• 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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  • 03 Jan

    There’s some great posts about surviving visiting BETT (which mostly boil down to wearing comfortable shoes and bringing your own lunch) but we thought it might be useful to offer up another perspective: ways to have a productive experience with stand staff at BETT.

    This all comes from our experience as long time exhibitors so here’s our top tips for meeting the sales folks (we’ll be at Stand B200 by the way, if you want to try any of them out).

    1) You’ve got a camera in your pocket – use it.

    There’s a good chance you’ll have a smart device on you with a decent camera. Take photos of products, of the company URL, of the ID badges of the exhibitors (so you can ask for them afterwards if you want to follow up). Collecting these pictures, which can be shared later, will provide aide memoires for products you were interested in.

    Bonus tip:  Set up an Instagram account to build a photo set, which can be easily shared with your colleagues. You can even add filters to make them look all hipster and cool, if that’s your thing.

    photography

    2) Document product demos

    Just before the exhibitor you’re engaged with launches into their product demo, ask them if it’s OK to video them giving a 2 minute pitch. You can then play these to your colleagues when you get back to school. Sooooo much easier than having to explain it yourself.

    Bonus tip:  Don’t bother filming crowd demos as the presenter will be drowned out by the background noise.

    Film making

    3) Dead trees

    You will collect a million leaflets, brochures, and price lists. And then the majority will go into the recycling when you get home. Exhibitors know this, but deep down we still hope you keep and study them.

    So take 3 clear plastic wallets – one for “Yes”, one for “Maybe”, and one for “No”. Then simply put the leaflets into the right folder so when you get back to school you can save time as they’ll be pre-filtered. PS Don’t tell the exhibitor which folder you chose. No one wants to see their lovely leaflet go into the “No” folder!

    Bonus tip: You’ll see lots of QR codes around the show so download a QR reader before you go.

    BrainPOP UK app QR code4) Freebies

    Every stand will have branded freebies – from sweets to pens to mugs to USB sticks and much, much more. Picking up giveaways is half the fun, right? As keen as you are to re-stock your stationery cupboard on your visit please take the time to engage with the stand staff before doing so. They may even have better secret freebies stashed away or competitions you can enter.

    Bonus tip: If you’re going in a group, have a competition to see who can pick up the most interesting/daft/amazing freebie. You’ll be surprised what oddities turn up. Actually this would make a pretty decent Twitter hashtag challenge.

    Moby digital leader badge

    5) Stand staff are not always Sales Staff

    There’s a good chance, especially on the smaller stands, that you WON’T be talking to a Sales person. It’s just as likely to be a Product designer, Editor, Customer Service Advisor, Technical Support, or even the CEO! The idea is that stands are all staffed by slick pushy sales people is a myth.

    Bonus tip: Ask directly about show discounts. Ask for their personal card, or email address to follow up afterwards. Ask about how the company will follow up with you afterwards. You may have a better way for them to get in touch, or arrange an in house demo. You WILL get lots of contact from exhibitors afterwards so you may as well get in front of the conversation.

    Email overload

    6) Be social

    If a product, company, or exhibitor has particularly impressed you let people know! Right away! Tweet recommendations on the show hashtag and blog about it afterwards (or during if you’re super whizzy). Not only can you show your support when you’ve had a good experience with an exhibitor/product (which, speaking as an exhibitor, gives one a lovely feeling of a job well done) it could also help other people to find the good stuff. Remember to add the stand number.

    Bonus tip: Do make the effort to shout about smaller companies/start ups – they tend to be harder to locate, appreciate the support, and are often hidden gems.

    SocialNetworkingScreenshot2

    7) Identify yourself!

    Order some business cards before the event, to give to exhibitors you like, or contacts you make at the event.  Try Moo.com (fancy) or Vistaprint (cheap and cheerful).

    Bonus tip: Make the picture on the front of the card YOU – that makes it much easier to remember who you were.

    Bonus bonus tip: If you use Twitter, add your Twitter name to your badge/card.

    Human Evolution


    If all else fails you can just do Gangnam style with Moby.

    So those are our tips. Do you have any you’d like to share?

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  • 06 Feb

    3000 badges. 28 new GameUp UK titles. 4 days. 2 apps.

    1 Moby.

    It must be the BETT Show 2013.

