• 24 May
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    We co-hosted a webinar with COBIS and Mark Anderson (ICT Evangelist), best selling author and Apple Distinguished Educator, who shared his top ’10 classroom apps in 30 minutes’.

    10 apps in 30 mins presentation

    It was a fantastic webinar, with lots of practical advice and recommendations.

    All the apps he shared are linked below. Give them a try!

    1. Ditty – Make class set of videos
    2. Yakit Kids – Bring inanimate objects to life for explaining topics
    3. Book Creator – Create ebooks to promote literacy
    4. Photofunia – Create revision cards and easy wall display materials
    5. BrainPOP – Hopefully you know this one!
    6. Nearpod – Interactive 360 field trips
    7. Explain Everything – Interactive whiteboard on screen to promote independent learning
    8. PingPong Spot Networking – Quiz and poll creation for simple assessment
    9. Post-it Plus – Digital Post-its for sentence starters and seating plans
    10. Adobe Spark Video , Adobe Spark PageAdobe Spark Post – create interactive stories (example “Twitter for Teachers“)

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  • 20 Jun
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    HIlton primary academy logo

    • Hilton primary academy, Newcastle Upon Tyne
    • Type: Academy mixed primary
    • Age range: 3-11 years
    • Number on roll excl. nursery: 322

    Guest post by John Quinn, Lead Teacher for Creative Enquiry

    I met Moby and Jude from BrainPOP at the BrainSpace event in Hartlepool, and was inspired by how the pupils from Jesmond Gardens school used their iPads to create an exciting workflow.

    Jesmond Gardens pupils at BrainSpace

    I took their ideas back to school and, using the free BrainPOP UK  app, tried them with our Y3 pupils.

    Demonstrating what’s possible

    First, I made an eBook in the Book Creator app and showed it to the children. They were impressed that I’d actually met Moby and this helped them connect with the movies and learning materials in BrainPOP.

    Their task was to choose a topic and make a book about it.

    They had to design a front cover, create a page about what they already knew about the topic, let’s say ‘Dance‘.

    Using the BrainPOP UK app in class

    Applying transferrable technology skills

    They then watched the BrainPOP movie and made a page in the book about what they’d learned from watching the movie. The children chose their own way to work, some worked in groups, pairs or by themselves.

    They’d all used the PicCollage app so were able to transfer their skills and experience into making an eBook. They were excited and entertained watching Moby and Tim, and were able to take screen grabs of the movie as it went along put these into their books.

    "What I know now" ebook

    The children quickly learned from each other how to add text, voice notes or even video of themselves to explain what they now know about their chosen topic. The final job was to load their finished book into Showbie and send it to me for feedback.

    The class eBook library

    The children liked being able to pause and repeat the video so they could work at their own pace. This trial was so successful and so engaging for the children I contacted Jude and she suggested having a free trial of the website to extend the learning opportunities for the children.

    Further investigation of BrainPOP

    I’d been working with Y3 on computer programming so it seemed a natural next step to look at what BrainPOP had to offer on the subject.

    The children related straight away to Moby needing programming because they’d had to re-program me when I was pretending to be a computer/robot.

    Some of the technical language was quite advanced for them but all children accessed the learning at some level.

    Once one group had found the quiz they all wanted to try it out. Some of the children spent their time looking into the other related information and all children produced an eBook explaining computer programming.

    They used screen grabs from the BeeBot app to show how they’d programmed a Beebot.

    The combination of practical hands on experience and using BrainPOP on the iPad gave the children ownership of their learning and choices about how they evidenced their learning.  The next step for Y3 is to choose their own topic, create a book and their own quiz!

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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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  • 27 Nov
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    Meet some (very smiley!) pupils from the class of Sarah WrightY4 teacher in Merseyside.

    Mrs Wrights Class and BrainPOP

    As well as full time teaching Sarah is develops CPD for her local authority on using technology in learning, plus is on secondment at Edge Hill University running a module on ActivExpression for training teachers.

    Phew!

