• 23 Nov
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    This is part 2 of 3 guest posts from Matt Lovegrove, an independent online safety trainer, speaker, and practicing teacher (part 1 – Is online safety a problem for the techies, the teachers, or the parents?)


    I was never taught about online safety at school.

    I remember when my family got (dial up!) Internet in 1999 and the world was suddenly opened up to me. I created innumerable website accounts without really knowing what they would be used for, made my own websites, and chatted with people I’d never get to meet in real-life.

    I loved how open the Internet was and how easily I could access information.

    But in hindsight I didn’t really know what I was doing and about the potential risks I was facing. And, of course, the same went for schools.

    Prevention vs cure

    We’re still learning how people use the Internet to take advantage of others and how mistakes are made, but, as with most things, prevention is better than cure.

    If we can teach children to independently and confidently assess situations and avoid risks, we’ll be doing well.

    In fact, if we teach them to be responsible and sensible users of all technologies at a young age, we’re setting up them up to be successful in adulthood too. Let’s face it, a good understanding of technology will be fundamental to future success.

    Engaging children with online safety messages doesn’t have to be hard, boring or scary. To be most effective it should be fun, hands-on and engaging.

    Below I have listed my favourite online safety resources for use with young people. I’ve seen them work time and again in schools I work with. You may be familiar with some of them, but please do share them with staff and parents.

    1. Childnet

    Childnet’s high-quality resources are free to use and have a wide scope – all educational organisations would benefit from using them. The stories, such as Digiduck’s Big Decision and Smartie the Penguin are some of my favourite resources as they are incredibly engaging and promote online safety messages in entertaining ways.

    2. BrainPOP videos

    BrainPOP’s series of online safety videos are perfect for the classroom and are a must for all schools and related activities, quizzes, and games are also available. Why not try your hand at Share Jumper, a free educational game that teaches you what is good and bad information to share online?

    Share jumper game

    3. Thinkuknow.co.uk

    CEOP’s Thinkuknow website is a great resource for any child aged between 5 – 18.

    Differentiated for different age groups, the website uses cartoon videos, games and interactive activities to deliver key online safety messages to children and also contains an area for teachers with free, downloadable lesson plans.

    This website reads information for children who are too young to read independently and has great advice for teenagers who are experimenting with relationships too.

    Thinkuknow’s Cyber Café, for 8-10-year-olds, provides a great place for children to apply their learning and practise using services like email safely by using simulations.


    4. Penguinpig

    Written by Stuart Spendlow, Penguinpig is a fantastic story about a young girl who gets tricked online. It’s perfect for very young children and could be used to start to embed vital online safety messages as part of the curriculum in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.

    5. Safer Internet Day

    Safer Internet Day (Tuesday 7th February 2017), provides a good opportunity for schools to focus on online safety and promote healthy digital citizenship. Nearer the day, free resources are released for classroom or whole-school use.

    6. Kiddle

    Kiddle.co provides a safer way for children to search the internet. Using Google’s Custom Search settings, it offers many benefits:

    • It’s safer: due to filtering and key-word blocking, there is less chance of inappropriate material being accessed.
    • Websites that are listed by Kiddle, particularly those that appear at the top of the results page when a search query is entered, are more likely to be written for children. This means that children using the search engine are more likely to find information that they can comprehend and will therefore find useful; an ideal solution when it comes to homework or independent research.
    • It uses big pictures: as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and Kiddle does a great job at displaying big thumbnails which in turn helps children find what they’re looking for.

    Of course, no search engine is perfect, but Kiddle provides both a good solution to those looking to promote safe-searching skills with children and opportunities for more relevant and useful Internet use.

    Talk about online safety often…

    The best way of dealing with online safety is to regularly be open with young people about how the Internet works and how they can use it sensibly and responsibly. Talk to your children often and use some or all of the resource above, and you’ll be making an excellent start.


    Matt Lovegrove is an independent eSafety trainer, speaker, and practicing teacher. If you need training or support for your school, please get in touch with Engage eSafety.

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  • 02 Nov
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    This is the first of three guest posts from Matt Lovegrove, an independent online safety trainer, speaker, and practicing teacher.

    Matt has used BrainPOP in his teaching for many years and we invited him to share his thoughts, experience, and insights on this important topic with you all.


    Online safety is big at the moment.

    Schools are now required to ensure that ALL staff are actively involved in teaching students to use technology safely and responsibly.

    Technicians are asked to provide and manage ever more complex blocking, filtering, and monitoring tools.

    But everything moves so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. Seemingly every week a new app, trend, meme, or game makes an appearance and it’s back to the drawing board.

    This leaves teaching staff and parents feeling lost. How can they possibly keep up with the apps and websites their children are using?

    So fundamentally, what is online safety, and who’s responsible for it?

    E-safety (now referred to by Ofsted as ‘online safety’) has been about for a long time, but recently its status in society has been raised.

    This is in response to children getting into trouble on the Internet and the headlines this generates. They may be communicating with strangers, accessing or making inappropriate material, being bullied (or bullying), playing games that include themes that aren’t age appropriate, and more.

    We know that this happens, but at the same time we mustn’t forget just how brilliant technology is and how it can improve the way we live.

    Take ownership of the problem

    We, as adults, need to embrace and understand the technology that children are using and help support them to use it safely.

    Yes, we need to safeguard, but ultimately we should all be aiming to empower young people to use technology responsibly by themselves, and being there for them to lean on when they need a hand.

    The role of parents

    Parents need to do their part to help their children to use the Internet properly, much like they explain crossing the road safely or not talking to strangers.

    Dr Tanya Byron, in her 2008 report on new technologies and risks ‘Safer children in a digital world’, put it perfectly with this analogy…

    “Children will be children – pushing boundaries and taking risks. At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim.”

    Children will benefit massively from having parents who are there to support them ‘swim the depths’ of the Internet.

    • Answer questions or concerns on the spot
    • Model responsible communication
    • Help your kids build a healthy level of scepticism!

    These 3 behaviours will greatly help children be successful independent users of technology.

    Develop a culture of online safety education at school

    Teachers have a duty to educate students about online benefits and risks.

    To do this, teachers first need to have a good understanding of the ways that young people communicate and share online. The problem is that many teachers feel out of touch with technology; some are even afraid of it.

    A simple session working with students, observing the apps they use and how they work, would help enormously. Ofsted’s 2015 online safety research noted “The involvement of the wider school community in writing online safety policies remains low”.

    Try to change this. Involve a cross section of the school community in building policies and delivering training.

    Most young people would enjoy sharing their online world with their teachers if they felt that the “grown ups” had a genuine desire to listen and learn.

    Get support from your techies!

    Technical staff have traditionally been given the responsibility to make sure there are appropriate safeguards built into the new technologies.

    There is, and always will be, a place for online safety management tools.

    Beyond the tech, things like allowing personal information to be hidden, having an easy to use reporting system, and having real people moderating content will greatly help children use online services safely.

    So who IS responsible?

    This is an issue that can’t be tackled by one person in a school, or pushed to the side as a pastoral issue. The buck can’t be passed to the technical staff or ICT coordinator to add increasingly burdensome (and expensive!) software and infrastructure.

    The bottom line is a responsible online safety culture owned by the whole school community is the most effective way to establish real and long term online safety for children.

    The best online safety isn’t about scaremongering and lists of rules that begin with ‘don’t’.

    It’s about giving everyone the tools, the knowledge, and the understanding to use technology positively and tackle any associated issues and risks confidently.

    If we ALL take online safety seriously, we can ALL make a difference to young people’s lives.

    In my next post I’ll be looking at practical ways schools can start to build that culture.


    Matt Lovegrove is an independent eSafety trainer, speaker, and practicing teacher. If you need training or support for your school, please get in touch with Engage eSafety.

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  • 05 Sep
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    All writers need a creative jump start every once in awhile.

    Writer’s block can be as prevalent in the classroom as it is in front of an author’s typewriter.

    Sometimes you need to shake things up and encourage students to write something out of their usual comfort zone.

    With that in mind we’ve made some handy and fun writing prompts called Story Cubes to help out. Getting creative with story cubes is easy but first of all you need to make them.

    How to make Story Cubes:

    BrainPOP Story Cubes

    Click the image to start download.

    • Use scissors to cut them out (watch those fingers!)
    • Fold along all the edges and flaps
    • Stick them together using tape or glue on the tabs until you make a cube shape.

    How to use Story Cubes:

    Now you get to roll your new cubes!

    Roll all three (or just one if you like) and use whatever three three images that land face up to build your story. If you don’t like the images you get you can always re-roll!

    All the images are from BrainPOP movies, but you can interpret them how you like.

    Once you’ve made your cubes you can keep them for whenever you want to help creativity strike – they make a pretty nice decoration too!

    The Legacy by Sophie Millward-Sadler is a fantastic example of a student’s story that used BrainPOP’s story cubes for inspiration.

    And finally, don’t forget to use BrainPOP’s Creative Writing Spotlight to help students write their inspired story the best they can.

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  • 29 Apr
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    The Year 6 SATS are just around the corner and it’s easy for students and parents to worry about getting ready for them.

    So we’ve put together some helpful topics that will help with being (and feeling) more prepared. And don’t forget to download the poster at the end!


    What are SATS?

    SATS (Standard Attainment Tests) are designed to help teachers learn more about a child’s strengths and weaknesses.

    The results help teachers compare how students are doing compared to other children, not just within their own class or school but across the country.

    The KS2 SATS also measure how much a child has improved from KS1 and whether they are hitting the target they were predicted to based on their KS1 results. Similarly, their KS2 results will help with checking their progress at KS3.

    The biggest thing to remember is that there isn’t a pass or fail on SATS tests. They’re a benchmarking tool to help schools and students achieve their best.

    While it can be a bit scary for kids sitting their first formally assessed tests it’s also an opportunity to start creating revision and test-taking habits that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their academic career.

    How can BrainPOP help with test preparation?

    We remember what it’s like to be nervous and overwhelmed by tests at school. Here’s a set of useful topics for helping to get ready physically, mentally, and emotionally.

    All these topics are free for everyone for a couple of weeks leading up to SATS.

    Part 1 – Topics to help students prepare for a test

    Note-Taking Skills

    BrainPOP UK - Note Taking skills movie

    Your revision notes will just be another source of stress unless you make sure that they’re well organised and clearly written. Use our Note Taking topic to learn various time and space saving techniques for note-taking and how to take comprehensive notes in lessons.

    Not only will improved note-taking skills help with the creation of useful revision notes they’ll also help facilitate better understanding within lessons and when trying to complete homework on the topic.

    Setting Goals

    Setting Goals Topic Screenshot

    Revision is a lot like fitness if you do too much too quickly you can burn yourself out before you really get started and it can be difficult to set a steady pace and stick to it. In our Setting Goals topic students learn how to break a big goal into smaller more attainable goals.

    Not only does this help students work towards their goal at a realistic pace it also means that they can see their progress better which helps a lot with morale.

    Concept Mapping

    Concept Mapping Topic Screenshot

    Concept maps can be an invaluable tool for revision. Not only are they useful to create as they help you fill in the gaps in your knowledge and see connections but they’re also a great way to create a very quick and easy way to read a huge amount of information.

    Test Preparation


    This topic covers revision techniques, what to do with the notes you’ve taken, why a revision group could be helpful. Students learn why doing practice papers can be helpful and useful tips like explaining a concept to someone else to make sure you really understand it.

    Part 2 – Topics to help students taking a test

    Test-Taking Skills

    Test Taking Skills Topic Screenshot

    What do you do if you get stuck on a question? How can you approach different types of question like multiple choice or essay questions? What can you do to make sure you don’t run out of time during the test? All this and more is answered in our Test taking skills movie.


    BrainPOP UK - Stress

    Stress and anxiety can really throw students off their best performance and when it’s not something you’re used to it can be difficult to overcome.

    This topic explains what stress is and how it can affect you physically, emotionally, and mentally and covers various techniques students can use to help them keep their cool. While practice helps a lot sometimes it doesn’t matter how many dress rehearsals you have you still get a bit of stage-fright on opening night. Fear doesn’t have to be the mind-killer!

    Free test KS2 SATS preparation poster!

    You can find all sorts of study skills topics in our English section and you can download this handy “Key Stage 2 SATS preparation guide we’ve made that you can print out, share, or keep on your devices. Good luck everyone!

    BrainPOP SATS Revision Poster

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  • 13 Nov
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    “Visual literacy combines the use of a variety of visual products (lists, tables, graphics, graphic organizers, concept maps, mind maps, argument maps, timelines, systems maps, videos, movies and art) with teaching, learning and assessing processes, and creates interconnections of visual, oral, written, visual representation, numeracy and technological/digital literacy.”

    Beaudry, 2014

    Professor Christina Preston and Dr Sarah Younie from the MirandaNet Fellowship (Education Futures Centre, De Montfort University) have produced an independent Action Research study with Oakdale Junior school in the borough of Redbridge, East London.

    About the study – “A chance to reflect”

    Oakdale Junior school has been using BrainPOP for a number of years and this was an opportunity to reflect on how they use BrainPOP in their teaching practice.

    The MirandaNet team spent time with the school’s senior leaders, teachers, and pupils to investigate whether their growing use of video, gaming and quizzes was enriching learning and what they could do to improve their practice further.

    The process specifically looked at evidence of learning, from motivation to recall to improved practice.

    If you’d like to see the outcomes of the research please download the 12 page summary.

    We’ll also be presenting this research at a Learn Live seminar at BETT 2016 on Saturday 23rd January, 10:30 – 11:00 in the Primary theatre.

    Engaging pupils in learning- using interactive video, quizzes and games front page


    Engaging pupils in learning - using interactive video, quizzes and games - evidence of learning

    Many thanks to the staff and pupils at Oakdale Junior school for your time and insights.


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  • 16 Mar
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    Engaging students with literacy across curriculum subjects is a priority for all schools, and Ofsted. BrainPOP provides multiple possibilities to improve literacy knowledge using animated movies, interactive quizzes, multimedia resources, and more.

    BrainPOP UK - Reading Skills

    Ofsted seek to see literacy being emphasised outside of an English lesson, across curriculum subjects. Effectively, literacy learning should have a place in all lessons.

    During inspections, Ofsted will place a stronger emphasis on effective whole-school literacy policies and their successful and systematic implementation across the school. Finally, the new Teachers’ Standards (2012) require for all teachers to “demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English.” 

