• 20 Jan
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    We’re proud of being a “social business“. Not only because we’ve met the most amazing people via social networks but because we discover new things every day just by listening to you all.

    BETT is one of those exhibitions where you bump into people a lot – in both the idiomatic and literal sense. 1000’s of minded folks head along to meet with other like minded folks, all keen to see new technology and tools for education.

    One of the best ways to find out about the coolest things to see & the people to meet and greet is to join Twitter. If you’re a teacher looking to collaborate and share teaching ideas and hear about new resources and tools to use in school it’s a fantastic thing.

    Below, we’ve included a selection of our BETT tweets using this awesome free webtool called “Storify” . It just goes to show how much is said and done in the virtual world of social networking.

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  • 09 Jan
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    It’s mid-January and that signifies a few things: breaking well intentioned new year resolutions, grey skies, rubbish TV and, of course, the BETT Show. We’re back, back, back on the roller coaster that is the world’s grandest ICT exhibition between Jan 11th-14th in London.

    BrainPOP Stand at BETT 2011

    Last year's stand - this year's will look a bit different

    If you’re attending you’ll find us in the same place as last year on stand B60, next to the big RM stand, neatly tucked up against the staircase, on the Grand Hall ground floor. You’ll be able to experience the full range of BrainPOP products, get all the gossip and, maybe, get a hug with Moby.

    Everyone who comes and talks to a lovely BrainPOPper will walk away with a free trial to every BrainPOP product, a chance to win 6 months of BrainPOP UK for your school AND an ice-cool set of BrainPOP goodies.

    1. Get your kids involved: Something we’re trying this year, which we piloted at the Scottish Learning Festival, is our “Evaluation booklet”. We thought you might be a little jaded with marketing brochures so we’ve made a photocopiable Activity sheet that you can give out to your class when you’re evaluating BrainPOP. It’s designed to provide a visual framework to help your pupils give their thoughts on BrainPOP. This means you have a simple way to collect their feedback to input into any descion about whether to subscribe.
    2. Spotlights 2012 Calendar: A high quality piece – full to bursting with BrainPOP colour, based around our monthly Spotlights for 2012. Always extremely popular! If you want one come and see us early doors as once they’re gone, they’re gone.
    3. Research Leaflet: A 2 page summary of our “Study of the Effectiveness of BrainPOP” report, which provides insight into how BrainPOP can effect real and substantial change in your school. You can see more here: http://www.brainpop.co.uk/support/research/
    4. Badges: Our brand new 2012 badges will be released into the wild. Glorious little round discs of Moby goodness. Pick some up and wear them with pride. But can you collect them all?
    5. Tim Handley & Class BrainPOP lesson at 11am on Thursday- we’re properly excited about this. Tim Handley and his class will be running a real BrainPOP lesson on the “Heart and Circulation”. Please come and support the children and see how Tim blends BrainPOP resources into his teaching.
    6. Dawn Hallybone will be presenting her “Fave 5 Apps for Education” at 12:15pm on Friday. In her talk she’ll be showing a range of iPad Apps that she knows and values. This is a must see – Dawn is a great presenter and we think you’ll find her thoughts invaluable.
    7. Catch the “TeachMeet takeovers” on Thurs & Fri at our stand. We GUARENTEE you will walk away with practical ideas:
    • Thursday 2pm-2:30pm: Mark Anderson (@ICTEvangelist) – “Web 2.0 tools you can use straight away”.
    • Friday 11:30am-12pm: Phil Bagge (@baggiepr) “Posterous & IPod Touch Dream Blogging made easy” & Julia Skinner (@theheadsoffice) – “100 Word Challenge Creative writing through blogging”.

    Anything else?