    Sarah’s school has been using BrainPOP UK for a few years to great effect. And even with the whirlwind that is her teaching life she found the time to write in and let us know the impact BrainPOP has had in her school and class.

    We’ve replicated it below with her kind permission.


    “I genuinely can’t speak highly enough of BrainPOP.

    It’s something I know I can use across the curriculum that is high quality, engaging and easy to use. The movies offer great learning opportunities for the children, not just in terms of academic content, but I personally feel that it helps with engagement, listening and concentration skills.

    We use it as a teacher led resource as well as allowing children to use it independently – we’ve found it is a great way to encourage independent learning, I often find children telling me about something that they “Brainpopped” last night!

    The characters are really attractive to our children and we often like using our inference skills to guess what Moby is thinking!

    Moby scratching his head

    We’ve seen a real difference in terms of how children engage with their learning and particularly in them wanting to explore and learn more.

    Since using BrainPOP the quality and quantity of home learning has vastly improved.

    BrainPOP comes with a whole host of resources, all of which we use. Obviously the movies are the main aspect, but we also use the resource packs of graphic organisers, the games are great quality and the quiz function is brilliant.

    BrainPOP on IWB and Promethean ActivTable

    Each movie also comes with related activities which foster a literacy aspect to activities which the children really enjoy. BrainPop doesn’t ‘sit’ at one level, so it’s great to have different styles and levels of movies that appeal to children across the school.

    We’ve even integrated BrainPOP badges into our class reward system, whereby children who show a great attitude to their learning can earn a badge . When visitors have asked them how they have earned them, they’ve offered impressively articulate ideas on their own learning through BrainPOP.

    Another massively important part of BrainPOP for me is the whole ethos and attitude of the team.

    Not only are they constantly on hand to help, encourage and genuinely inspire, they seem to be forever looking at ways to improve the BrainPOP experience, for instance with the introduction of the Game Up function.

    BrainPOP GameUp on Promethean ActivTable

    BrainPOP GameUp on Promethean ActivTable

    If I were to ask my children what their favourite resource to use would be, the answer would be unanimous.

    I personally don’t think there is anything better to encourage fun, substantial and real learning.”

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  • 22 Nov
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    We hosted a fantastic guest webinar from Danny Nicholson of Thinkbank and The Whiteboard Blog fame, where he shared his expertise on how he blends the use of whiteboard software and BrainPOP UK.

    There were so many great tips and inspiration on how to use your SMART or Promethean whiteboard software with BrainPOP that we wanted to share Danny’s excellent 19 page eBook, which you can download for free below.

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  • 30 Oct
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    We were invited by Probationer Teacher Scotland, (part of GTC Scotland), a national support service provided to newly qualified Scottish teachers, to feature in their very popular “BlogSpot” section. This is a space where teachers in their probation year are asked to review products they love to use in class.

    We turned to Jenny Harvey (@relativism), a class teacher from Kirkcaldy, Fife who presented  a fantastic overview of BrainPOP. You can read the whole review below. Many, many thanks to Jenny for taking the time to provide this article. We hope you all enjoy it 🙂


    Jenny meets Moby

    BrainPOP UK – What is it?

    BrainPOP UK (http://www.brainpop.co.uk/) is a library of animated movies featuring the characters of Tim and Moby who explain a range of different topics in a clear and accessible way.

    Movies are available across all curricular areas and the content is added to and updated all the time.

    BrainPOP is something I discovered during my training and I have been using it for three years with a range of stages across the primary school.  The children respond well to the characters and are always very impressed to hear that I have met Moby in real life.

    Although it is a subscription resource, there are featured movies and free content available to everyone plus there is a mobile app which has a free featured movie every day.  It is also possible to sign up for a free trial, which is how I first used the site.

    Why do I use it?

    In a nutshell: it is easy to access and use, the information is presented clearly and it is linked to Curriculum for Excellence.

    The format of the BrainPOP UK site is extremely easy to navigate and clearly set out in curricular areas.  The home page is bright and visual rather than having screeds of text and the search function does exactly what it should.

