For a quick way to get students organising research, concepts and discussions for a project in one place, the Popplet mind-mapping app for Apple iPad is perfect. It’s just as quick as scribbling their ideas down on paper, far easier to share with classmates and teachers and the Lite version is completely free too! Here are a few other reasons we think it’s great…
What is Popplet?
The Popplet Lite (Notion, free) app works like a digital sketchpad, letting you collate snippets of research (‘popples’) like text, quotes and images into one place (a ‘popplet’). Students can rapidly get their ideas down, then organise them afterwards, so it’s great for planning projects. It’s also incredibly easy to use, and the finished popplets look great and are easy to follow, so they can easily be shared and understood. What’s not to love?
I’ve included a little example of a popplet I’ve made around music synthesisers below, including some research on audio wave forms, as well as a few quick diagrams to explain more. To make a mind map like this, you just double tap on the blank Popplet background to create a popple box. In this box, you can type text, change the colour, draw freehand sketches and even upload images from your iPad’s photo library, Camera Roll or even take a picture live directly from within the app. You can then resize your popple and drag it around the screen, creating other little snippets and connecting them with anchor points to link by theme.
How could it benefit the classroom?
Popplet is great for project planning, as students can quickly brainstorm all the information they find around a particular subject and organise the ideas afterwards. For example, they could go away and research the Somme, quickly put all of the ideas down, then link related factors such as the politics, emotional effects etc into groups, organising their thoughts and concepts by dragging and linking Popples. They can then export the popplet as a PDF or JPG file to share with the class and teachers on any computer or iPad for evaluation. As an introduction to mind mapping and outlining, it’s simple and fast.
There are a few mind-mapping tools available online, but where Popple really comes into its own is in how it works so well on iPad. Using multitouch gestures, you can zoom into specific parts of your Popple, and pan around all your ideas. It might not have all the complex features of other mind-mapping apps like iMindMap HD or iThoughts HD, which might be worth looking in to for 6th form level and above, but for an easy way to get all those ideas students have organised into a simple format, Popplet is great.
There is also a web version of Popplet which lets you do the same thing, but without the touch features. The web version doesn’t currently link up with the iPad app version, but support for that is coming soon, the makers say.
Where can I get it?
Popplet Lite (Notion) is free to download from the App Store or iTunes, or alternatively you could go for the full version, which comes with upgraded features and sharing capabilities. That will set you back £2.99 per download or, because it’s available under Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme, you only pay £1.49 if you’re buying more than 20 apps.
– Missed last week’s app? Click for our review of the Collins Big Cat reading app for iPad.
If you’d like to know more about Apple iPad for the classroom, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.