a site for serious play

The power of popplet!


Popplet is a graphic organising tool that can be used to create mind maps, discussion boards, timelines, and storyboards. It can be used at various stages in the research process to plan projects, curate resources (text, image, weblinks, and video), organise resources and deliver presentations. For the latter purpose, it’s a simple, clean alternative to PowerPoint and Prezi that puts the focus back onto content creation rather than on the  “bells and whistles” of delivery. Here’s a quick overview:

Registration with Popplet requires a username, password and email (although no email confirmation of account is required). It’s free (with a limit of 5 popplets per account at any one time), very easy to use, and can be shared for online viewing (via URL, Twitter or Facebook), or editing. A Popplet app is available for iPad and iPhone.

Popplet is a great tool for the classroom. Teachers might post stimulus material to a popplet and then invite students to post their answers or comments by creating popples (individual content boxes). The teacher can then provide feedback via a popple comment function. Teachers might also use popplets to post class notes/resources, subject overviews, or create galleries of student work.

Students can create individual or collaborative popplets, and are able to present their completed projects online as a slideshow, or export them as a jpg or pdf. Popplets can also be embedded into websites. These export options are a useful means to back-up popplets.

As with any online tool, issues of privacy must be considered when Popplet is used for teaching and learning. An advantage of popplet is that, unlike tools such as Facebook, the default privacy setting for Popplet is private, so teachers or students need to take deliberate action to make the popplet “semi-public” to collaborators(by sharing the URL) or “public” for all the world to see.

As well as being very user friendly, Popplet offers support to users via a popplet blog and Facebook. Both offer tips on using popplet, along with technical support. There are also some great examples on the blog of how popplet is being used in classrooms across all grades.

On the home page of the Popplet website there are links to ‘Terms of Service’ and ‘Privacy Policy.’ As can be expected when signing up for a free online service, Popplet users give site owners everything bar the shirts on their backs. That said, at least the ‘Terms of Use’ clearly state how user information will be used. Should a user want to terminate their popplet registration they must make an email request to popplet admin. Popplet is at least up front in saying that such requests will remove the user from future Popplet activity, but will not necessarily remove user information from the site archives.

I particularly like the guidelines provided by popplet that: emphasise the implications for users of making a popplet public; caution users about breaching copyright; advise users to behave ethically; and suggest that users question the authenticity of information provided in popplets.

Whilst Popplet seems such a wonderful tool for classroom use, the Terms of Use stipulate that Popplet administrators are committed to protect the privacy of children, and for that reason, site users must be at least 13 years old. Whilst this would seem to restrict Popplet use to secondary school students, Popplet offers ways around this restriction for teachers wanting to use popplet with younger students.  One such way includes upgrading to a paid “edu” plan.

If you haven’t looked at Popplet, certainly give it a go. I think it has great potential to be used in the classroom in so many different ways by teachers and students.  I’m particularly fond of its presentation mode, which makes a welcome change from Death by PowerPoint and the nausea-inducing nature of Prezi.


Author: diannelaycock

Teacher Librarian. Doctoral student, University of Sydney.

4 thoughts on “The power of popplet!

  1. Great article Dianne! We have promoted it on our twitter account, and will be mentioning it in an upcoming blog about “A Day in the Life of Popplet”.

    Just a few quick comments if that’s alright:
    – under 13s can use Popplet but under the guidance of a teacher, parent or guardian. In fact, we are proud to have a very active kinder learning community
    – technically, i think our terms and conditions do say something about content ownership but that is not the intention. I think this wordage refers more to the need to be able to post the content to people’s own accounts and then to act on it if it is published publicly – it lets us do things like share Public Popplets in our blog and via Twitter. In reality, we never access the popplet content created within anyone’s individual account unless we are asked via support to help out with some bug or strange issue (like when a particular browser isnt showing all the popplet content or something). You are right when you say that all popplets are initially set to private, and we never access these at any time.

    Thanks for the thorough review, i am sure it will help your readers consider using Popplet in their own studies or in their classrooms.

    Keep popping!
    Mark from the Popplet team

  2. Thanks for clarifying the ‘Under 13’ clause. This will put a lot of the teachers to whom I’m promoting Popplet at ease. And many thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. Pingback: A Day In The Life of Popplet | Poppletrocks!

  4. Thanks for sharing Popplet with us. To have the administrators of Popplet reply your post is quite something!
    Keep up the good work
    PLN team

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s