Unterricht im Kontext der Digitalität

Vocabulary with popplet and quizlet in class

What are popplet and quizlet and how do they work?
Popplet is an engaging web tool and app that allows for a collaborative mind-mapping experience. Teachers and students can create timelines, mind-maps and other forms of visual organisation. It also serves as an effective presentation tool. You can easily create an account with your email address. You can use it for free and you can access it via your internet browser or your smartphone/tablet. When creating a mind-map with popplet, people can work simultaneously on it and every popple is marked with the name of the creator. You can also add comments to a popple to leave feedback. Texts inside a popple can be edited and you can draw inside the popple or embed videos and photos. Popples can be coloured differently to group and organise the single popples. Finished popplets can be exported as JPG and PDF files, as well as saved and printed. Popplet also has a presentation mode, which makes it possible to use the tool directly for a presentation of the popplet.

Quizlet is a web tool and app providing learning tools for students like flashcards, study and game modes. Students and teachers can create their own study sets with terms and definitions. You can also add images to your cards. There are already a lot of study sets for a lot of topics which you can use as well. There are six study and game modes. With flashcards you can simply review your material by shuffling or listening. You can track your correct or incorrect answers and retest the wrong ones with the mode learn. Speller is a mode where you have to type what you hear. You can also get randomly generated tests based on your flashcard set. With scatter you can match terms and definitions as fast as possible and with space race you have to find the correct answer while terms and definitions are occurring on the screen. Quizlet is thus a great tool for language study, practicing pronunciation and learning vocabulary. Teachers can create a quizlet class where they can add the students and create new sets for them. You can create an account using your existing google account. You can also just log in with your Facebook account or create a new quizlet account. You can use it for free and you can access it via your internet browser or your smartphone/tablet.
What about data protection?
Popplet uses personal data only for Google Analytics and for registration and authentification. Quizlet does not give any personal information to others and does not save personal data on their servers. It even has the Children’s Seal TRUSTe. Thus both apps are secure to use for the students. Nevertheless, you have to respect the decision of your students and their parents if someone does not want to create an account.

How can I use popplet in the classroom?
Popplet is a great tool for creating mind maps. Your students can learn and train how to organise arguments and aspects about a certain topic. Popplet offers the possibility to link ideas visually and cognitively as students might find connections between certain aspects when grouping them together. As a teacher you can see the production process of the mind map. You can use existing mind maps for class discussion to get new input as well. The following options are some examples for the usage of popplet in the classroom:

a) creating a mind map
The main idea of the tool is to create a mind map and to organise the ideas in a sensible way. The teacher could just name a topic and the students can create mind maps about this topic. They can do this either in groups, alone or even with the whole class.

b) presenting a mind map
After having created a mind map, the students can present their mind maps and explain why they organised their points that way. Like this, they can learn how to present results in a structured and clear way.

c) discussing a mind map
Students can also discuss a created mind map and give their colleagues feedback. They can get new ideas concerning the topic and maybe get another point of view. They can also discuss mind maps created by other people who published it to get more input concerning a topic.

Using popplet in class will give students the opportunity to create something collaboratively. It will train their media literacy and it will give new thematic input as ideas from people who are not members of the class are included, which also leads to an opening of the lessons.

How can I use quizlet in the classroom?
Quizlet is a great tool to make own study sets. Your students can learn with the study sets you created or they can create their own ones. The different game modes offer a lot of possibilities to learn vocab. Students can work on their own and test themselves. The following ideas show possible ways to use quizlet in class:

a) create a vocabulary quiz
Students can create their own vocabulary quiz using the tool and can do it themselves but they can also create it for their class members or other users of quizlet.

b) practice new vocabulary
The students can practice new vocabulary with the help of the different study and game modes. Learning vocabulary is thus done through different cognitive channels, e.g. visual, auditory etc. The tool thus gives the possibility to learn individually. Students can see their effort and work on their problematic domains.

c) play games
Students can learn new vocab while playing games. The different modes quizlet offers support motivation and give a pleasant approach to the foreign language, so that the students may start to learn vocab voluntarily.

Using quizlet in class will support the students’ intrinsic motivation, which is very important for the learning process as learning will become something pleasant and fun. It will help the students to remember new vocab as many channels are activated. It helps them to learn individually and gives them the possibility to track their own progress.

Here you can find a lesson plan for popplet and quizlet:

Lesson plan

Focus on…vocab!
Vocabulary is one of the most important things as you need it to express semantic meaning. Learning vocab is therefore an essential part of learning a foreign language. But how can this huge amount of words be stored in our brain and how is it possible that we can use these words in a correct context?

The mental lexicon stores the information we have about a word. It is craftily organised so that it can store the huge amount of information. Lexical items are stored under three aspects. The first aspect is syntagmatic relations like synonymy or antonymy. The second aspect is paradigmatic relations, which means that items that often co-occur in the same context are stored together. The last aspect is the similar sound structure of lexical items. The Subset Hypothesis proposes that the lexical items of different languages are stored as different sub-sets with close connection. With this hypothesis we can explain the interference of the mother language of a speaker. The lexical information of items in the second language is often not as deep as the one of the items in the mother language.

In order to achieve the in-depth saving of new vocabulary, lessons should be planned in a certain way. The structure of a vocabulary lesson in fifth grade should be a systematic approach with four phases. The first phase should be the presentation. In this phase, words are introduced through multiple channels. With popplet and quizlet we could use the auditory and the visual channel. Words should always be introduced in meaningful contexts to clarify their meaning and use. Correct pronunciation also has to be trained. In this phase, correct spelling is of secondary importance.
The second phase is practicing. Here, students have to do different exercises and activities in order to integrate the new word into the mental lexicon. In this phase, pronunciation and spelling are practiced and different learning techniques help students to structure and learn the vocabulary systematically.
The third phase is the application. This phase should be communicative, so that the students can practice the syntagmatic connections between the new words.
The last phase is the assessment phase. At this point, the students should test the lexical knowledge they should now have about the new words. In this phase, there should again be a multichannel way of testing.
Sources
https://quizlet.com/help/what-is-quizlet Stand: 31.05.16
http://teachinghistory.org/digital-classroom/tech-for-teachers/25107 Stand: 31.05.16
http://popplet.com/privacy/ Stand: 31.05.16
https://quizlet.com/privacy Stand: 31.05.16
Grimm, Nancy; Meyer, Michael; Volkmann, Laurenz. 2015. Teaching English. Tübingen: Narr.
Stanley, Graham. 2013. Language Learning with Technology. Cambridge: CUP.