    Literacy Guide for Secondary Schools, 2012-2013

    In each BrainPOP topic in Science, Maths, English, Humanities, PSHE & Citizenship, Design & Technology, Arts, there are many moments, both explicit and implicit, to promote literacy in different subjects.



    • Every movie shows subtitles as standard. Subtitles encourage reading even when the student doesn’t realise they’re doing it. This extra practice will help improve reading and SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar) skills.


    • Key vocabulary is highlighted in each movie. Students can easily pick out and learn key terms, how to use them, and how they are spelt.
    • Listen out for the beep! BrainPOP UK movies have natural pause points. When Moby beeps is usually a good moment to pause as this often indicates the beginning of a new section of information within the topic. This gives the teacher time to assess how well the class is taking in the information, answer any questions, or to allow for student to finish any note-taking.


    • Specific topics like Reading Skills, Context Clues, and Note-Taking Skills help students make their literacy skills useful in every kind of lesson. Improving student’s confidence in using skills such as these – regardless of subject – encourages them to use and practice them more across the curriculum. Tim speaks at a gentle pace in BrainPOP UK movies, which helps student’s comprehension and also gives time for student’s note-taking.
    • BrainPOP quizzes for reading comprehension and/or listening comprehension – whether students are taking the quiz individually on a computer or tablet or taking the quiz as a class they will need to read and/or listen to the quiz questions and answers in order to complete the task. Students can also take turns reading the questions and answer options aloud to the rest of the class as extra speaking practice.
    • BrainPOP as a discussion tool – Using BrainPOP UK as a class discussion tool about items in the news or national events such as natural disasters, the United Nations or the World Cup gives students spoken language practice in a variety of subjects. It’s a great way to encourage children to not only investigate an issue themselves but to form their own opinion and confidently discuss it in class. From the 2014 National curriculum in England: English programmes of study:

    Spoken language – (6.2) Pupils should be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They should learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication. They should be taught to give well-structured descriptions and explanations and develop their understanding through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. This will enable them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.”


    Activities are worksheets that are available for every BrainPOP UK topic regardless of subject. Activities can include:

    • Recall questions
    • Essay questions
    • Graphic organisers so students can easily organise their thoughts or create clear notes for revision material
    • Practical tasks such as building a rocket

    Activities can be typed into and printed off filled in as typing practice or printed and used as handwriting practice.


    • Vocabulary sheets list all the key terms used in the movie and students must explain each of the terms in their own words.
    • This provides key literacy practice, helps students memorise subject specific key terms, and helps teachers check student’s comprehension of the terms and concepts used in the topic
    • Can be printed and glued into exercise books as a spelling guide and a revision tool.


    FYIs provide extra non-fiction texts around the subject to encourage further reading and research by the student which provide extra reading practice. These can be particularly useful to raise literacy engagement with boys, whom research has shown react well to non-fiction texts.


    Educational Games such as Quandary, Invasion, and Ayiti, although not English subject games, require reading comprehension practice to successfully complete the game. If games are used with the whole class then listening, speaking, and debate skills are also practiced by students working together to make decisions and taking turns to read aloud to the class. These skills are also exercised in games with lower levels of reading comprehension required such as Guts and Bolts, A Tangled Web, and Refraction.

    Complete list of BrainPOP UK English topics (and movie length):


    1. Adjectives (02:40)
    2. Adverbs  (03:48)
    3. Agatha Christie  (04:42)
    4. Antonyms, Synonyms, and Homonyms  (03:12)
    5. Back to School  (02:02)
    6. Biography  (04:34)
    7. Book Review  (03:10)
    8. Business Letter  (04:00)
    9. Capitalisation  (05:13)
    10. Charles Dickens  (05:28)
    11. Clauses  (04:50)
    12. Colons  (03:23)
    13. Compound Sentences  (02:16)
    14. Conjunctions  (04:43)
    15. Context Clues  (04:17)
    16. Contractions  (02:10)
    17. Debate  (05:21)
    18. Dictionary And Thesaurus  (04:44)
    19. Edgar Allan Poe  (06:04)
    20. Etymology  (05:49)
    21. Fact and Opinion  (04:57)
    22. Frankenstein  (04:34)
    23. Getting Help  (02:46)
    24. Homer  (04:59)
    25. Idioms and Cliches  (04:16)
    26. Improving Sentences  (05:04)
    27. Interjections  (02:17)
    28. J. R. R. Tolkien  (05:52)
    29. Jack London  (05:37)
    30. Judy Blume  (04:09)
    31. Kurt Vonnegut  (05:07)
    32. Lord of the Flies  (04:45)
    33. Main Idea  (04:44)
    34. Mark Twain  (03:29)
    35. Maya Angelou  (04:19)
    36. Mood and Tone  (04:17)
    37. Note-Taking Skills  (04:56)
    38. Nouns  (02:32)
    39. Outlines  (03:58)
    40. Pablo Neruda  (05:06)
    41. Parallel Structure  (06:17)
    42. Paraphrasing  (03:52)
    43. Parts of Speech  (02:09)
    44. Personal Pronouns  (02:24)
    45. Poetry  (05:24)
    46. Point of View  (05:10)
    47. Possessives  (04:03)
    48. Prepositional Phrases  (02:21)
    49. Prewriting: Choosing a Topic  (02:23)
    50. Prewriting: Organising Your Thoughts  (02:52)
    51. Public Speaking  (03:04)
    52. Punctuation  (02:52)
    53. Reading a Newspaper  (03:06)
    54. Reading Skills  (03:26)
    55. Referencing Sources  (03:48)
    56. Research  (03:07)
    57. Roald Dahl  (05:23)
    58. Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes  (03:51)
    59. Semicolons  (03:37)
    60. Sentence Fragments  (03:48)
    61. Show Not Tell  (03:27)
    62. Similes and Metaphors  (02:34)
    63. Stress  (04:49)
    64. Subject Verb Agreement  (02:12)
    65. Subject Verb Object  (02:01)
    66. Tenses  (06:55)
    67. Test Preparation  (03:00)
    68. Test Taking Skills  (03:24)
    69. The Writing Process  (03:44)
    70. They’re, Their and There  (01:56)
    71. Types of Sentences  (01:45)
    72. Types of Writing  (03:53)
    73. Verbs and their Objects  (02:24)
    74. Writing an Essay  (03:50)
    75. Writing Dialogue  (02:58)
    76. Writing In Sequence  (02:48)


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  • 24 Jul
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    Chuka Umunna, Labour’s shadow business secretary, warned parents are now “petrified” of the technological skills their children were being taught at school and must not be left behind (source: The Telegraph, July 2014).

    We’re with Maggie Philbin when she says “Tomorrow’s World should return to prime time television to educate parents who are intimidated by the technology their children are using”.

    But as awesome as that would be, what is your school doing to help bridge the digital divide between kids and their parents? What easy thing can you do with BrainPOP right now to start the ball rolling?

    Get kids to teach their parents, that’s what.

    We’ve made a free downloadable BrainPOP guide to modern technologies, behaviours, and concepts that kids are using that parents might want to learn more about. Download and share this PDF with your parent community.

    Watch these movies and get techie together. Break down that divide!

    Learn about digital technology with BrainPOP UK PDF

    Here’s the list if you want to just dive in…

    • Internet Search – Learn how to use an internet search engine and tips on the best ways to find exactly what you are looking for.

    Internet Search on BrainPOP

    • Computer Programming – Discover how people write computer languages called code, and how code is broken down into step-by-step procedures called algorithms. Then, see how to turn a lines of text into useful programs and activities!

    Computer Programming with BrainPOP UK

    • Online Safety – Find out how to avoid cyber bullying and find out about some places that are good for kids to hang out online.

    Online safety on BrainPOP UK

    • Video Games – Tear yourself away from that PlayBox and spend a few minutes learning about how your favourite games work!

    Video games on BrainPOP UK

    • Information Privacy – In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby show you how you can keep yourself safe online by keeping your personal information private! So don’t be scared of the Internet; educate yourself, and be prepared!

    Information privacy on BrainPOP UK

    • Cloud Computing – Tim introduces Moby to the wonders of cloud computing. How can cloud computing change the way we communicate, learn, and do business?

    Cloud Computing on BrainPOP UK

    • Email and Instant Messaging – Understand the differences between email and instant messaging, and how your Instant Messenger service knows who’s online and available to chat! Finally, you’ll get a few important safety tips for all online communication.

    Email and IM on BrainPOP UK

    • Social Networking – Find out exactly how social networks bring people together, and why so many users have signed up. Tim gives a few valuable tips to help you stay safe.

    Social Networking on BrainPOP UK

    • Blogs – Got something you want to share with the world? Try blogging!

    Blogs on BrainPOP

    • 3D Printing – This movie explains the ins and outs of this amazing new technology (but also why you shouldn’t throw out your inkjet printer just yet)!

    3D printing on BrainPOP UK

    • Data Storage Devices – Tim and Moby will tell you about binary, the special language made of 1’s and 0’s that all digital devices use to communicate and store data.

    Data Storage on BrainPOP

    • MP3 – Tim and Moby will teach you what MP3s are, how they’re created, and why they’re so popular.

    MP3 on BrainPOP UK

    • Cyberbullying – In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby take on cyberbullies – those not-so-lovable types who use cell phones, email, instant messaging (IM), and the Web to make you feel terrible. Tim will explain what to do if you are bullied online, showing you different strategies for keeping your online experience pleasant and safe.

    BrainPOP UK - Learn about Cyberbullying

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  • 01 Jul
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    Carluke high school logo

    Carluke High School, Carluke, South Lanarkshire

    • Local authority: South Lanarkshire
    • Pupil and teacher numbers as at September 2012: No. on roll: 1,098/Teacher numbers (FTE): 81.9
    • Secondary/State Funded/Integrated community school

    “Our school is a secondary, co-educational, non denominational, comprehensive, community school serving the town of Carluke and the neighbouring villages of Braidwood, Forth, Law, Kilncadzow and Yieldshields in rural South Lanarkshire. We have approximately 1,200 pupils ranging in age from 12 to 18 and a teaching staff of just over 100 teachers. We offer a broad, balanced curriculum delivered by 5 faculties and 6 teaching departments, a well equipped Library Resource Centre and 3 ICT Rooms.”


    This case study was conducted and produced independently by Carluke High school between August 2013 and April 2014, under guidance of the South Lanarkshire ICT Development Officer. BrainPOP web and app access was provided gratis. The outcomes of the project are reproduced in full below with kind permission of Carluke High school.


    2013-2014 saw Carluke High School be one of the first Support for Learning departments in Scotland to roll out the BrainPOP programme, in conjunction with mobile devices.

    The pupils expressed, both practically and verbally, a great deal of ownership in the work they did under BrainPOP. Feedback from the group was highly positive. The use of movies, texts illustrated with animated pictures and interactive group projects made learning fun and appeal to a wide range of learning styles.


    Carluke High School Session: 2013-14 Planning for Improvement

    Department: Support for Learning

    “The Support for Learning Department is an intensely practical area of school life. It is directly concerned with enabling and empowering learners to access the curriculum in all subjects.

    “The aim of the Support for Learning Department is to recognise the needs of learners, both in enhancing the curriculum for the more able and elaboration of the curriculum for the less able. In addition, to develop strategies to empower learners, support teaching colleagues and deliver practical help in and outwith the classroom by a variety of methodologies and resources, and deliver a pupil centered curriculum.”


    School Priority: Improving achievement and attainment

    Action (What are you going to do?)

    To enable ASN pupils within S2 Fast Tracking[1] to participate in literacy across the curriculum, through the BrainPOP UK app. This is a cross-curricular resource mapped to four stages of CfE, the purpose of which is to engage pupils, so that they understand concepts in a fun and stimulating way, making it a more memorable learning experience.

    Outcomes (What will be different?)

    • As this resource appeals to all learning styles, pupils will be enthused and motivated to learn in the class through the characters Tim and Moby, new skills and to reinforce existing skills.
    • The use of animation in learning should assist retention of information.
    • Reinforcement also comes in the form of typeable and printable activities which can be carried out during a lesson as they interact with the movie or at the end.
    • Parents will be able to participate in supporting their son/daughters learning by gaining access to the App at home.

    Carluke table of tasks


    Monitoring and evaluating evidence

    1. How will you evidence progress?
    2. What will progress look like?
    • Use Deep Beep[2] – Curriculum for Excellence matching tool to select area ASN[3] pupils require support
    • Pupils to experience the movies for each topic and then use the quiz to assess their understanding
    • Use the resource in different ways and evaluate the way they like using it best – individually on laptops, iPads or projected from iPad onto HD projector as a group resource
    • Evaluations carried out by pupils
    • Video Diary
    • GL Assessment[4]; YARC Assessment[5]; final assessment to be carried out to monitor progress
    • Liaise with subjects re BrainPOP being used across the curriculum


    Evaluation of progress & Impact for Learners

    August – October 2013 

    • Pupils introduced to BrainPOP and the main characters Tim and Moby, the movies, quiz and worksheets to support topics. The pupils were enthused by the two characters animatedly asking questions as a result of the colourful fun way of learning. Learning is further enhanced for the pupils by using iPads as they love learning from apps.
    • As BrainPOP is a cross curricular resource, log on details and details about how it is linked to Curriculum for Excellence were emailed to staff, thus providing all pupils access to this incredible resource, to support their learning.
    • PT Computing at South Lanarkshire Council was very impressed with the resource and created a link on the Intranet to make access easy for staff.
    • ASN pupils were issued with a handout to take home to parents with log on details so that they can access BrainPOP at home.
    • Deep Beep Curricular Matching tool used to identify topics linked to CfE, which allows staff to plan lessons.


    • Prewriting Topic – this looked at organising thoughts & sequencing, followed by a quiz to consolidate learning. This helped ASN pupils (Dyslexic) to plan their written work. This was further reinforced by a worksheet with ‘keywords’, which were discussed as a group.Pupils commented: “this is a different way of learning” and “it will make you remember better because of how funny Tim and Moby are and also the colours and pictures”.
    • The Writing Process Topic – Pupils benefited from this lesson not only for literacy but also across curricular subjects. Through the movie, worksheets, and keywords, pupils learned about writing drafts, checking over writing and submitting final drafts. One pupil commented: “This is the most fun period yet in school and I have learned lots”.
    • Writing an Essay Topic – Tim and Moby reinforced the skills required for writing an essay. Pupils looked forward to the quiz and had a competition to see how many questions they could get correct on the topic. They also used the accompanying worksheet to define the keywords used in the movie. As a result of the above, pupils were able to confidently plan their own essays, write their essays in an organised way and follow this up with a PowerPoint presentation.

    All of the above was documented on a VLog. This was filmed on the iPad, showing the pupils participating in BrainPOP within the class. This VLog was forward to BrainPOP and to South Lanarkshire ICT Dev. Officer.

    The feedback from BrainPOP was that they thought it was “amazing” and that it was great footage of our pupils animatedly engaged in learning. They were encouraged by BrainPOP’s comments.

    The pupils could not wait to see the VLog and loved watching themselves asking/answering questions. Pupils want to do more and we are planning an Animoto over the next few months.

    Seasonal Activity 1

    • Daylight Saving Time – Why we change the clocks in Spring and Autumn. Pupils are now developing their oral reading skills by reading out the quiz and also enhancing their vocabulary by learning the keywords.
    • Halloween– Pupils were excited to learn about Halloween through Tim and Moby. This time they practised their oral reading by taking turns in reading out the quiz and answering questions. Also the ‘FYI – Read More’ section, which allows pupils to read more on the topic. Again, they read this out from the iPad (projected), providing practise for their oral reading.

    November – December 2013

    • Staff were reminded again about BrainPOP and all the resources available. Some departments are going to look at it during the Inservice Day.

    Seasonal Activity 2

    • Bonfire Night – This movie triggered animated discussion on ‘bonfires’ and the safe use of fireworks. All pupils joined in. These discussions, within the small group situation, provides confidence for ASN pupils to join in discussions within larger classes across the curriculum.
    • Season’s Greetings (Winter Holidays) – Pupils were keen to improve their Literacy and ICT skills learning about how others celebrate Christmas. They used the laptops on this occasion and the activity enabled the pupils to choose and send an email to each other. They were all eager to carry out this activity and commented that “This is a fun way to send a Christmas message to our friends”. They were improving their literacy skills and developing their ICT skills.

    January – March 2014

    Year group S4 – Support for Prelim Examination using BrainPOP

    The group later stated that they found the way that Tim and Moby presented ‘Study Skills’ very entertaining and thought provoking, and provided guidance on how to approach different types of questions. This was a result of it appealing to different learning styles. They said that the “movies were great”.

    The topics covered were:


    Review of topics across the curriculum

    • The Fast Tracking group asked to go over topics that they had done in Physics and Biology. They said it is a great way to understand the topics as it is explained clearly.
    • The class requested that they use BrainPOP to revise topics before sitting assessments. The movies and quizzes are a fun way to revise and enjoyed revising for their Democracy Assessment for Modern Studies[6]. The class reported that they were more relaxed and confident going into the test and could answer most of the questions whereas their friends had difficulty. This resulted in them obtaining very good results and others asked how they did so well and they were able to tell them that they had used BrainPOP for revision using the keywords, movies and quizzes. Others had an assessment on the Slave Trade and the pupils said that the movie was “cool” and helped to remember the information.
    • Other assessments then followed in Chemistry, Acids and Alkalis and Biology, Tendons and Joints.The pupils watched the movie and took the quiz before they sat their assessments. The pupils scored very well in the quiz and were competing with the other Fast Tracking group, so they were able to compare scores making it a competitive learning experience. As a result of this extra support with their Chemistry and Biology they said that they had achieved a higher mark than they had expected.
    • Pupils were also encouraged to take notes from the movies within each of the topics they were revising. The movies are the correct length for note-taking practice. This introduced a new skill to the pupils, which would be particularly helpful across the curriculum as they move up the school. Pupils also took control of the BrainPOP movie, which was (this time) being projected and they stopped and started it to enable their peers to take notes. They took turns sitting at the teacher’s desk doing this and asking questions, feeling important and confident carrying this out.
    • Pupils were assessed before starting in the group in Nov 2012 using the YARC Assessment (York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension).Various strategies to improve their basic literacy skills were put in place, including BrainPOP, to support their learning. It was part of their course for the last 5 months up to their reassessment in December 2013. Results indicate that the oral reading age of the group increased on average by 3 years and their reading comprehension on average by 3 years 6 months. BrainPOP has certainly been one of the contributory factors in improving literacy within the group, providing greater access to the curriculum for these young people. They have continued to use it since then, as indicated above.
    • As well as producing a VLog showing the pupils participating in BrainPOP we also produced an Animoto. Pictures were taken for it using the iPad. The pupils were eager to watch themselves learning with BrainPOP on the Animoto. They have got a lot out of BrainPOP as it appeals to many of their learning styles. They have also provided feedback on their Evaluation forms, which also feature in the Animoto.