    BETT 2013 Moby

    BETT was held in the ExCel center this year. As BETT had been held in Olympia for the last several million years we were regularly asked by visitors and exhibitors alike on our thoughts on the new venue.

    For the record we felt the new space was much more conducive to exhibiting. Even finding your way around the grid system seemed easier, although you’d have to be prepared to get sore feet as it apparently contains the longest corridor in Europe. But, still, we wistfully mentioned that an enclosed aircraft hangar sized room can’t compete with the iron framed 19th century industrial beauty of Olympia.

    But no doubting it, BETT had stepped up a gear. So did we.

    BETT 2013 BrainPOP stand

    The BIG news was the public launch of our new games based learning section – GameUp UK – to what can only be described as a rapturous reception. Aligning our resources with high quality learning games clearly struck a chord with teachers and students and the IWB was packed all day every day with people trying, no, playing, our games. GameUp adds a whole new dimension to BrainPOP, one we’ll be exploring in more depth this year.

    “My digital leaders had a go on “Guts and Bolts” which links with biology, and they LOVED it.  Back in class the following day they asked if they could share the GAME UP side of BrainPOP and I thought why not – an hour later they were refusing to leave the class room because they had “One more level to go” and they couldn’t possibly leave yet!!  The most amazing thing was the vocabulary the children were using – I heard phrases like “the oxygen needs to get to the brain so the pipe has to go from the lungs where it gets it oxygen from”.  Having never taught them this I was amazed at how quickly they had picked up the vocabulary and I will definitely be exploring the other games on the site!”

    Charlie Deane, Year 5 teacher

    BETT 2013 Moby in class

    We also debuted our new free Android app, which means we are all systems go on BYOD. Not only did nearly every visiting teacher own their own smartphone or tablet they often mentioned how their school was either piloting or using class sets of mobile devices. It’s clearly moved beyond a tech trend to something much more significant.

    All the BrainPOP apps

    We were privileged to welcome an amazing set of educators to our stand, both as VIBs and presenters. We’d like to thank, in no particular order:

    • Tim Handley & his digital leaders who gave a very professional presentation on how they use BrainPOP in school. We were also seriously impressed at some of the Moby badge collections.
    • Charlie Addison, Ian Addison, Dawn Hallybone & Ben Wood - VIBs who gave their valuable time to talk to teachers interested in BrainPOP. You complete us.
    • Chris Green, Director of Blended Learning at Manga High, who demoed the fantastic trio of “A Tangled Web“, “Pyramid Panic” & “Flower Power” maths games from GameUp UK.
    • Danny Nicholson who presented “Now go write it up: Digital Storytelling tools” – a tour of free tools to enhance literacy. Awesome, informative and generous as ever. See the tools he mentioned on his blog.
    • Lizzie Ostrom who presented “Stinky Poems and other whiffy learning: using smell in Key Stage 2 learning”. This was our first ever “non-techie” presentation we’ve ever hosted and it was brilliant. You should check her “Marty the Mighty Nose” website out.
    • Gavin Smart and the Digital Leaders from Priory Community School who presented “How we use iPads and apps in our lessons to enhance the learning environment, demonstrating progress and sharing their work with the world”. They’re doing some exceptional mobile learning work at Priory school, make sure you take 5 mins to watch their amazing Prezi.
    • Phil Bagge who presented “Robot Sandwich Maker KS2 CS”, a starter’s guide to computer science at primary level. Taking a potentially complex topic like this and making it engaging for young learners is clearly Phil’s forte. Learn more on his Junior Computer Science blog.
    • Kirsty Tonks and her E Learning Team – “Using BrainPOP in Tutor time”. Kirsty showed how introducing BrainPOP resources to her tutor time increased attendance by 70%. What a stunning result.

    So what trends did we notice this year?

    1. Flipped classrooms – a significant minority of teachers were looking for resources to compliment this new teaching approach. BrainPOP was on their radar as our videos can easily be used for independent exploration at home (with assessment for accountability) and then developed further in the classroom. For a practical intro to using BrainPOP as part of a flipped classroom see this great blog post.
    2. Mobile learning – as mentioned earlier nearly every teacher had a smart device, both personally and at school too. We make apps so this might have been a self selecting group but you could see that many suppliers were also tackling the mobile space, with apps or mobile solutions.
    3. Academies and Free schools – with nearly half of all secondaries now Academies and primary conversions on the rise it wasn’t too surprising that we spoke to an increased  number of headteachers from these school types. What was interesting was that they seemed genuinely interested in sourcing new ideas, products & systems. Like they were taking the opportunity to start from fresh. Old with the old, in with the new.
    4. Everyone wanted a photo with Moby :-)  If you got a pic with Moby please share it with us!

