Is it nearly Xmas already? Where did the year go?
Guess it’s time to dust off the Santa hat, crisp up the turkey and settle back with a glass of Moby’s special egg nog to take a wander down memory lane and give you my top 6 moments of 2012.
This is my 4th annual “Top moments…” post, by the way. If you want to look at our journey over the last 3 years (rose tinted glasses optional) you may do so from these links:
Back in the present? Nice. Let’s begin the countdown…
6) and 5) If you’re ‘appy and you know it
2012 saw the arrival of two significant product enhancements: full access to all the BrainPOP UK movies and quizzes on our mobile iOS app and single sign on & pupil assessment through our Google App. Even though they are two separate technologies I’m adding them together because they reinforce a message that’s important to BrainPOP: it’s not about the tech.
BrainPOP UK app on iPhone and iPhone
It’s about how the tech gives educators an increased ability to blend BrainPOP into a variety of different contexts. For example, this great blog post describes how our mobile app enabled students to learn independently:
“Recently I used the BrainPOP app to encourage students to learn independently from the teacher with great outcomes. Students were motivated to learn as they were in control. The element of choice motivated students to learn in a variety of ways. Students enjoyed the short animated movies and all feedback was very positive. Students felt that they learn better from using the app and that they found it easier to use than YouTube and BBC Bitesize because the way that the app was set out and the quality of the videos and quizzes. The multiple choice quizzes provide a competitive twist to AfL and all students enjoyed taking part.”
Gavin Smart, Teacher of Science at Priory Community School - ”Students learn independently using the BrainPOP UK app“
And for Google we have to highlight Norfolk Shared Services, the only county to have rolled out Google Apps for Education to all pupils and staff. First we were delighted to be endorsed by schools within Norfolk and meet the technical and curriculum criteria set by ICT and the Norfolk Integrated Education Advisory Service.
Then our Google app was added to their new cloud portal as the UK’s first LA wide integration to an educational resource!
This enabled 150,000 Norfolk students and teachers to seamlessly sign in to BrainPOP using their Google credentials and add their quiz results to their Google spreadsheets.
This is just the start. There’s such delights coming your way in 2013 it’s taking all my willpower not to disclose them to you now.
Just remember, it’s not the technology, it’s what the technology enables you to do.
4) Taking the 100 Word Challenge
The 100 Word Challenge is a wonderful example of a grass roots blogging/literacy initiative. Run (unpaid) by the inspiring Julia Skinner and her volunteer team of teachers it’s encouraging young writers across the world.
We were deeply honoured to be offered the opportunity to provide the creative writing prompt for the challenge in May 2012. We created a one-off animation which saw Tim & Moby trekking through a mysterious jungle only to discover…well, that was up the fertile imaginations of the entrants!
We 100% support the efforts of the 100WC and implore you to check it out. As a stimulus for literacy it’s one of the best.
3) Free BrainPOP CPD
In September we launched our Webinar series, free online CPD for teachers looking to learn how to enhance their BrainPOP knowledge.
We also hosted some amazing guest teachers such as Ian Addison who demonstrated “Google Apps and Project-Based Learning” and Danny Nicholson from Think-Bank on “Making your Interactive Whiteboard POP”.
We’ll be running one a month in 2013. If you would like to guest or co-present a webinar in 2013 please get in touch. It’s a terrific way to demonstrate to other teachers what you’ve found works in the classroom.
2) A grand day out, Moby style
In June Moby visited his first UK school, Titchfield Primary.
The class had produced some fantastic BrainPOP home work which they shared with us together with piles of hand made invitations to Moby. How could we refuse?
You can read the full story and watch Moby unexpectedly gate crash their assembly (and hug the Headteacher) in our post “A Grand Day Out“. A brilliant day was had by all
It’s also just as fun to see what the kids themselves had to say.
1) Reluctant writer
My No.1 is a small thing.
Insignificant, really, in comparison to some of the bigger, more headline grabbing entries above.
I chose it because if any moment in 2012 showed us why BrainPOP delivers a learning experience like no other then this has to be it.
Read the following first, by a year 3 boy:
“In summer the sun makes a rainbow from droplets of rain from the clouds. The sun can get very hot and if it goes on glass it can reflect the sun and could start a fire. When it is hot I stay inside on my bed.”
Seems unremarkable at first glance, right?
But this was the most this particular child had ever written. This is a child who was classed as a “P Scale writer” who usually verbally told the teaching assistant what he needed to say and copied from the scribe. This is a child who would be defined as a classic “reluctant writer”.
So why did we hear about it? Because it happened during a BrainPOP UK evaluation and specifically exposure to our “Rainbow” movie. It inspired him to independently put pen to paper and just write.
Apparently BrainPOP, and specifically Moby, connected him to the subject matter in such a way that it led to unexpected and profound literacy benefits. Learning about rainbows was only half the learning journey.
So that’s (nearly) it for 2012. From Tim, Moby and all the BrainPOPpers we wish you all a splendid Xmas and happy new year and we’ll see you, bright eyed and bushy tailed, in January 2013.
Chris Bradford, Head of BrainPOP UK