    • Pupils used BrainPOP for reinforcement of topics they had carried out in their Maths classes. They requested that they use BrainPOP to revise for their assessments as they had success using it to reinforce work in other subjects across the curriculum.The pupils commented that the movies and the quiz taken at the end helped them to retain information. Almost all pupils have benefited from using BrainPOP in this way.


    [1] “There are always a few pupils in S1 who experience difficulty with basic literacy and who need individual support throughout their secondary school careers.  An attempt to address this crucial problem with language has been made by the Support for Learning Department and is known as fast-tracking.  It has been running for many years now and the results from this intensive course are very encouraging”. http://www.carluke-highschool.org.uk/learning-teaching/support-for-learning

    [2] http://www.brainpop.co.uk/curriculum_matching_tool/

    [3] Additional Support Needs

    [4] http://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/

    [5] York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension

    [6] “The National 5 Modern Studies Course gives learners a detailed understanding of the democratic process and of social and economic issues at local, Scottish, national and international levels” http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/47448.html

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  • 28 Apr
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    Today we welcome a guest post from Lenny Dutton, Digital Librarian/Technology teacher at Halcyon London International School and blogger at the UKEdChat Educational Blog Award 2014 nominated www.excitededucator.com. She talks about why her school adopted BrainPOP and the variety of creative ways she employs our resources in her teaching.

    Halcyon logo

    “Halcyon London International School brings a new standard of life-readying education to one of the most culturally diverse, academically rich and historically important cities in the world. Opened in September 2013, Halcyon is the only not-for-profit, co-educational, exclusively International Baccalaureate (IB)* school in central London.”

    Halcyon Lenny

    Using BrainPOP to flip the classroom

    At Halcyon London International School we use BrainPOP UK regularly across all subject areas, both for homework and in class. Although we are a secondary school we still use the videos, as they are perfect for reinforcing what we are teaching, for introducing new areas, and to support our ESL students.

    The initial reason we bought BrainPOP was to help flip the classroom – we get students to watch a selected video at home, then they answer a few short questions on a Google Form about what they have learnt.

    This means students can focus on the video at home and re-watch parts if they need to. The form helps us to not only see if the student has done the work, but we can check for understanding.

    The results help us plan lessons better, as we can target students who didn’t understand the video or plan the lesson to go over parts lots of people have had trouble with.

    Mixing it up

    Of course I use videos in class too. I usually use BrainPOP’s quizzes to create my own multiple choice quizzes, adapting the questions and adding my own. I do this in a Google Form, and use the add on Flubaroo so the quizzes get graded for me! It’s fantastic for when I want to introduce a new topic I have never taught before too, like coding.

    Halcyon students using BrainPOP UK

    Broadening pupil (and teacher!) understanding

    We are a brand new, tiny school, so only have one teacher for each subject. This means you are often covering lessons for which you have little content knowledge, so I personally use BrainPOP to refresh my memory before doing this. I am always delighted with the amount of content BrainPOP UK has as I am always able to find something to help me when covering and also to bring into my class.

    We also create lists of videos that students can watch if they choose, to broaden their knowledge. This was particularly popular among our grade 6s when they did their SRE unit in Science. BrainPOP has a lot of videos about reproduction and puberty! I’ve even found that I can use some of the videos during Debate Club, such as the Feminism video for the debate “This house believes feminism has gone too far.”

    Spotlighting digital and information literacy skills

    I am a technology teacher, so use the Design Technology videos often in my classroom. However, I am also the school’s digital librarian, so use the library and information literacy videos and encourage other teachers to use them.

    I think that being shown these videos several times reinforced how important these skills are, and watching them several times means students will definitely retain the information from the videos (and have no excuse for plagiarising!).

    BrainPOP recently highlighted all their information literacy videos, so I was able to show them to teachers easily and also sent them home in the e-newsletter.

    I really enjoy using BrainPOP UK. I love the huge range of content, how clear and concise the videos are, and how it helps improve my teaching. My next aim is to embrace the Lesson Ideas more and to use the GameUP feature more.

    I would recommend BrainPOP UK to all teachers and librarians, both in primary and secondary!

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  • 17 Apr
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    There’s lots of great tools out there to help your students learn HOW to code, but the very first step should be to introduce and explain the concept of coding itself.

    And that’s where we can help.

    The move from ‘ICT’ to ‘Computing’ in the 2014 national curriculum is a fresh challenge to lots of UK schools. So we thought it might be useful to make our new ‘Computer Programming’ movie free to add to your website or blog. You can see below what it would look like.

    There’s no catch, it’s free and it’s up to you if you think it would be useful.

    • Embed it into your school website for parents to watch with their kids
    • Use as a primer for teacher CPD and the introduction of computing to the staff
    • Watch it in an assembly, before leaving it up on the school blog for later viewing
    • Does your school have a computing club? Embed it into your website as a promo video to help interested students get a feel for what coding is

    But we’re sure you can think of lots more uses!

    Request the code snippet by filling in the form on this page. Happy programming, everyone 🙂

    Fill out my online form.

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