    Edubloggers often voice that it’s the “same old, same old” at BETT. While not a totally unfounded criticism this year there was noticeably significant growth in teacher led presentations & workshops, TM  Takeovers, the famous BETT TeachMeet and much more. Educators and kids sharing some incredible classroom practice.

    BETT has to be about more than the product and is clearly working towards delivering a rich CPD experience for the visitors, as are the exhibitors themselves. Roll on BETT 2014 we say, and the ability to share more great stories with our audience.

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  • 20 Jan

    Much like the Edinburgh festival many of the more interesting activities at the BETT show happen on the fringe. Although with Learning Without Frontiers, TEDX, Collabor8 4 Change and the TeachMeet being sold out it seems what was the fringe a few years ago is now challenging the mainstream for why teachers throng to London in mid January.

    One of the most exciting of these developments is the TeachMeet Takeovers, where a commercial supplier gives their stand over to a classroom practitioner to present on a free tool, service or learning experience that they want to share. We really like this idea as it appeals to the BrainPOP ethos that places, above all else, the learner at the heart of things. And it feels deliciously rebellious too ;-)

    We had 4 teachers present their Takeovers – Dan Roberts, Alessio Bernardelli, Ian Guest and Bill Lord. Each one of them was erudite, interesting and entertaining. We uploaded some recordings of them below. We really do recommend you take the time to watch them, you will walk away enriched with practical ideas to take into your classroom.

    Dan Roberts aka @chickensaltash “35 Free Tech Tools in 6 Mins and 40 secs”

    This is the Slideshare which contains all the links:

    Chicken pecha kucha 20×20 free tech tools

    Bill Lord, aka @Joga5, talking about his Year 1 “Giraffeclass” in which he employed Twitter as a tool for literacy:

    Ian Guest aka @ianinsheffield gives a TeachMeet Takeover entitled “Poll Dancing – Using online tools for formative assessment, eliciting opinion & stimulating discussion”. He recommends some really excellent free Poll tools and best practice on how to use them in the classroom.

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  • 06 Jan

    This will be BrainPOP UK’s 3rd year at BETT and this time we’re turning it up to 11.

    At BETT 2009/10 we were “up in the Gods”, on the gallery section overlooking the Grand Hall. A sweet spot, but not too easy to find and not much space for Moby to bust out his moves.

    Moby on our old 2010 BETT stand

    Moby on our old 2010 BETT stand

    For 2011 we’ve graduated to the ground floor of the Grand Hall, stand No.B60, right in the middle next to the stairs and the RM stand. It’s a modest sized space compared to some of the monolithic structures that surround us but we promise it will be one of the most social and fun stands you visit.

    Each day we’ll be meeting lots of current and future BrainPOP Educators and demoing ALL the BrainPOP products and features, including BrainPOP ESL and BrainPOP Jr. Of course there will also be a scintillating array of BrainPOP goodies for you to take back to school to show off.

    Here’s a few more reasons you should come and visit our stand:

    • We’ll be joined by a number of VIBs – BrainPOP teachers (including Dawn Hallybone, Ian Addison, Tim Handley, Adina Popa, Tom Sale and James Mahoney) who have kindly given up a few hours to show how they effectively use BrainPOP in their classrooms, both 1-2-1 and presenting on our Interactive Whiteboard. They will have their own special VIB tshirts – keep an eye out for them as not only are they passionate about BrainPOP, they are great exponents of relevant and modern ICT practice.
    • We’re hosting TeachMeet Takeovers at 2pm on Thurs/Fri (maybe Saturday too). This is when we hand the stand over to a real teacher who gives a presentation about free tools and services that they’ve used in the classroom. We’re honoured and priviliged to have the inspiring Alessio Bernardelli and Dan Roberts doing a tag team Takeover on Thursday about “Using Livestream to create and broadcast pupils work as a TV Show & Chicken Pecha Kucha 20×20 free tech tools” and the fantastic Bill Lord (who is a wonderfully infectious speaker) talking about “Amazing free tools to fire up literacy learners“. You do NOT want to miss these.
    • Moby’s Photobooth – come and get a Polaroid portrait picture taken with the big orange fella himself, to treasure forever. His Photobooth will be open most of the show, except when he needs a break to oil his sprockets.
    • BrainPOP Spotters! If you visit the BrainPOP stand, get a demo and pick up a special Moby shoulder bag make sure you proudly display it when you’re wandering around the exhibition. Why? Because at 2pm each day Moby will be wandering the exhibition hall looking for a BrainPOP bag. If he “spots” yours then you’ve won a full year’s subscription to the BrainPOP product of your choice. Woot!

