube directly. Students can add collaborators via email invitation and share their popplets in a variety of outlets, including Twitter and Facebook and through embed codes for blogs or websites. A particular strength of this website is its ease of use and intuitive design. Students can easily craft presentations that include color, images, videos, and text. Once they're finished, clicking on presentation mode allows students to select the order in which the presentation will zoom into each popplet.

Creating an account is easy; although it does require an email address, no activation email or link is required. Once they're on the site, a short tutorial walks kids through the creation of their first popplet. Each student must create his or her own account, as there's no class feature. Students can create up to five popplets each with the free version, share their popplets with others through the Add Collaborator button, or publish their popplets online in several venues. Collaborators can comment on or add to the popplet itself. The cog wheel icon has a drop-down list with most features, such as timewarp, permissions, and the option to export as JPEG or PDF. The presentation mode is found here as well, allowing the presenter to determine the order in which to zoom into each popplet.

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Popplet is great for organizing data, but there are a couple of funky quirks. While Popplet allows editing of text, it doesn't allow editing, moving, or erasing of drawings, beyond clearing the entire drawing. Neither does it allow movement of imported images; once the image is in place, there it remains. There's no spelling checker for text or way to insert text in different locations, such as at the top of an image. However, the overall package provides a compact, straightforward presentation tool.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Students will find this an easy and engaging way of putting together a class presentation, especially since they can add video, images, and comments. Collaboration is also possible.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

While revision isn't supported (e.g., spell-check or editing), students create presentations, organize information, and add content. Sharing and collaboration features allow for cooperative learning and social networking.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

This isn't a complex site. The tutorial is extremely easy and user-friendly, and the settings icon leads to more information about the site; minimal troubleshooting is needed.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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