    1. Our VIBs will be in attendance on the stand – in what has become a bit of a BrainPOP UK tradition genuine classroom teachers and BrainPOP experts will be on hand to talk shop with you. They can give honest and practical advice on how they use BrainPOP, giving you a “from the chalkface” view of our resources.
    2. We’ll be talking mobile a lot at BETT this year (as will many other exhibitors, we imagine) so this year’s show will be a fine time to explore how you can take BrainPOP mobile.
    3. To show you how flexible BrainPOP is there will be a “Media bar” where you’ll be able to see (and try) BrainPOP on a PS3™, an Android tablet, and Apple devices. We don’t think learning should stop at the school gates and we’ll show you how BrainPOP could become an integral part of your parental engagement strategy.
    4. Meet Moby – come and have your photo taken, give a high five or get a hug of our resident robot superstar.

    We met Moby at BETT 2012

    If you’ve not been to BETT before or fancy a refresher we recommend you have a good look at Ian Addision’s “BETT Guide”. It’s full of hints, tips and advice.

    So if you’re already a subscriber come and say hi and we’ll share tall BrainPOP tales. If you are new to BrainPOP then WOW have we got a lot to talk about ;-)

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  • 24 Jan
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    This year at BETT we welcomed two International VIBs to join the BrainPOP team, Adina Popa (Technology Resource Teacher/International Ambassador, Loudoun County, VA) & Tammie Mihet (4th Grade Teacher/Teacher Trainer, First Baptist Academy, Naples, FL). They have been using the American English version of BrainPOP in their classrooms for many years. We asked them to provide their unique perspective on the BETT event as a visitor, Collab8 4 Change keynote presenter, VIB and teacher.

    Tammie (left), Moby (middle) and Adina (right)

    “Do you want to see the latest and greatest technological advances in the education field? Do you want to rub shoulders with the brightest names in ICT? Then head to the BETT Show and come ready to be blown away.

    That is what we did last week.  Except we didn’t jump on a train to get there.  We flew through the night, all the way from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, very eager to take part in the biggest  ICT show in the world.

    Our first impression when we walked in…overwhelming!  Overwhelming not because it was confusing or disorganized, it was just the opposite.

    Overwhelming because we felt like kids at Disneyland – so much to see, and so many activities in which to participate!

    The real treat, however, was our involvement in the show. We didn’t fly all the way from the US just to experience BETT as visitors. We came to take part in it.  We were VIBs – “Very Important BrainPOPers“.  As VIBs we shared the power of BrainPOP with people from around the world.  What an amazing opportunity we had to meet parents, teachers and school leaders and to share our passion for BrainPOP and its ability to drastically impact the learning of our students.

    Through our encounters we showcased many features BrainPOP offers:

    1. Research-based short videos that enhance instruction in any subject
    2. Quizzes that are integrated with Promethean whiteboards and ready to be taken via personal response systems
    3. Class charts with student responses that can be exported to PDF and graded accordingly
    4. Extension activities through the FYI section
    5. Closed captioning (subtitles to you guys!)
    6. ESL lessons that teach English in a very stimulating environment

    We also had the opportunity to attend and deliver a mini-note at Collabor8 4 Change, event held on Thursday evening, and sponsored by a few ICT leaders, including BrainPOP UK.

    The layout of the evening was beautifully arranged. The opening address was provided by Lord Jim Knight, who mentioned that ICT needs to be quintessential to education.   As we listened to Lord Knight we began to realize that, no matter which side of the Atlantic we call home, we are all facing similar struggles – economies are failing, schools are cutting budgets, and ICT integration is jeopardized.

    It is, therefore, important that as innovators we lead the way in illustrating the importance of 21st century tools in educating our children. Throughout the evening we listened to lead educators who shared ideas on successful implementation of technology.

    As a result of listening to these presentations, we created future collaboration plans between the two continents, and felt ready to implement many cutting-edge initiatives in our own schools.

    The evening ended with two mini-notes, one delivered by us.  Our theme centered on the fact that collaboration, especially at the international level, is becoming a necessity in education today.

    It is required by our ever-evolving society, and its integration is essential in order to understand and respect our globally connected world.  There are many ways to connect globally, and quite a few are offered through BrainPOP.  From international competitions, to BrainPOP Educators, to POPtalk, students and teachers alike have a place to learn and share practices, lessons, and finished products.  BrainPOP is a great catalyst in facilitating collaborations, and it is a good place to start collaborative activities.

