Freedom

During the Apple event I attended on Friday, November 8th, I realized something.  I realized that and iPad can give us as teachers the freedom to allow students to choose their final assessment product.  Freedom to find information in new ways.  Freedom to collect information in new ways and freedom to express themselves in ways we haven’t even dreamt of.

Adding the iPad to the mix of options allows students to individualize on their terms.  Once they know how a few apps work and understand what apps work for them, I think that we will see a section of students blossom in a way that we haven’t in the past.  The iPad gives them a chance to do the same type of activity in many different ways.

For example say a teacher is asking for them to make a web to show their brainstorming.  Even if the teacher tells the students that the must use Popplet, they still have some freedom.  They can choose their background color.  They can choose their popple colors.  They can choose to show their brain storm as a series of pictures, text, drawings, or a combination of those three.

If a teacher gives students a task to create a book in Book Creator, then the student has even more choices with the options of video, audio and weblinks.

I think that the only thing we as teachers have to do is pull back, instead of saying giving students a list of instructions on what each page of a book should look like, they should say.  “I want a book that contains these elements, how you show them is up to you.”

Even better I want something that shows your understanding of this activity/learning.  You may choose the way you show me.  You do not have to use your iPad but you may.  If you choose to use your iPad you may use any app.  If you choose not to use your iPad you may use anything.

Popplet

Popplet is a great app for brainstorming.  It works in a similar way to drawing a web.  You can add text, drawings and pictures to your web.  The app makes adding elements to your popplet very simple.

You can change the background color, the color of the popples, the text size and alignment, and the size of the popples.  You can create free flowing popples as well as connected ones.  You are able to zoom out and in this makes working on your popplet easier.

Below you will find some ideas for ways to use Popplet in the classroom:

Language:
Story Planning: Use popplet to plan out a story starting with the title in the first popple.  Then you could create links to popples containing each element of the story; setting, characters, problem, etc.  Then the next layer would have the details for each of those elements.  Thank you Megan G5 for this idea.

You could use it to develop vocabulary.  Put a part of speech in the middle popplet then create popples to attach to it.
Example: Start with Nouns, next layer is a collection of nouns, the next layer out are adjectives that describe the nouns.

Example: First popple “verbs”, the next layer are verbs like walk, talk, said, run, ect.  The next layer are verbs that could be used instead of these words like, sauntered, galloped, screamed, etc.

Math:
First popple says “shapes”, the next layer is the basic regular shapes, the next layer out contains irregular or 3D versions of shapes.

Research:
For Older Kids:
First popple is your research topic, the next layer is made up of each source, the next layer contains the facts, pictures, drawings and citations for that source.
For Younger Kids:
The first popple is the topic, the next layer contains pictures of the sources (covers of books or screen shots of websites).  The last layer is made up of pictures of the pictures and text that contain the facts that they have found in their research.

Drama:
The first popple is the story/skit title, the next layer contains story elements including costumes and set, the last layer contains the script for each character and the stage movements.

Music/Art Research: 
The first popple is an instrument or artist, the next level contains things like where it is from, what genre it belongs in, then the next layer would have the next level of information about the 2nd level.

This is another example of an app that can be used in any genre and with any grade level.

Photo Credit: http://www.companionlink.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/PoppletIcon-150×150.jpg