    Curricular mapping tools, which are linked to Curriculum for Excellence, make planning an easier task and the interactive multiple choice quiz feature can be a useful formative assessment tool.

    How do I use it in class?

    I have used BrainPOP UK during teaching time, as an activity for a group and also as a research tool for directed research tasks.  When used during teaching time I vary the order of the movie and quiz; sometimes I use both but at other times I use one or the other.

    As I mentioned, the curricular mapping tool, which is called Deep Beep, makes planning easier as you choose the subject area and the Curriculum for Excellence level to match to your Experiences and Outcomes and then the topic of the movie based on the matching results.   Movies can be paused, rewound or fast forwarded as required.  This allows time for questions, reflections and checking understanding at any stage of the movie.  I like to keep a notebook book file open to record any notes or observations during the movie.

    The quiz can be very useful at the beginning of a topic and at the end to assess knowledge gaps and progress and inform future planning.  I have also used the quizzes as an example for question creation lessons during which groups of pupils create their own quiz on a particular topic and these are then peer assessed.  The quizzes can also be used with response units if you have these in school.

    Quizzes and movies are not the only resources available on BrainPOP UK. There are associated activities, related topics and an FYI section providing additional stories and facts related to the chosen movie topic.  The FYI sections are a particular favourite of mine as they often help to answer further questions and can help to generate other questions for investigation by pupils.

    And there’s more…

    Free CPD! BrainPOP UK provide free webinars which you can access online and from the comfort of your own home.  If you need evidence of these CPD sessions they can also provide certificates of completion.

    The BrainPOP UK staff, or BrainPOPpers, have always been outstanding in terms of customer service.  They answer any questions promptly and they have even created a movie for me in the past.

    I hope that this brief introduction has helped give you an overview of how BrainPOP UK can be used in your classroom.  Remember it is free to try, the only software needed is a browser with Flash Player and if you need any support the BrainPOP UK team are just an email away.

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  • 02 May
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    Hurworth Primary have been using BrainPOP for a few years now, and when I met Mr Dooris at the BETT show this year, he said everyone was really enjoying the site but when I got to the school I was shocked to discover Moby had been creating all kinds of mischief!

    It seems Moby found out the school was having a project week to celebrate National Science and Engineering week and thought he would get in on the act…

    As you can see Mr Dooris stumbled upon a mysterious set of orange footprints, weaving in and out of each classroom. At the end of each trail, in each classroom, was a question.

    This stimulus gave the children the opportunity to research the answers and create their own BrainPOP type movies with what they had learned.

    The selection below shows just a handful of the information-packed, brilliantly presented and funny movies the students made. Please take a few minutes to watch their work and leave comments, we know they’d appreciate it.

    Bobby and Adam give us the run down on gravity:

    Ella and Charlie tell us a great way to remember the order of the planets in the solar system:

    Alfie & Sam wonder if plants can breathe and this leads to them to explain the ins and outs of plant respiration:

    And the learning didn’t stop there. After making the movies, the children uploaded them to a collaborative site and watched and commented on each other’s work – what a great way to help and encourage classmates!

    Not only did everyone learn some new science facts, by the looks of it they also worked on developing great presenting, writing and filming skills.

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  • 20 Mar
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    Jude, BrainPOP UK’s ELearning and Mobile Consultant, recently visited the RSA Academy in Tipton. Mr Naeem (@umerz1) and the gang have been using BrainPOP for nearly a year now so she was keen to see how the students and teachers use BrainPOP as part of the Opening Minds curriculum.

    “RSA Opening Minds promotes innovative and integrated ways of thinking about education and the curriculum. Teachers design and develop a curriculum for their own schools based round the development of five key competences:

    1. Citizenship

    2. Learning

    3. Managing information

    4. Relating to people

    5. Managing situations

    A competence based approach enables students not just to acquire subject knowledge but to understand, use and apply it within the context of their wider learning and life. It also offers students a more holistic and coherent way of learning which allows them to make connections and apply knowledge across different subject areas.”

    From About RSA Opening Minds

    The “Opening Minds Curriculum” is used in over 200 schools across the country and the RSA Academy was one of the first schools to practice a dedicated Opening Minds curriculum. It has won many awards since, the latest being The Naace 3rd Millennium Learning Award.

    RSA Academy

    21st Century learning and realsmart

    Armed with my trusty iPad and clinking with badges I went to meet Mr Naeem and Mr Morton. Over a cup of tea they told me how they had been using BrainPOP with the realsmart Learning Environment. Realsmart works with Google Apps so it was great to see they’d already set up the BrainPOP Google App integration and were using the quiz results.

    Some of the classrooms had ActivExpression devices so I was able to show them the Promethean Quiz integration. Staff and students were also using Vimeo to upload class videos to realsmart and the Maths Department has a twitter account to encourage Maths by tweet.

    Opening Minds

    I popped into Miss Josh’s Year 7 Science lesson. Observing the class really helped me understand why Opening Minds methodology is different. For example, one teacher may take the same class for a lot of their school time and teach across a number of subjects. BrainPOP is a valuable scaffold for this because it lets you access topics from across the curriculum.

    Also, communication is a key skill re-enforced in every lesson. Even though we were in a science lesson, the students were thinking about the different ways information was presented. So if we were learning about atoms we might learn by reading about them or a more visual method (such as an animation!). Everyone got a chance to speak and say which way of learning suited the task best.

    Opening Minds Student Quote

    I asked the students if they were aware they were being taught in a different kind of way?

    “Yes,” said one, “because the lessons are far more fun and less boring.” Another added, “Yes, because we’re very special.” Well said.

    RSA Academy students

    Miss Josh shares her thoughts on BrainPOP:

    “BrainPOP is definitely something which can be used at key stage 4 in science as it really does cover the content for the AQA GCSE Science specification. But the use of BrainPOP doesn’t stop there. At key stage 3 the Academy delivers the Opening Minds curriculum and BrainPOP on many occasions has been used within the lessons. An example where it has been carried out is when a group of students were developing their logical thinking skills within the lesson. Students were asked to watch a BrainPOP video and then use their logical thinking skills and the information gathered from the video to complete a worksheet.

    Students have also used Tim and Moby to help them evaluate communication skills. They watched videos and looked at how the characters communicate the information to their audience. Feedback from the students:

    Student A: “Tim and Moby spoke at a steady pace”

    Student B: “The key words are always shown on the screen to help the students”

    Student C : “The videos are really colourful making the people watch it because it is eye catching”

    BrainPOP is definitely an education tool which can be used in a range of ways even outside the curriculum. It has also been used to help my tutor group when they ask questions about certain topics. After watching these videos it has helped the group to develop a range of class discussions.

    BrainPOP is brilliant – it’s a great way for students to learn, the more you use them the more your students grow to love the characters. I now have year 7 students proudly wearing their Moby badges around the Academy!”

    The last person I met was the librarian, Mrs Shakespeare, who told me the Online Safety and Referencing Sources would be just the thing for library inductions.

    The flipped classroom

    I found the visit really helped me understand why BrainPOP is good for student-centred and student-led learning, or the “flipped classroom” as Mr Naeem called it, where students have more control over their learning. Knowledge is important, and Tim and Moby are great for passing that on, but what students do with the knowledge is even more important. The fact that Tim and Moby do the first bit lets teachers concentrate more on the second.

    Thank you RSA Tipton – I hope to visit again soon!

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  • 09 Feb
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    Mark Anderson (a.k.a. ICT Evangelist) and teachers at Clevedon School in North Somerset have been trying out the BrainPOP featured movie and app in various different classes throughout the school. He’s kindly provided a mini case study on how they’ve integrated BrainPOP into their vertical tutor groups.

    “Clevedon School is a large 11-18 Outstanding School in North Somerset, just south west of Bristol. We operate a vertical tutor system where students from years 7 to 11 are mixed up in each tutor group.

    So in any tutor group you normally have a few students from every year group. In our tutor times students regularly complete vertical activities, one of which is the use of BrainPOP.

    We use BrainPOP because it is so easy to use, it really engages students of all ages (we complete the activities in vertical pairs) and the content is really clear and easy to understand.

    “I really like it because it is fun and I always learn something” one student said to me from Year 9.

    The BrainPOP free daily Featured Movie is a often a calendar aligned event. This is particularly good because it always means that whatever activity you are doing, there’s likely to be a relevant topic to the day.

    More recently, Clevedon School have been trialling the use of iPads in education and I’m one of the trial leaders and have been using the BrainPOP iPad app in my tutor times.

    The best thing here is that the content is right at the students’ fingertips – it’s right in front of them. Here, the content is brought alive and students can easily share and look at progress on each other’s activities as they move through. It certainly gets the students motivated and focused at the beginning of the school day.

    We also provide opportunities for 6th form students to go back to their lower school tutor group to mentor students and free up the member of staff to do some small group work and mentoring with selected students. BrainPOP is a favourite resource for the 6th form students to use with the younger students.

    Even with no planning or preparation it affords them the framework to run a session that everyone can engage with. It provides them with a high quality resource that they can rely on to deliver a message, support an area of the curriculum or spark a discussion.

    The fact that BrainPOP uses seasonal themes and makes the most of anniversaries and other important dates means that they are always able to deliver something relevant and interesting to a group of students with diverse interests and educational needs.

    I have seen it used to great effect to build confidence in 6th formers, giving them valuable experience and confidence in front of a class or in terms of public speaking. We all know how good it feels to be able to rely on a resource because we always know the quality is second to none.”

    Mark Anderson, Head of ICT

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  • 02 Feb
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    We like to send our school subscribers little challenges every now and then as a little reminder that learning is always fun with BrainPOP. And when subscribers submit completed treasure hunts, word searches, and other challenges, we like to reward them with BrainPOP goodies because we’re just nice like that 🙂

    So when Jennifer Finlayson’s Primary 6 class sent us their completed word searches we made sure to send them a selection of the very best BrainPOP badges (modelled below) as a reward for doing such a good job.

    Currie Primary kids and their badges

    Of course there are other things just as important to us as making learning fun!

    For one, we value customer feedback. And another, we love hearing your tales of good classroom practice. We simply can’t maintain our high standards if we don’t listen and learn from you.

    To this aim, and because Currie Primary School are such long term BrainPOP customers, we asked Jennifer if she could give us a run down of a typical BrainPOP lesson and she happily obliged.

    My favourite movie is: all of them!

    Because: there is such a wide range of movies I always find one to suit my needs!

    My class like: Tim and Moby

    Because: they think they are funny and they like that the movies always follow the same format

    Brief description of a typical BrainPOP lesson

    Introduction/background:

    A lesson about synonyms and antonyms. These are new concepts to the children and, although they might understand the concepts, they are unfamiliar with the terms.

    Getting Started/Preparation:

    • Ask the children to discuss in pairs what they think a synonym (then antonym) is.
    • Give clues i.e. syno means same, nym means name.

    What we did:

    • Once the pupils had generated definitions for each and we had discussed these, they worked in pairs to come up with as many examples as they could, and recorded these on mini whiteboards.
    • We then discussed these as a class to produce a class bank of synonyms and antonyms.
    • Then we watched the BrainPOP clip to reinforce what we had learnt, and this also went beyond our learning to touch on homonyms – which was useful as, although we hadn’t discussed it, this was planned for a later lesson.

    Outcomes:

    Pupils had a good understanding of synonyms and antonyms and were able to provide examples.

    What’s the best thing about being a BrainPOP school?

    • A wide selection of resources easily available and easy to search for on the site.
    • The clips really appeal to upper primary children and often provide a great ‘hook’ into learning at the beginning of a lesson.
    • We also enjoy your seasonal/topical clips, for example Halloween, and use these as stand alone stimulus for discussion.

    Thank you BrainPOP!

    If you’ve got any teaching and learning tales you’d like to share with other schools, please send them to info@brainpop.co.uk or post a comment below.

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