    As we reflect on our time at BETT two things are very evident:

    1. There are some amazingly dedicated teachers and professionals out there working tirelessly to reach our kids
    2. Technology has magnetic power; it can engage even the most obstinate learner

    Personally we feel that BrainPOP is on the frontline, reaching out to teachers and students, and transforming the classroom into an engaging, 21st Century environment.  There is a saying that comes to mind when we think about the BrainPOP family: “Behind every great product there is a great team.”

    Thank you, Adina & Tammie! We hope to welcome you next year as our favourite International VIBS :-)

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  • 20 Jan
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    Much like the Edinburgh festival many of the more interesting activities at the BETT show happen on the fringe. Although with Learning Without Frontiers, TEDX, Collabor8 4 Change and the TeachMeet being sold out it seems what was the fringe a few years ago is now challenging the mainstream for why teachers throng to London in mid January.

    One of the most exciting of these developments is the TeachMeet Takeovers, where a commercial supplier gives their stand over to a classroom practitioner to present on a free tool, service or learning experience that they want to share. We really like this idea as it appeals to the BrainPOP ethos that places, above all else, the learner at the heart of things. And it feels deliciously rebellious too ;-)

    We had 4 teachers present their Takeovers – Dan Roberts, Alessio Bernardelli, Ian Guest and Bill Lord. Each one of them was erudite, interesting and entertaining. We uploaded some recordings of them below. We really do recommend you take the time to watch them, you will walk away enriched with practical ideas to take into your classroom.

    Dan Roberts aka @chickensaltash “35 Free Tech Tools in 6 Mins and 40 secs”

    This is the Slideshare which contains all the links:

    Chicken pecha kucha 20×20 free tech tools

    Bill Lord, aka @Joga5, talking about his Year 1 “Giraffeclass” in which he employed Twitter as a tool for literacy:

    Ian Guest aka @ianinsheffield gives a TeachMeet Takeover entitled “Poll Dancing – Using online tools for formative assessment, eliciting opinion & stimulating discussion”. He recommends some really excellent free Poll tools and best practice on how to use them in the classroom.

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  • 19 Jan
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    It’s traditional at BrainPOP to ask teachers to join us at BETT each year. We call them VIBs.

    2011 was no exception. We welcomed more VIBs than ever before: Dawn Hallybone, Ian Addison, Charlie DeaneTim Handley, Adina Popa, Tammie Mihet,  Tom Sale , Mhairi Healy, Vickie Bacon, Patricia McLean and James Maloney . All passionate about embedding ICT into classroom practice and all BrainPOP fans. But how do we get such great teachers to volunteer their valuable time to help support BrainPOP?

    Our Friday VIBs (clockwise from left): Jim Maloney, Tom Sale, Dawn Hallybone, Ian Addison, Charlie Deane, Mhairi Healy

    In truth it’s a million small interactions but essentially it comes down to two things.

    First and foremost, the concept of a VIB wouldn’t be possible if the BrainPOPpers didn’t place keeping our customers happy as our No.1 priority. That’s easy to write, and often claimed, but hard work in practice. Working with our Educators is KEY to the BrainPOP experience. Just having a great product isn’t enough these days. We’re a social business.

    Secondly, teachers and parents can be just as passionate about an educational resource they use, as the iPhone they carry or the TV show they tune into every week. If you’re lucky enough to find and connect with those engaged customers then it’s important to give them ways (small or large) to express that.

    So when you combine a real time, personalised & remarkable customer experience with an amazing product you can, if you’re lucky, invite your customers to collaborate with you. So we do. Having a close connection with our Educator network makes a substantial difference to the quality of the conversations and feedback we can have with teachers, and not just at BETT.

    And that’s what VIBs do – metaphorically speaking, they join the dots for us.

