For the Collaborating Connecting and Sharing lesson I am going to focus on Collaborative Brainstorming. As I am seeing more group projects I can see a need for students to be able to brainstorm digitally. Ideally I would love something where you can easily add ideas from your phone. I am also looking for a brainstorm/organization tool to use with my co-librarian as we work to develop our library website.
I first explored Padlet. I don’t immediately see a use for that in school but I have added it to my virtual/mental toolbox. I did however see a cool use for it for my sister’s baby shower! Based on a great suggestion from a a Pinterest pin we asked people to bring a book instead of a card to build the baby’s library. In order to prevent duplicates I created a baby book Padlet to keep track of the books people have purchased will asked people to update it. I found it fairly easy to navigate using both an iPhone and Android phone without the app installed, I assume it would be much easier with the app. As of this typing I am the only one that has added anything but invitations will go out soon and we will see if it gets used.
I next moved on to Popplet. While I was very impressed in what I could do with the free version by myself I was not as impressed with the collaboration piece. Here’s my Popplet:
- It was super easy to:
- create a new Popplet (their term for the boxes)
- add/move/connect popplets
- color code Popplets (I even made a key in the corner for my plan)
- It was easy to add photos and videos to the Popplet but once I added a photo I couldn’t figure out how to change or remove it without deleting the entire Popplet box.
- When collaborating with another person you can only change the items you added. So if the other person made a simple spelling error you couldn’t fix it. There is however the ability to add a comment for the other person to read. CORRECTION: Under settings – Labs you can set the permission that popplets can be edited by any collaborator.
Overall, this is a cool tool that I may continue to use for the website but we would both log in under the same username and password so we could change everything.
Stormboard was my least favorite of the tools I tried. Here’s my board and my reactions:
- The Legend in the corner was nice.
- The squares are not re-sizable.
- The squares would frequently go on top of each other
- There was no way to create a “mind map” of the squares using lines. And even if there had been they were too big for what I wanted to do.
- The collaboration features seemed strong. There was an option you can set so others can edit the information. However, when I went to close my Stormboard I got the message that if I closed it others would be kicked out and not able to work on it. If you wanted to work as a group you would really need to look into this more.
After trying a few more services from the Free Technology for Teachers post 7 Tools for Creating Flowcharts, Mind Maps, and Diagrams I have decided to stick with Popplet. I really liked Text2MindMap but it was cost prohibitive (aka it wasn’t free).
After more work I am very happy with Popplet. Here’s the current work on progress: