• 26 Mar

    On 28th February 2014 BrainPOP UK, Jesmond Gardens SchoolSpace To Learn, and C-Learning came together to host an event showcasing some of the most interesting educational technologies available to schools today.

    It was a new type of learning event, split into distinct areas hosted by experts, teachers, and kids.

    Attendees were given the opportunity to get hands on and in-depth with games based learning, iPads, Chromebooks, and Google Apps for Education.

    Everyone was encouraged to play, ask questions, and explore ways to embed this technology into their practice. Experts were on hand to answer any questions – BrainSpace is designed to be inclusive to all levels of technical understand or experience.

    The feedback was terrific and it seemed the attendees got lots of value from attending.

    We’d like to thank everyone who took a chance on BrainSpace, from delegates to presenters to hosts, as it was new to us all. But we’d especially like to thank the kids from Jesmond Gardens school who did their teacher and themselves proud. Seriously, everyone said you were awesome.

    The future of BrainSpace – what did WE learn?

    This event was such a success and really seemed to strike that sweet spot between product and practice that we’d like to take BrainSpace to other parts of the UK.

    1. Space to Learn was a brilliant venue and well connected to the community. It’s important that we source interesting and vibrant tech venues for future events.
    2. It’s an event that works best with smaller numbers on each tour so everyone gets a chance to join in and get their hands on the tech. A big crowd would squash that vibe and leave people out.
    3. Everyone was so buzzed about what they were learning we had lots of requests for “mingle time” to meet other attendees and share thoughts. We’ll work on doing this better next time.

    If anyone who went has any other feedback please do let us know.

    If you’d be interested in knowing when and where the next BrainSpace will be sign up below and we’ll make sure you get emailed before we even tweet it!

    Fill out my online form.

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  • 25 Mar

    Following pre-test consultation in 2013 we pleased to announce that BrainPOP has been selected to be part of the online reading materials in 2014′s Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy.

    ssln

    Gordon Brown, Assessment Manager at Scottish Qualifications Authority, explains why they chose BrainPOP materials:

    “SQA are constantly searching for a wide range of texts that will engage and interest learners. BrainPOP materials do just that and we are happy to use one of their clips as one piece of a large assessment jigsaw”

    We’re excited and honoured to have been selected to be part of Scotland’s national schools standards survey. If you are a Scottish school and want to evaluate BrainPOP please contact us.  BrainPOP UK is mapped to the Curriculum for Excellence and available through GLOW.

    Moby with bagpipes

    What is the SSLN?

    “The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) is an annual sample survey which monitors national performance in literacy and numeracy in alternate years, for school children at P4, P7 and S2. 

    The SSLN was developed to support assessment approaches for Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). It provides a snapshot of Scotland’s achievement in literacy and numeracy at a specific point in time and allows for comparisons over time to be made. 

    The SSLN is a joint venture. The Scottish Government, Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority work together to design and deliver the survey.

    The survey consists of a set of written and practical assessments and questionnaires for both pupils and teachers. All schools in Scotland (except special schools) are invited to take part, and almost all do. Approximately 11,000 pupils and 5,000 teachers participate in the SSLN from across the 3 stages being assessed. 

    The SSLN is intended to provide relevant information about pupil achievement, assessing numeracy and literacy in alternate years which local authorities, schools and ministers can use for purposes of quality assurance, evaluation and improvement. 

    The SSLN will be published as Official (or National) Statistics.”

    Extracts reproduced with with kind permission from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/SSLN

    More information on the SSLN can be found on the Scottish goverment website , SQA’s page about the SSLN, and the SSLN website.

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  • 11 Mar

    From September 2014 “computational thinking” and computer programming/coding will be part of the national curriculum, across all the key stages.

    Computer Programming BrainPOP UK

    We know this isn’t a challenge to be taken lightly so we’re here to help you meet it. And, perhaps, even make it fun :-)

    To support schools and parents introducing coding we’ve done two things (the first of many to come):

    1. Created a brand new ‘Computer Programming‘ Topic, which explains the fundamentals underlying programming.
    2. Teamed up with our friends at Tynker to add their programming games to GameUp UK.

    Where should you start?

    First of all, use the ‘Computer Programming‘ Topic to introduce the concepts around coding – essentially how to think and act like a coder.

    Using these resources will build a level of comfort with potentially unfamiliar terms like ‘loops’ and ‘functions’. The movie also de-mystifies scary sounding words like ‘Variable’, ‘Condition’, and ‘Output’ – in the signature BrainPOP style, of course – which will prepare learners to tackle the accompanying ‘Identify It‘ activity.

    ComputerProgrammingScreenshot3

    But programming techniques don’t have to be taught digitally. In fact, a bit of hands on might work wonders.

    Our accompanying Lesson idea “Program your Partner” brings a physicality to a digital concept that can help students grasp the concept more easily. Aimed at Years 4 – 12, this hands-on, movement-based lesson, students will use BrainPOP UK resources as they are introduced to the concept of coding and programming. They will create short programs and sequences and then follow the computer programs from their individual partners.

    All you need are sticky notes!

    Now to get really playful.

    A great way to reinforce what they’ve learned is practice through play - from guiding a puppy to flying through space – using the four Tynker games in GameUp UK.

    Bonus tip: You can also download the new free Tynker app so continue your coding practice on your Apple device.

    Puppy Adventure

    After a day in the park, Pixel’s been left behind. Connect visual code blocks in the right way to help him avoid obstacles and get back home.

    Tynker - Puppy Adventure screenshot

    http://www.brainpop.co.uk/games/tynkerpuppyadventure/

    15 Block Challenge

    Create your own animation with programming blocks! What’s the coolest scene you can code using only 15 blocks?

    Tynker - 15 Block Challenge

    http://www.brainpop.co.uk/games/tynker15blockchallenge/

    Lost in Space

    Biff the spaceman has crash landed onto a deserted asteroid. Help him reach his moon base by solving these coding puzzles!

    Tynker - Lost in Space screenshot

    http://www.brainpop.co.uk/games/tynkerlostinspace/

    Sketch Racer

    Program Snap the turtle to draw shapes and patterns using simple commands that he can understand.

    Tynker - Sketch Racer screenshot

    http://www.brainpop.co.uk/games/tynkersketchracer/

    But don’t stop there! BrainPOP’s computer technology section includes topics like:

    • Computer history
    • Computers
    • Internet
    • Cloud computing
    • Data storage devices
    • Video games
    • Ada Lovelace

    …and more. These topics can help students understand how the technologies they use everyday work and the inspiring people who made them.

    We’d also recommend playing the Common Sense Media games ‘Search Shark‘ (helps you improve your search skills) and ‘Share Jumper‘ (making the right choices about sharing online).

    We’ll be reinforcing the range of coding support in BrainPOP UK over time. Let us know if it inspires you to get coding!

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  • 24 Feb

    BrainPOP UK schools can now access our resources via the MyLearning platform.

    BrainPOP UK Logo mylearningukltd

    We’ve worked with the MyLearning team to incorporate our ‘single sign on’ function to their service. This means that MyLearning schools who subscribe to BrainPOP UK can add us to to their content library. It removes the need to remember multiple passwords and helps you get to our movies in one click.

    Adding us is easy, as the video explains below. But if you need any help please contact the MyLearning support service.

    PS: Your BrainPOP UK username and password will still be required to unlock the content on our apps.

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  • 03 Feb

    Before going any further consider these 3 questions:

    1. Have you ever wanted to introduce games based learning into your teaching but are not sure how, or why, or what benefits it might bring?
    2. Is your school considering using iPads, but before making the leap would like to hear first hand from a school that’s had huge success doing just that?
    3. Would you like to roadtest Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks, and learn how they might drive down costs and enhance collaboration?

    If your school is looking into any of the above, or is intrigued enough to want to spend a couple of hours hands on with all these learning technologies in the company of experts then you need to come to our BrainSpace event on Friday 28th February 2014. Tickets are free and available from the BrainSpace Eventbrite page.

    BrainSpace header

     

    It’s free. It’s not a sales event. It’s designed for educators of all levels, of any technical ability.

    There will be 3 tours, each lasting around 2 hours, and we think it will be a valuable use of your time. You’ll have a chance to ask questions, play with the tech, and walk away more informed about the technology options available to schools.

    The 3 tours are:

    • 10:00
    • 12:00
    • 14:00

    It’s being held at the amazing “Space to Learn” center in Hartlepool.

    Space to Learn
    King Oswy Drive
    Hartlepool
    TS24 9PB

    Tel: (01429) 234145

    (Google Map)

    Tickets are free and available from the BrainSpace Eventbrite page.

    BrainSpace poster

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  • 10 Jan

    From Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25th January 2014 we’ll be at the world famous BETT exhibition. It’s kind of like Glastonbury for elearning, but with less mud and people dressed as druids. Come and see us on Stand B200, near the center, next door to the Learn Live arena.

    BrainPOP BETT 2013 stand

    The calm before the storm at BETT 2013

    What can you expect from BrainPOP this year?

    • An exclusive 30 day free trial to BrainPOP UK, BrainPOP Jr, and BrainPOP ESL
    • Personal demos by experienced BrainPOPpers of our range of learning resources
    • Play with our GameUp games, including new ones launching at BETT
    • Try out our BETT Awards finalist apps for Apple and Android devices. They’re free too so if you can get a decent wireless signal you can download them on the spot
    • Meet a VIB (Very Important BrainPOPper) – classroom practitioners that use BrainPOP in class and have kindly volunteered to work alongside the BrainPOP crew for a few hours, showing others how they use BrainPOP in their schools
    • Presentations and TeachMeet Takeovers throughout the show
    • Take home handful of a Moby badges for your pupils, and some of our special BETT only Digital Leader badges
    • A chance to get a hug and photo from Moby, our resident robot. This year he will happily do a selfie with you.

    What else are we up to?

    At 16:30pm on Wednesday 22nd January we’re co-hosting a live panel discussion on games based learning titled “Playing Games – Does gaming offer effective learning contexts?” in the MirandaNet lounge. The line of contributors is amazing and it’s free to attend.

    In the evening we’re very honoured to be attending as finalists at the BETT Awards. Keep everything you’ve got crossed for us!

    At 11am Friday 24th January we’re welcoming Tim Handley & Class to present on our stand on the topic of “Top 20 apps in 15 mins”. Mr Handley’s class are old hands at presenting at BETT and it’ll be well worth 15 mins of your time to stop and listen to the kids. You may even pick up some great app tips!

    Almost straight after at 12pm we’re extremely happy to host a TeachMeet Takeover by Lisa Stevens (@lisibo). At time of writing the subject is TBC but she’s always an entertaining and wise speaker, so don’t be late!

    Throughout the show you can also experience BrainPOP on some of our partner’s stands.

    • Samsung (stand B98) will be hosting BrainPOP presentations on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as showing our range of Android apps on a dedicated BrainPOP Pod.
    • We are also now available through RM Unify, their new single sign on solution. Visit them on stands C240/250 to see it in action.
    • Dell (stand B368) will be welcoming an educator from Denmark, who has been trialling BrainPOP on her class set of Windows 8.1 devices, and will be presenting on her experience as part of their “Orchestrating the 1:1 Classroom” sessions.

    No doubt more exciting stuff will pop up as we get closer to the event but we hope to see lots of BrainPOPpers there, old and new. See you on the 22nd!

    PS: Have you  our “7 Must Read Ideas That Will Inspire You To Get The Best From BETT” for our hints and tips how to get the best from BETT?

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  • 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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