    Teachers are fatigued with sales people at exhibitions like BETT, bored with endless direct mail and dismissive of cold calling. The chance for one teacher to connect  to another teacher, even if they don’t work directly with the same age range, makes a world of difference. It’s all to do with “domain expertise“, which even the BrainPOPpers cannot rival when it comes to talking about using BrainPOP day to day with pupils, and the power of word of mouth referral.

    So we implicitly trust our Educators to support and represent BrainPOP. They are our Ambassadors and our Advocates. They simply are “Very Important” to us.

    We’ll leave the final words to Jim Maloney, a Year 5 teacher and ICT Leader (and VIB!), from Blackpool:

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  • 18 Jan
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    For some people, BETT is about innovative ICT, for others, it’s about networking. And for a special few, it’s the annual opportunity to meet inspiring colleagues in the world of education.

    But we were thinking along the lines of something a little more ORANGE and ROBOTIC.

    Yes, we’re talking about meeting the mechanical maestro himself – Moby the BrainPOP robot. This year he had his very own photobooth where BrainPOP fans could have their picture taken with Moby. It was a massive successs and he LOVED the attention.

    Were you one of the lucky few who grabbed a special moment with the robotic rascal? If so, go and add yourself to your photo on Flickr or watch the slideshow below.

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  • 06 Jan
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    This will be BrainPOP UK’s 3rd year at BETT and this time we’re turning it up to 11.

    At BETT 2009/10 we were “up in the Gods”, on the gallery section overlooking the Grand Hall. A sweet spot, but not too easy to find and not much space for Moby to bust out his moves.

    Moby on our old 2010 BETT stand

    Moby on our old 2010 BETT stand

    For 2011 we’ve graduated to the ground floor of the Grand Hall, stand No.B60, right in the middle next to the stairs and the RM stand. It’s a modest sized space compared to some of the monolithic structures that surround us but we promise it will be one of the most social and fun stands you visit.

    Each day we’ll be meeting lots of current and future BrainPOP Educators and demoing ALL the BrainPOP products and features, including BrainPOP ESL and BrainPOP Jr. Of course there will also be a scintillating array of BrainPOP goodies for you to take back to school to show off.

    Here’s a few more reasons you should come and visit our stand:

    • We’ll be joined by a number of VIBs – BrainPOP teachers (including Dawn Hallybone, Ian Addison, Tim Handley, Adina Popa, Tom Sale and James Mahoney) who have kindly given up a few hours to show how they effectively use BrainPOP in their classrooms, both 1-2-1 and presenting on our Interactive Whiteboard. They will have their own special VIB tshirts – keep an eye out for them as not only are they passionate about BrainPOP, they are great exponents of relevant and modern ICT practice.
    • We’re hosting TeachMeet Takeovers at 2pm on Thurs/Fri (maybe Saturday too). This is when we hand the stand over to a real teacher who gives a presentation about free tools and services that they’ve used in the classroom. We’re honoured and priviliged to have the inspiring Alessio Bernardelli and Dan Roberts doing a tag team Takeover on Thursday about “Using Livestream to create and broadcast pupils work as a TV Show & Chicken Pecha Kucha 20×20 free tech tools” and the fantastic Bill Lord (who is a wonderfully infectious speaker) talking about “Amazing free tools to fire up literacy learners“. You do NOT want to miss these.
    • Moby’s Photobooth – come and get a Polaroid portrait picture taken with the big orange fella himself, to treasure forever. His Photobooth will be open most of the show, except when he needs a break to oil his sprockets.
    • BrainPOP Spotters! If you visit the BrainPOP stand, get a demo and pick up a special Moby shoulder bag make sure you proudly display it when you’re wandering around the exhibition. Why? Because at 2pm each day Moby will be wandering the exhibition hall looking for a BrainPOP bag. If he “spots” yours then you’ve won a full year’s subscription to the BrainPOP product of your choice. Woot!

    BrainPOPpers will also be attending these events:

    • Learning Without Frontiers (Drinks reception sponsor and general hob-nobbing – please grab a BrainPOPper if you see one and say hola).
    • Collabor8 4 Change – Sponsor, Keynote and round table lead.
    • TeachMeet BETT 2011 – Generally kicking back with lots of old (and hopefully new!) friends at this highlight of the educational calendar.

    Find us where the little red box is:

    The location of the BrainPOP stand at Bett 2011

    The location of the BrainPOP stand at Bett 2011

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  • 22 Dec
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    BrainPOP UK are part of a very special new evening event at BETT 2011 – Collabor8 4 Change

    Collabor8 4 Change

    BrainPOP UK have long been fans of the unconference / BarCamp model of event, such as TeachMeets and Fishbowling.

    This year we were kindly asked to join Merlin John , Apple, Rising Stars & Dave Smith of the Havering ICT team to create a new type of event for teachers.

    Collabor8 4 Change is the result – an unconference focused on School Leaders.

    So what is it?

    • Share best-practice ideas that you can take away and implement in your school
    • Collabor8 with like-minded, award-winning ICT innovators that are willing to share
    • Join discussion sessions that will challenge thinking and inspire change

    What would I get from it?

    All attendees will benefit from the experience and conversation with leading ICT practitioners as they openly share best practice use of hardware and software, with an emphasis on the impact on pupil outcomes and making effective use of existing ICT resources.

    With an impressive, thought-provoking, mixture of exciting table-based sessions and focused mini-note presentations from ICT experts such as:

    • Hannah Jones (Former Special Projects Director at NCSL)
    • Steve Bunce (CPD Leader at VITAL)
    • Bob Harrison (Consultant with BECTA and the NCSL)
    • Adina Popa (Educator, VSTE Innovator of the Year, Staff Developer, #globaled10 Regional Chair, Speaker, Writer)

    And it’s completely FREE!

    So, what are you waiting for? Follow any of these links to find out more:

    Date: Thursday 13th January 2011

    Time: 6:00pm- 9:00pm

    Venue: The Apex Room, BETT, Olympia, London

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  • 11 Oct
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    At the BETT show in Jan 2010 we invited some amazing teachers who shared our love of all things Tim & Moby to show BrainPOP UK to other teachers on our stand. We are putting the call out now for a handful of smart, exciting BrainPOP UK educators from both Primary & Secondary to join the team at our stand at BETT 2011.

    Having the VIBs at BETT 2010 was an unqualified success. These teachers brought authenticity, best practice and a hands on idea of how THEY get the most from BrainPOP with their classes.

    • Ollie Bray (Secondary, Deputy Head, Geographer and National Adviser for Emerging Technologies in Learning at Learning and Teaching Scotland)
    • Annette Iafrate (Secondary, Classroom teacher, Geography NQT, S1-6)
    • Vickie Bacon (Secondary, Maths and Enrichment specialist)
    • Tom Sale (Primary, Yr6 Class teacher, ICT subject leader)
    • Dawn Hallybone (Primary, Senior ICT Co-ordinator)

    This is what Dawn had to say about her time on the BrainPOP stand:

    “Another highlight for me – was meeting Moby – I think the picture says it all. I was on the Brain Pop stand as a VIB – a Very Important Brainpopper! We use Brain Pop at school and in my class Tim and Moby are like another two pupils, I even went to the stand with a list of questions that my children wanted to ask! It was a great experience to meet other teachers and talk about a tool I use in my classroom”

    So do you think YOU could be a VIB this year? This is how it works:

    • You would join the BrainPOPpers on our stand for a few hours at BETT 2011 in London, between 10am and 3pm on a day of your choice
    • You will talk and demo BrainPOP on desktop PCs to fellow teachers and impart knowledge about how you use BrainPOP UK in class
    • If you feel you are up to it we’d love one or two VIBs to present a BrainPOP lesson on a Promethean whiteboard to an audience. This will earn you the super rare King Moby badge.
    • We’ll be on hand at all times to support you, with whatever you need

    This is what we would do for you:

    • We would pay your travel/subsistence expenses for the day you spend with the BrainPOP team
    • You would get your very own exclusive VIB T-shirt, and lots of goodies. And a “home base” with somewhere to put your bag and coat (don’t underestimate this benefit!)
    • You will learn what’s it’s like to be a BrainPOPper for the day and experience working on a stand
    • You’ll connect with educators from all walks of life from around the world and make a few new friends into the bargain

    This year we have graduated to the Grand Hall ground floor stand B60. Right in the middle, where all the action is at. We intend to have LOTS of fun.

    So if you think you, or a colleague, might want to work with Tim, Moby and the BrainPOP UK crew for the day email us: info@brainpop.co.uk as soon as you can and we’ll take it from there.

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  • 27 Jan
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    Hello! I’m Ann BrainPOP (@carterwins) and I’m the BrainPOP UK marketer (be nice).

    I’ll confess: This was my first ever BETT show. Yep, I was a BETT newbie. And a first time TeachMeeter too.

    My personal highlights include talking to what felt like millions of teachers (not sure if this was typical of all stands but I’m not ashamed to admit there were queues off our stand at points), attending my first ever TeachMeet and getting to hang out with a big orange robot (see above).

    I also wanted to find out what it was like for a teacher to go to BETT and TeachMeet for the first time.  Oliver Quinlan, a teacher at Robin Hood Primary School, kindly obliged to answer a few questions about what he learned first time presenting at TeachMeet BETT2010.

    Oliver started following the TeachMeet buzz in 2009. After attending a Midlands event through the flashmeeting he said he “was left buzzing with ideas, and keen to go to one in person.” Months later he jumped at the chance to present at BETT…

    Hi Oliver. Why TeachMeet and BETT this year in particular?

    Oliver: I was keen to go as soon as I heard about it as it was the first one I knew I would be able to go to and share some of my classroom practice, as well as learning about others as I had done previously. Luckily my colleagues are very supportive and gave me the time out to go down to BETT and the TeachMeet.

    How many people have been in touch with you about your presentation since?

    Lots! I am really happy to see quite a few people have taken some ideas from what I’ve been doing and used them with their classes, which is what TeachMeet is all about really. I’ve also had lots of support on my blog from people who saw the talk and have started corresponding with me and commenting on other issues I’ve been writing about like my MA, which has been really beneficial.

    In your blog post you mentioned a few of the presentations you enjoyed – have you managed to try any out with your class already? Or even passed on to colleagues?

    I passed Helen Myers details on to a colleague straight away, as I know she has been thinking of using Second Life for language learning in our school, and could benefit from the experiences shared. Miles Berry’s work on Scratch is also something our new technologies team are keen to integrate into our curriculum. Ian Usher’s teachers as writers project has made me think quite deeply about my own interests and how I can link my teaching to authentic experiences I am involved in outside of the classroom.

    Do you think you’ll be getting more heavily involved with TeachMeets from now on?

    Certainly, I am looking forward to this year’s Midlands event already and planning to rope in some of my colleagues this time. One of the things I love about my present school is there is a real culture of teachers as learners, and TeachMeet really fits into that as it is about developing yourself as a teacher through sharing in the innovations of each other. Next time I would like to present on something that doesn’t have a technology focus, because I think this grassroots ideas sharing model is so good it should be about way more than just technology.

    Up for organizing #TM2011 if there is one?

    I’m certainly up for getting involved!

    Good news for anyone who possibly found the organisation a little stressful! There’s no mistaking that TeachMeet is set to shake up, and possibly shape up, the BETT shows Oliver and I visit in future. I certainly look forward to attending another if the opportunity presents itself.

    So, what to take from this for BETT 2011? Know your stuff inside and out and if you don’t know the answer, find out immediately! Get involved in what teachers are talking about and are clearly passionate about. Next year, I hope to have tried out a few of the things I heard about at TeachMeet and I hope to buy Oliver Quinlan a coffee.

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