• 09 Jan

    As freshly minted MirandaNet Associates BrainPOP are proudly co-hosting a live panel discussion on games based learning in the MirandaNet lounge at BETT 2014.

    mirandanet_nl

    What is it?

    In this MirandaMod, the topic being discussed is “Playing Games – Does gaming offer effective learning contexts?“. On the panel will be a number of industry experts, all of whom will present their thoughts and take questions from the audience.

    Chair:

    • Terry Freedman, Independent educational ICT consultant and writer at ICT in Education

    Contributors:

    • Dr. Kari Stubbs, Vice President, Learning and Innovation at BrainPOP
    • Derek Robertson,  Lecturer at University of Dundee, previous National Adviser Emerging Technologies and Learning at Education Scotland (read more about Derek’s amazing adventures in games based learning work on his blog)
    • Mark Chambers, Naace – CEO of NAACE
    • Karolin Serafin from Yellow Dot
    • Simon Poole, Senior lecturer at Chester University
    • Chris Green, Director of Blended Learning at Manga High

    If you have any interest in games based learning this is a line up worth beating down the door to get to hear and question. There will be limited space so get your free tickets as soon as you can. The discussion will also be recorded and hopefully live streamed so anyone from around the world can listen in.

    Who should attend?

    Anyone curious about the pedagogical value of game based learning, no matter how novice or expert.  It will be friendly and informal, and it’s 100% free. It will be followed up by a MirandaNet research group meeting on games based learning.

    When is it?

    Wednesday 22nd January 2014 16:30-17:30

    Where is it being held?

    MirandaNet Lounge; Gallery Suite 4, BETT 2014. Come and see us on stand B200 if you want to know more. Don’t forget you will need to register for a free ticket to the BETT event too.

    How do I sign up?

    Sign up for free on Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/mirandanet-5446600173

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  • 18 Dec

    As Moby finishes dusting the mince pies, Tim writes his Santa list, and the team gear up for the Xmas party, I’m taking my annual look back across the year, 12 months that can only be described as an “Annus Mobybilis“.

    (This is my 5th annual “Top moments…” post, you are welcome to take a wander through 200920102011 and 2012 if the fancy takes you).

    Moby snowflake

    Who (or what) will be No.1 this year? Read on, dear BrainPOPpers, all will be revealed!

    No. 6 – People are #awesome

    We’ve been knocked sideways by people’s generosity with their time, praise and reflections on BrainPOP this year. It’s humbling and very motivating.

    We were Nominet Internet Awards Shortlisted in June,  selected as PTA+ magazine’s “Top 10 buy” in their 2013 summer edition, received the EAS 5 star recommended award for our apps in September, and finished the year as a BETT Awards 2014 finalist in November.

    Teachers and parents on Twitter also continue to bless us with their support.

    Forgive us for this rather self indulgent entry but we wanted to take the opportunity to say a BIG THANK YOU in return to everyone who has taken the time to support us over the last 5 years. You know who you are and you are #awesome.

    No.5 – Are you sitting comfortably?

    Tim & Moby get sent lots of letters and fan art by post, which all get proudly displayed on the wall at BrainPOP UK HQ.

    But this year we have to bow down to talented 6 year old BrainPOP uber-fan Elizabeth, who, with help from Granny, made us 4 wonderful Moby cushions. They now take pride of place in our office.

    Moby cushions

     

    We’d also like to throw high fives out to all the kids from around the world that sent their Moby badge designs to our competition in July.

    No.4 – From Robot to Android

    You may know about our Apple app but 2013 saw the release of our free Featured Movie app for Android tablets and smartphones.

    Why was this significant? Because this brings us ever closer to achieving the ideal of being device agnostic, to enable children to access BrainPOP when and where they want to. Android devices comprise 80%+ of the consumer market and kids using our movies to study independently at home is one of the most valuable aspects of BrainPOP.

    Get our BrainPOP UK Android app

    No.3 – Games get played. Seriously.

    Our learning games portal, GameUp UK, where BrainPOP resources are aligned with the very best learning games, was launched at BETT 2013.

    We’re strong advocates of game-based learning to motivate, encourage participation, and improve problem solving skills.

    And learners seem to feel the same way. How do we know?

    Because BrainPOP users have racked up 139,000 cumulative hours of play on GameUp UK this year.

    Now that’s playing with a purpose.

    No.2 – The hardest working team in (edu)showbiz

    Making an Android app and launching GameUp would be enough to keep the average team busy. But this is not an average team. So, with 5 years under our belt, I want to recognise the hard work, smarts, and dedication of the BrainPOP UK team. In 2013 the team also…

    And loads more, more than I can list. I am immensely proud to work alongside them. They have moved mountains this year to keep BrainPOP UK fresh, relevant and engaging for teachers and learners.

    Good work, BrainPOPpers, good work.

    No.1 – BrainPOP gets Clicked

    OK, so here’s the story.

    At the Nominet Awards dinner in June we were lucky enough to be seated next to the host, the rather fabulous tech journalist and BBC Click presenter, Kate Russell.

    We got chatting and talked BrainPOP, which she really liked the look of. We had a blast on the night, but as we didn’t win, we didn’t think much more on it.

    Until a few months later we started seeing tweets coming in congratulating us on being featured on the BBC’s flagship technology show, BBC Click.

    Wow. Watching Kate review BrainPOP on TV was a brilliant moment, and we’ve since welcomed many new subscribers who watched that show.

    BrainPOP on BBC Click with Kate Russell


    It’s been an amazing year. From Tim, Moby and all the BrainPOPpers we wish you all a very merry Xmas and new year. We’ll be back, ready to BrainPOP, in January 2014.

    Chris Bradford, Head of BrainPOP UK

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  • 06 Dec

    In this guest post the Skerman family recount how BrainPOP has supported their son, Tobes, who has particular special needs.

    “When I was home educating it was really challenging to find the good resources from the poor.

    Tobes had been home educated for three years as he has a genetic physical disability and is also profoundly dyslexic. He is now at an independent special school – a specialist school for children with complex medical needs and for those with dyslexia and learning difficulties.

    They have been amazed at the general knowledge that Tobes has, and a great deal of this is down to the time we have spent using the BrainPOP app. It’s an amazing resource for children, and especially children like Toby who are intelligent, but unable to access the written word as other children can.

    Tobes will go to BrainPOP out of choice, it’s right up there with Angry Birds on the list of most used apps! He loves it, and benefits from the fun, truthful and down to earth way it is presented.

    Our whole family now responds with “Give me £50” when asked what they would like/want, Tobes finds huge amusement in the Tim and Moby banter!

    BrainPOP UK - Etymology movie - Give me 50

    We use BrainPOP now as a fun educational tool, and for home work. Tobes sister is 14 and will often double check her prep against the BrainPOP app.

    Technology is often slated I find, but the great stuff should be celebrated as it is far more useful than many give it credit for. Tobes has fingers which dislocate using a pencil and writing/ reading is a challenge. Put the two together and accessing education can be an uphill struggle.

    We know that he is a bright little chap, and to have apps like yours, which bypass his disabilities has truly helped him reach his potential in a way that a book could never have achieved. He can learn independently with us involved – but with him being able to inform us, rather than us having to ‘tell’ him.

    Much better for self esteem, so thank you for thinking about all children – it means a lot.”

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  • 11 Nov

    We are over the moon to let you all know that the BrainPOP UK Featured Movie app has been shortlisted as a finalist in the ‘Educational Apps’ category in the prestigious BETT Awards 2014.

    app-BETT-awards-2014

    “The Bett Awards represent a partnership between i2i Events Group and BESA, the trade association representing educational supply companies. While the unprecedented number of entries has made it tougher for the judges, it does mean that the shortlist identifies the very best resources and suppliers for schools. The shortlisted products and organisations all offer outstanding, quality resources that will undoubtedly inspire and motivate learners. Due to the international recognition of Bett in terms of its place in showcasing the latest learning technologies, the Bett Awards provide educators all over the world with a means of identifying the most innovative and effective ICT products and services.”

    Caroline Wright, director of BESA

    We’re delighted to be finalists, especially in this brand new category, as they’re probably the biggest edtech awards in the world. We are strong advocates of the benefits of mobile learning. We regularly receive emails from schools, parents and kids that just love having access to our resources on the go.

    But even more than that the benefit of safe, accessible independent learning cannot be underestimated. The ability for children to explore, discover and create is made 10 times easier with a smart device and the right apps.

    If you want to see how our Apple© or Android™ apps can support learning download them here for free www.brainpop.co.uk/support/mobile.

    The winners of each category will be announced at the Bett 2014 Awards Ceremony on Wednesday 22nd January 2014. See the full list of finalists in all categories: www.bettawards.com/finalists. Good luck to everyone!

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  • 16 Sep

    Did you catch Tim & Moby on the TV?

    BrainPOP was featured on the BBC’s flagship technology show, BBC Click, at the weekend (14/9/2013).

    BrainPOP on BBC Click with Kate Russell

    Tech journalist Kate Russell showed BrainPOP UK on her popular ‘Webscape’ segment, her “weekly review of the best apps and websites”.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01gn3c8

    BBC Click has always been a firm favourite and must watch for the BrainPOP team so you can imagine how excited and honoured we are to be featured.

    Kate says:

    “To keep the children entertained and educated, BrainPOP is a digital learning platform for mobile and desktop that makes soaking up knowledge feel more like playing a game, with the help of two fun characters, Moby and Tim. The website uses animations, games, interactive quizzes and loads of other fun stuff to reinforce the learning experience. “

    BrainPOP on BBC Click

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  • 12 Sep

    Big app news! Our BrainPOP UK Featured Movie app and BrainPOP Jr Movie of the Week app have both been awarded 5 stars and the prestigious “EAS Recommended” certification.

    EAS recommends BrainPOP UK

    “BrainPOP have created beautifully animated videos with accompany quiz testing features…that will suit the classroom learning environment or will do well to support extended learning at home.”

    http://www.educationalappstore.co.uk/app/8724/brainpop-uk-featured-movie

    What is the EAS Certification?

    It’s all about “determining what makes a good educational app”.

    Here’s what EAS says:

    “There are over 100,000 educational apps available in the stores. A lot of them overlap and are in similar subjects therefore, it is important to be able to identify what makes a good educational app. We created the EAS Certification in order to benchmark the apps against a set of pedagogical criteria and academic research. Our community of teachers review and rate the app using our pedagogical EAS Certification.

    1. A strong association with learning outcomes (whether curriculum or non-curriculum based).
    2. Interactivity with the learner via correction and feedback on any questions that are set.
    3. An ease of use of the app so that the learner does not need any guidance and teach one’s self if necessary.
    4. A variety of levels in the app so that learners can progress and different levels of learning within the same age-group can be taken into account.
    5. The ability to collaborate on work with others and co-create.
    6. The impetus to motivate learners to go beyond the apps and find more information on the subject at hand.
    7. The impetus to engage learners and hold their attention to fulfil learning objectives.
    8. Clear pricing, no in-app purchases and privacy controls.
    9. Good quality, design and sound features.
    10. Content without errors in subject matter and/or spelling.”

    This criteria means that only the most educationally valuable apps receive the EAS certification. We were identified as useful for:

    • Cognitive Development
    • Critical Thinking
    • Life Skills
    • Academic Relevance

    Give our app a try – it’s free, can be linked to existing BrainPOP site subscriptions and is available for both Apple and Android devices.

    Get our BrainPOP UK Android app

    App itunes badge

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  • 05 Sep

    Have you noticed an amazing new addition to some of our Topic pages?

    Lesson Ideas button

    New for Autumn term 2013 we’ve started the process of adding BrainPOP Lesson Ideas to each Topic. Look for a “Lesson Ideas” button on a movie page and click it to see the associated lesson support.

    The Lesson Ideas for our Credit Card Topic

    These ideas were provided by teachers from all over the world, based on successful classroom practice. Each one provides one or more lesson frameworks, a way to use our resources to create an engaging learning experience. Some Lesson Ideas will cross over multiple topics but we’ll be adding many more over the coming months.

    The age ranges, ideas and activities are quite broad and intended to be flexible. You could follow a Lesson Idea to the letter or adapt parts of the plans as you see fit.

    We’ll also be looking for NEW Lesson Ideas soon, so if you have any BrainPOP based Lesson Ideas you want to share with us please keep them safe and sound.

    Here are 7 Topics with new Lesson Ideas to get you started:

    Arts: Mozart

    WolfgangAmadeusMozartScreenshot3

    English: Similes and Metaphors

    SimilesandMetaphorsScreenshot2

    Humanities: Humans and the Environment

    HumansandtheEnvironmentScreenshot3

    Maths: Adding and Subtracting Integers

    Adding and Subtracting Integers

    PSHE: Credit Cards

    CreditCardsScreenshot1

    Science: Human Body

    HumanBodyScreenshot3

    Tech: Internet Search

    InternetSearchScreenshot3

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  • 08 Jul

    BrainPOPpers Hayley and Jude had the pleasure of attending the first Blackpool Celebrating Science Conference, an innovative event where children from local schools had the opportunity attend lots of different science based workshops.

    The day ranged from handling creepy crawlies and constructing erupting volcanoes, to making bananas chime with a MaKey MaKey.

    Blackpool Celebrating Science Logo

    Celebrating Science

    The conference brought representatives from primary schools around the area to St. Mary’s Catholic College; a school specialising in maths and computing with fantastic facilities.

    St. Mary’s kindly let BrainPOP UK and the other workshop leaders take over classrooms and labs for the day to put the kids through their scientific paces, and of course to inspire the teachers with different ways science and ICT can be incorporated into lessons.

    Though the first group was as quiet as you would expect for first thing in the morning in a strange venue (and one filled with big kids!) it wasn’t long before they opened up and started getting stuck in.

    First up we got them to tell us what they already knew about electricity and the types of things we use it for, then showed them the BrainPOP UK Electric Circuits movie to bridge any gaps in understanding and introduce the concept of conductors and insulators – our focus for the day.

    Blackpool celebrating science workshop

     

    The Desk of Curiosities

    After the kids told us what they learned from the movie about conductors and insulators they then came up to what we dubbed the “Desk of Curiosities” which was crammed with a selection of oddities from our homes and the BrainPOP UK office.

    The kids had the opportunity to feel the objects and work out what they were made of, then voted as to whether they thought they would or wouldn’t conduct.

    They had fun working out what some of our troublesome items were such as a marble apple and some sneaky items like a ceramic statue with a hidden piece of copper tape.

    We went through the piles of “yes”, “no”, and “maybe” objects by connecting them up to a MaKey MaKey and testing them by using this piano made in Scratch. If the object conducts then the piano would chime! We even had all the kids hold hands and used ourselves as one of the conductors to start a talk on safety around electricity.

    We purposefully chose some surprising objects like the banana and the Play Doh and the kids got a chance to reassess some of their guesses when a result surprised them. In the end we finished up with our conduction hall of fame and talked about which ones we were most surprised by and thought of other things we’d like to test if we did the experiment again.

    One of the best moments of the day was when one group (disbelieving that the banana we had just tested could really conduct) insisted that we peel it, break it in half and eat a piece before they believed we hadn’t tampered with it! That constant questioning lies at the heart of good science.

    We finished up by making our own game pad to control BrainPOP’s GameUp games – the most popular one of the day was a maths game called Dublox which we played as a team. There were even kids who had finished other workshops watching us at the windows working out the puzzles for when it was their turn later!

    A Grand Day Out

    All in all we had a wonderful day hearing all about what the kids had learned and experienced in other workshops (the creepy crawlies were particularly popular) and seeing how much fun they had in ours. We got some fantastic questions about electricity and conductors from the kids, and even the secondary school prefects who were guiding the students to their workshops couldn’t help but join in to help solve Dublox.

    The kids seemed to enjoy the day as much as we did and we received some lovely feedback from both teachers and children. A teacher from Devonshire Primary School said, “It gave me ideas on how to use ICT in science. Useful videos to use as part of a lesson. Would use in a lesson and interested in getting a ‘MaKey MaKey’!” and a quote from one of the children who attended, “I really enjoyed it. I learnt that it doesn’t have to be a metal as a conductor.”

    If you’d like to give trying out BrainPOP and the MaKey MaKey in your own lessons you can find a lesson plan to try based on this workshop here.

     

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  • 17 Jun

    We are super excited to present the 4 winning badge designs in our 2013 Moby badge idea competition.

    We received 100s of amazing entries from all over the world, showing such a wonderful range of ideas and talent that Moby nearly blew a fuse trying to decide his favourites. You’ll find each new design and the winning idea that inspired it below.

    Each winner will see their badge made into a real life Moby badge, and receive a first print set. Winners and special mentions will be notified by email in the next couple of days. Thank you everyone who entered!

    line 3

    “Mo-be, or not Mo-be? That is the question”

    Why we liked this idea: Our Shakespeare topic is very popular but we’ve never had a badge design to go with it! We loved the idea of Moby posing as Hamlet during his famous “Alas, poor Yorick…” speech. Or should that be “Alas, poor Tim”?
    Congratulations Lauren R, Oakdale Junior!

    Moby? Or not Moby? badge

    Moby or not Moby original

    line 3

    Mo-Bee

    Why we liked this idea: What’zzz not to like about a buzzing, flying Mo-bee? Someonezzz clearly been inzzzpired by our Honeybees topic!
    Congratulations Ivy I, Oakdale Junior!

    Mo-Bee badge

    Mo-Bee original

     

    line 3

    Mobylisa (with an enigmatic smile)

    Why we liked this idea: The most famous painting in the word, the Monalisa, by Leonardo Da Vinci, is an inspired idea for a Moby badge. But look at his enigmatic smile! What can he be thinking..?
    Congratulations Araz T, Kuwait English school!
    Mobylisa badge

    Mobylisa original

     

    line 3

    Tuten-Moby, Robot Pharaoh of Egypt

    Why we liked this idea: We’ve had a Mummy badge but not a Pharaoh badge. Apparently whoever discovers the tomb of TutenMoby will be cursed forever!
    Congratulations Nicole G, Saint Joseph Institutional Elementary School!

    Pharaoh TutenMoby badge

     

    TutenMoby original

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    Special mentions:

    There were some ideas that, while they didn’t make final design, are worthy of note. The two entries below are special mentions and will be receiving a pack of new badges each.

    MerMoby by Eleanor T, St John Baptist school

    MerMoby

    80s Synth Moby by Kelli Louise P, Longton Lane school

    Synth Moby

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  • 10 Jun

    We saw such a terrific video on the BrainPOP Educators blog this week that we had to re-blog to bring it to the attention of our UK readers.

    “Mooresville North Carolina has gotten national publicity for their successful implementation of a one to one laptop program. So we were thrilled to see that BrainPOP was featured in a video about Mooresville on EdWeek’s “Digital Curricula Evolving” video series. In this video, see how 6th grade teacher, Judy Cohen, assigns BrainPOP videos as homework “to introduce, to reinforce and to remediate.” She also describes how video is engaging today’s students. “it doesn’t replace the interaction, but it does help them to formulate questions.” Cohen is clearly a gifted teacher, and she describes how using online video has profoundly changed the way she teaches.”

    Andrew Gardner, Senior Manager, BrainPOP Educators
    BrainPOP in Mooresville NC – a Video from EdWeek

    The video really does highlight how BrainPOP is embraced as a resource in Judy’s classroom. Even though it’s a school several 1000 miles away from most readers of this blog we think the themes are universal.

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