• 29 Sep
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    Procuring anything for a school is complex.

    Multiple vendors. Multiple quotes. Multiple contracts. It’s exhausting even thinking about it, and can drain a school’s precious time and resources.

    Think IT logo

    This is where the Think IT framework comes in. A “department store” for school services, with a best in class selection of products, of which we’re proud to be one.

    From http://think-it.org.uk:

    “Think IT’s unique approach to ICT procurement gives schools the freedom to choose what they want and need. We help you select the products and services that fit your needs from over 30 high quality educational suppliers through a DfE recognised pre-tendered EU framework, saving you the time and effort involved in going out to tender.”

    Why is BrainPOP UK a partner on this framework?

    Apart from being supportive of any service that makes life easier and saves money for schools, we have been extremely impressed at the Think IT teams dedication to service and improving education.

    You can buy BrainPOP direct from Think IT, and also investigate the other partners offerings.

    Once your school has selected all the products and services they want it’s one quote, one contract, one invoice.

    Take a few minutes to watch Paul Turner from Swinton High School in Salford describe his positive experience with Think IT.

    What services does Think IT offer?

    • Online Learning Content
    • Virtual Desktop
    • Classroom Management
    • Single Sign-On
    • Integrated MIS and VLE
    • Equipment
    • Print Management
    • Cashless Catering and Online Payments
    • Finance
    • Connectivity
    • Infrastructure as a Service
    • VoIP
    • Safeguarding
    • E-Safety
    • Mobile Device Management
    • Help Desk
    • Readiness Assessments
    • Consultancy

    If you want to know more then check out their website, or chat to us directly.

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  • 14 Sep
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    If you’ve recently updated your Chrome browser and visit BrainPOP UK you may see this…

    BrainPOP on Chrome

    Rest assured, BrainPOP isn’t broken. Chrome’s latest update makes you click a Flash element in a webpage to play it. This is actually aimed at making users click to play Flash adverts, but we seem to have been caught up in it (there are no ads on BrainPOP!).

    But the solution is simple. You can allow all Plugins to run, or just specify your Flash plugin.

    Option 1: Allow all Plugins to run

    1. Go to Google Chrome Settings
    2. Click “Show advanced settings…” at the bottom of the page
    3. Under the Privacy section, click “Content Settings…”
    4. Under the Plugins section, change to “Run all plugin content”
    5. Click done and refresh the BrainPOP homepage!

    Google Chrome setting to allow all plugins

    Option 2: Just your Flash plugin

    1. In your Chrome browser address bar type in “chrome://plugins/”
    2. Scroll down to “Adobe Flash Player” and check “Always allow to run”
    3. Go back to BrainPOP and refresh the page, and everything will go back to normal.

    Chrome - Always allow to run

    Option 3: As an alternative to running all plugin content for all sites, you can add an exception for BrainPOP specifically:

    1. Go to Google Chrome Settings
    2. Click “Show advanced settings…” at the bottom of the page
    3. Under the Privacy section, click “Content Settings…”
    4. Under the Plugins section, click “Manage exceptions…”
    5. Add an exception for [*.]brainpop.co.uk and set Behavior to “Allowed”
    6. Click done and refresh the BrainPOP homepage!

    If you are using BrainPOP on a school computer you may need to speak to your IT technician to effect the change, as you may not have administration rights.

    If you have any questions about this please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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  • 19 Aug
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    Your Scotland - Have Your Say competition logo

    We’re super excited to team up with RM, J2E, Young Enterprise Scotland, Falkirk and Dundee City Councils on the new “Your Scotland – Have Your Say” competition.

    The competition is STEM focused, and intended to encourage pupils to:

    • develop research skills
    • investigate challenges that affect Scotland
    • propose how they would solve them

    How will it work?

    From 17th August – 9th October 2015, BrainPOP UK will be made available to every primary school in Falkirk Council and Dundee City Council through their Glow Launch Pad.

    Primary school pupils across these two Local Authorities have been asked to identify and research a problem in Scotland which they think may cause problems for their school or town over the next five years and come up with a solution.

    There’s 2 parts – a research and topic inspiration stage using BrainPOP UK, followed by an animated video creation stage using J2E’s terrific J2spotlight tool, outlining what they’ve discovered and their proposed solutions.

    Tim and Moby - Your Scotland competition

    A board of judges will then review these presentations and a winner will be announced in November.

    To learn more about this competition visit the official competition page where you will find the students’ competition brief, how to get started and hints and tips of where to start.

    Please follow @RMUnify, @BrainPOP_UK, and @just2easy_com for tweets about the competition and use hashtags #yourscotland and #glowscot.

    Tim & Moby are looking forward to seeing what the pupils in Dundee and Falkirk produce! Who knows, there could be a world changing idea out there just waiting to be discovered…

    Your Scotland - Have Your Say competition partners

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  • 03 Aug
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    While the science in Jurassic World might be a little shaky you can’t dispute the enthusiasm it creates. So, what are some BrainPOP topics you use to tap into this extra boost of enthusiasm?

    It’s hard to not get excited about the Jurassic Park franchise and Jurassic World is no different. In fact, we got so excited about it that we completely remade and updated our dinosaurs topic to be even more awesome.

    Our Dinosaurs topic now has even more up-to-date information about these terrible lizards, explores how palaeontologists know what they know, and some little known facts about some of the coolest dinosaurs. Plus Tim and Moby get into a bit of a kerfuffle in a museum with some very special dinosaurs…

    But there’s more than just dinosaurs to get excited about when looking at the science of Jurassic World and here are our top BrainPOP topics picks about the science behind the park:

    1. Dinosaurs

    T Rex

    Obviously dinosaurs are the best part of Jurassic World and the various species that populate the movie are the stand out characters (we all know I’m mostly talking about Blue – the most awesome raptor) but the movie didn’t get all their names and behaviours completely correct. So, take a look at our new, improved dinosaur topic and see what palaeontologists think Utahraptors (what the velociraptors in the movie really are) and T. rex were really like.

    2. Fossils
    Fossils

    The park in Jurassic World (much like it’s predecessors) relies on extracting DNA from fossils to create their dinosaurs. While this isn’t actually possible it’s a great opportunity to talk about fossils, what they are and why we bother digging them up.

    3. DNA 

    DNA Topic Screenshot DNA, cloning, and transgenic animals are a large theme in Jurassic World and they’er not easy concepts to understand. Try our DNA, cloning, and Dolly the sheep topics to get a handle on what this kind of technology means for the real world.

    4. Extinction

    Extinction Topic Screenshot

    Extinction is a big concept to get your head around. It’s hard to imagine the sheer scope of a major extinction event and what could cause it. Because of how intricate biomes and ecosystems are it’s even harder to imagine the huge impact it can have even with smaller extinction events today.

    5. Carbon Dating

    Carbon Dating Topic Screenshot

     

    It’s hard to conceive how old the Earth is, just how long ago dinosaurs populated our world, and how we can know how long ago it was. This topic on carbon dating helps explain how we know what we know about how long ago creatures like the Mosasaurus lived.

    6. Life Preservers

    Life Preservers Screenshot

    Finally, to get a good grasp on evolution and adaptation and understand how modern birds are related to dinosaurs you can play GameUP’s Life Preservers.

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  • 24 Jul
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    Sometimes it’s hard to pick yourself up when you get a knock to your confidence, especially when you’re a kid and everything seems to be another test or assessment that you can fail. We can’t all be Chumbawamba after all.

    It’s not surprising that kids in general feel a lot of pressure at school; they’re constantly being assessed and tested and obviously schools want to be seen to be doing well at Ofsted and in league tables. Past a certain age kids simply don’t often get to learn through experimentation and making mistakes the way we do when we’re infants, instead it’s all about results.

    Test Taking Skills Topic Screenshot

     

    Not forgetting that you also get kids who were born to be worriers who are just really great at catastrophising any small failure into a world-ending problem – leaving them unwilling to try again and with a huge dent to their confidence.

    On top of that, in a 2013 study* researchers at Stanford and the University of Chicago found that the way we praise children can affect their achievement and the way they handle failure. Whether children were predominately encouraged using “process praise” (where the praise is focused on their effort or actions e.g. “You’re doing really well.”) or predominately praised using “person praise” (where they are praised on a fixed quality e.g. “You’re so clever.”) affected how well the overcame setbacks and how they approached challenges.

    Moby-thumbs-up

    Children who were praised with process praise more were a lot more positive towards challenges and believed that they could improve with effort. On the other hand, children predominately praised with person praise were more likely to give up on a task if they didn’t immediately succeed, as they were more likely to believe that their abilities were fixed and not changeable through effort.

    Even more interesting was that parents of boys were more likely to use process praise than parents of girls. So, this could be part of the puzzle for the common problem of girls giving up on tasks in the classroom if they don’t initially succeed.

    So, with all of these challenges to helping students build resilience, what can you do in the classroom to help?

    I have one word for you. Games.

     

    Babies, toddlers, and infants all learn primarily through play. Everything is exploration and experimentation. Everything is a game (or food, but then again most of the time food is a game too). When we fail in a game it’s not the end of the world, we learn from it, and we use the information we’ve gained to do better. In fact a lot of the time in games you have to get it wrong before you can get it right. Not only is it a really effective way to learn, it’s an effective attitude for life in general. After all, when you get knocked down, you really do need to get up again. (Thanks Chumbawumba; you were wiser than we knew.)

    Baby Moby

    Imagine how terrifyingly fearless a toddler Moby would be

    Well, what kind of games?

    Pretty much any kind of game you can imagine really. Board games, card games, playground games, clapping games, video games (both educational and off the shelf) anything playful can go in your educational toolbox to help.

    Polyhedrons Topic Screenshot

    What can games do?

    • The students who tend to struggle get a chance to shine when games are in play when normally they might lack confidence academically. This can actually lead to them having more confidence in themselves going forward when they realise they’re not doomed to always be bottom of the class.
    • High achieving students have the furthest to fall and often the fewest tools to get themselves back up again if they do. It’s just as important to teach high achieving students to be resilient in the face of failure as it is with students with less ability.
    • Even the shyest kids in a class tend to relax when things are focused around a game – it’s almost like they forget to be shy.
    • You get to have fun too.

    Sentence Fragments Topic Screenshot

     

    It’s the playfulness of games that’s key to reminding students that failure isn’t something to dread, and the more they do it the less afraid they’ll be. Games are low stakes practice at handling failure and handling it well. Remember how terrifyingly fearless toddlers are? That’s because they’re not afraid of failing.

    The more a playful approach can be brought into the classroom, the more potential it has to bleed over into students’ other work and their life in general, raising confidence, creativity, and self esteem.

    Resilience can be learned and we can be resilient in our learning, but first we need to remember how to play.

    So, where can I find games to play?

    Games are all around us and you probably play games on your smartphone, with your friends and family, and you can probably think of the best games you used to play when you were child. It’s also pretty fun to come up with your own, but here’s a few suggestions for starting points:Video games on BrainPOP UK

    • Charity shops are a good place to find old board games (as is the attic). Board games have come a long way since you were a child and can teach a lot of different things from how fire spreads to how pandemics work and what you can do to stop them. (As well as the expected team work, co-operation, and critical thinking) And they’re not always competitive either!
    • Card games can be easily found from friends, family, and the internet and are often great for maths learning.
    • Co-operative story-telling games whether they’re cube-based (and a free BrainPOPped version), card-based, or completely in your head they are great practice for creative writing and drama projects and they’re a lot of fun too.
    • Off the shelf video games from Minecraft to Portal you can use these in an endless array of lessons and subjects. Your imagination is the limit (or possibly your googling ability as there are many free online lessons plans using these games just waiting to be found).
    • Educational games – good educational games can be hard to find but you can find a curated section of useful, free educational games (with BrainPOP resources readily available for if you get stuck) in BrainPOP UK’s GameUp section
    • Friends and family – even adults love to play!
    • Ask your students! Not only will they be keen to tell you they’ll often let slip what they’ve been learning through it so it will be easier to integrate into a lesson.

    If you would like to read more about how to incorporate games into your lessons or why they’re great you can find our other resources on gaming in schools here.

    *Parent Praise to 1-3 Year-Olds Predicts Children’s Motivational Frameworks 5 Years Later, Child Development.

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  • 15 Jul
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    The sun is out/in/out again, the final ace has been served at Wimbledon, and the air is heavy with the smell of barbecuing sausages.

    The summer holidays must be here!

    BrainPOP-summer

    Children will be looking forward to weeks of summer fun (and so they should), but it’s worth looking ahead to the next school year and making sure they keep on learning. Here’s some BrainPOP ideas to keep minds fit and active during the summer break…

    Get into code

    Students following the new national curriculum for England will be following the new Computing program of study, some of which will involve learning how to code.

    We suggest you watch our “Computer Programming” movie, and then play our GameUp Tynker games. This will give your kids a good understanding of what coding is, how it’s used, and to take their first steps into coding.

    ComputerProgrammingFYIImage3

    Tim and Moby on the go

    Apparently  “44 per cent of UK children between the ages of three and 12 now own a tablet..(and)…amongst kids nine and over smartphones overtake tablets with 25 per cent of all nine to ten year olds owning one. This rises to 46 per cent for ages 11-12, with ownership amongst girls in particular reaching 53 per cent.” (from MCVUK, June 2014).

    This means there’s a good chance your family has access to a smart device of one type or another.

    Our popular Featured Movie app for Apple and Android shows a fresh BrainPOP movie every day, which means you can learn something new every day. AND it’s free. We’d say that was an offer you can’t refuse.

    BrainPOP UK App awards

    Will the sun have his hat on? We hope so. But don’t forget to top up your learning while you’re topping up your tan.

    • It’s easier than you think to go from a healthy glow to red raw burned skin. See how to protect yourself in the sun in our Sun Protection movie.
    • What exactly is the Sun? Put your shades on and watch our Sun movie to learn more about this celestial body.
    • Hopefully you’ll get to travel over the summer. We’ve put together a Spotlight about “Travel” which brings together all our travel themed topics. Bon voyage!

    We wish all BrainPOPpers a wonderful summer break! We’ll see you all in the next school year!

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  • 14 Jul
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    Pluto

    Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

     

    Amazing, isn’t it?

    Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft has travelled 3 billion miles to visit Pluto, and has been sending back the most incredible photos.

    It’s due to pass 12,500km from the surface and record never before seen images of this little world and its moons.

    What do you know about Pluto?

    Okay, since 2006 Pluto is no longer considered a full “planet”, but it’s still cool enough to have its own BrainPOP UK movie!

    In our movie, Tim and Moby will tell you all about Pluto and why it was demoted to dwarf-planet status. Find out more about the planet itself, including its composition, how it was named, its weird orbit, and moons.

    It may be small, but there’s lots to learn about this most mysterious of celestial bodies. And, if NASA is to be believed, lots more to come. We might need to update our movie soon!

    Pluto on BrainPOP UK

    PS: If this incredible piece of scientific discovery has left you wanting to learn more about the planets in our Solar System check out our Spotlight on Space for a selection of Space topics guaranteed to make you reach for the stars.

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  • 20 May
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    1.3 million.

    That’s how many mobile apps there are. Of that, around 10% are categorised as “Education”.

    130,000 educational apps! This staggering number of options can only lead to a paradox of choice. When there are too many options we get analysis paralysis and end up making bad choices or choices we come to regret.

    Moby scratching his head

    So you, as an educator or parent, must feel positively dizzy when faced with 130,000 apps to choose from. And this isn’t a throw away decision. There’s a certain amount of risk in the apps you deploy at home or in class.

    • Can you trust that an app will improve knowledge and understanding?
    • Is it the best fit for your planning, students, and teaching strategies?
    • Is it safe?
    • Is the information accurate?
    • Does it respect your student’s data?
    • Does it contain intrusive ads or under hand in-app purchases?

    Choice, choices. So what are the best educational apps? To help answer that we’d like to introduce one of our new partners, the Educational App Store, a fast growing new service that curates and recommends the very best educational apps.

    Educational App Store

    Their School Curriculum Gateway website supports the discovery of curriculum based apps and professional development. They work with a highly experienced teacher group that provides (independent) pedagogical assessments, and assist Educators in their search for applications, pulling together a personalised set of curriculum relevant apps geared towards your school’s specific strategic needs. You can read their assessments of BrainPOP UK and BrainPOP Jr.

    Also, it doesn’t matter what mobile device you use – it’s the apps and relevance they focus on.

    SPECIAL OFFER TIME! Schools that employ the EAS Curriculum Gateway are eligible to claim 6 months of BrainPOP UK absolutely free*. The offer unlocks our app and website for your whole school community, giving you access to all our cross curricular movies and resources.

    If you want to learn more please get in touch with the EAS team or sign up for their event in London at Barclay  primary school on 11th June 2015 (12.30pm to 4.30pm).

    Chris Bradford, Head of BrainPOP UK, says “The Educational App Store School Curriculum Gateway is a compelling solution to the time consuming and confusing task of finding great apps that match your school’s teaching and learning strategies. Accessing our movies and quizzes through our apps has risen exponentially over the last few years, which shows how mobile has become so prevalent at home and in schools. But it’s still a pretty new teaching technology and it’s services like the Educational App Store that will increase teacher confidence, save time, and keep the learning front and center.”

    Justin Smith, CEO and Founder of the The Educational App Store, says “EAS is proud to welcome BrainPOP as a premium app partner to its Schools Curriculum Gateway. Our mission is to drive up the standard of educational apps and to map them against the national curriculum, supporting and enabling the digital teaching community. With BrainPOP’s high quality curriculum content and wonderful apps, we can see the development of a regulated and tested marketplace

    *Terms and conditions apply.

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  • 14 May
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    We work with schools all over the world, often British international schools that follow a UK curriculum, and recently became a COBIS (Council of British International Schools) supporting member. We’d like to share some very kind words that we received from GEMS Royal Dubai school, who have been subscribers to BrainPOP UK, BrainPOP ESL, and BrainPOP Jr since 2011.

    Royal Dubai school logo

    About GEMS Royal Dubai School

    Opened in September 2005, GEMS Royal Dubai School offers a high quality education from Foundation Stage to Year 6. It is the only school in the area to offer the National Curriculum for England, taught by British trained and experienced teachers, chosen for their abilities to create a motivational, child-centred environment.

    BrainPOP UK (7-14) Tania Basson, Year 3 Teacher/Team Leader

    “I have had the pleasure of using BrainPOP UK with the students in my Year 3 classroom for the past 3 years. What the children enjoy most is that the characters use child friendly language. The conversations that Tim and Moby have are ones that could be taking place between two 8 year olds! They ask questions that the children want to know and answer them in simple to understand language. What I like is that the correct terminology is used, so that the children are learning while thinking that they are just having fun.”

    BrainPOP ESL (English as a Second Language) – Rebecca Dickinson, Head of ELL

    “BrainPOP ESL seems have everything my English Language Learners need to develop their English. The App is easy for all to navigate with just a couple of taps to get started, and being able to access it via the website or app makes it more appealing. Learners can access lessons and practise their skills independently through a variety of multi-sensory activities. For teachers the Grammar Index is a great resource for a glance at what each unit covers enabling targeted support. Being able to access a child’s progress for each level is important for parents, teachers and learner through the ‘My Progress’ area.”

    BrainPOP Jr (4-7) Deborah Lambell, Year 2 Teacher/Digital Learning Leader KS2

    “BrainPOP Jr is an excellent tool which supports all curriculum areas. I have found it particularly useful for lessons such as Science and Mathematics. The video clips are interactive and capture the children’s imagination, introducing concepts in a clear way with fun characters the children enjoy watching. The children comment: “We like BrainPOP Jr because it teaches them new things including facts”.

    If you teach at a school outside the UK, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us a line or take out a free trial.

    [button font_size=”20″ color=”#c8232b” text_color=”#ffffff” url=”http://www.brainpop.co.uk/freetrials/establishment/evaluate/” target=”_blank”]Free trial[/button]

     

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  • 08 May
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    6 questions posed on Twitter by BrainPOP about student differentiation, answered live by teachers using #BPOPchat, May 2015.

    1. How do you define differentiation?
    2. What are the best examples of differentiation that you’ve seen?
    3. What are some tools, tasks or experiences that provide multiple entry points for students?
    4. How are you using BrainPOP resources to differentiate?
    5. What are some methods for explaining differentiation to students? Is it appropriate to do so?
    6. What are your favorite resources for learning about differentiation strategies?

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