    BrainPOPpers will also be attending these events:

    • Learning Without Frontiers (Drinks reception sponsor and general hob-nobbing – please grab a BrainPOPper if you see one and say hola).
    • Collabor8 4 Change – Sponsor, Keynote and round table lead.
    • TeachMeet BETT 2011 – Generally kicking back with lots of old (and hopefully new!) friends at this highlight of the educational calendar.

    Find us where the little red box is:

    The location of the BrainPOP stand at Bett 2011

    The location of the BrainPOP stand at Bett 2011

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  • 20 Jan

    We firmly believe there’s no one better than someone who uses your product, day in, day out, to show it at its best.

    We’ve just returned from attending the largest educational technology show in the world: BETT 2010. It’s an astonishing experience, where educational suppliers and teachers from all around the globe mingle for 4 days, looking at products, networking and attending CPD.

    But teachers often mention the tension between commercial and classroom interests. Donald Clark, an educator from Brighton, describes a paradox of BETT, and more generally of technology in schools:

    On the whole, schools, and the teaching profession, have more than a whiff of anti-corporate attitudes. Teaching is often explicitly (not always) anti-private sector. This makes the market rather awkward, as there’s a lack of trust between sellers and buyers.

    Hedge your BETTs – the 7 paradoxes of technology in education – Donald Clark

    That’s a pretty fair assessment. Sales people and Teachers don’t tend to mix, hence the “suspicion”.

    Partly this is down to the way educational suppliers have directed elearning products towards schools over the years, partly due to the fact that “Schools often make bad, expensive choices and struggle to support the things they buy, leading to further suspicion” (Donald, again).

    We know this. Every educational supplier knows this, deep down. Teachers are a tough crowd – and rightly so. You can also see tangential thoughts on Terry Freedman’s ICT in Education blog “7 things to do after the BETT show” and Tom Barrett’s post: “My Reflection on TeachMeet Takeover

    Can this divide be fixed? We know there are some extremely high quality pay and free tools, schemes and content out there. We know we have an amazing product in BrainPOP UK but how to convince “suspicious” teachers?

    1. Build a trusted community. A “tribe” of BrainPOPpers. This takes time, authenticity and persistence. This is what we’ve been doing. This, hopefully, means you can move to…
    2. Invite your community to participate.

    We asked if a few BrainPOP UK Educators wouldn’t mind volunteering a sliver of their time to help show how they used BrainPOP  UK resources effectively in their classrooms on our stand at BETT 2010.

    We knew their up to the minute experience of BrainPOP UK far outweighed any marketing messages or freebies we could provide.

    As our VIBs arrived we kitted them out with their own Tshirts, as much orientation as we could fit into 5 minutes and got them talking to other teachers as soon as we could.

    The effect was electric.

    Once we’d introduced the VIBs they were away, excitedly telling classroom stories, explaining why their school bought BrainPOP UK and offering hints and tips we’d never thought of (ever considered using the letter that starts each movie as a lesson topic?).

    At one point Tom Sale, a year 6 teacher and ICT Subject Leader from Blackpool, was demoing BrainPOP UK on the plasma TV to about 7 teachers at once, like he’d been talking about BrainPOP all his life. They knew he was the real deal and loved him for it.

    But that’s the trick – you can’t substitute style (us, maybe) for substance (our VIBs, definitely). It’s also worth remembering that teachers are natural presenters. They spend their professional lives in front of a crowd. It’s called a classroom of kids.

    The feedback from our VIBs was universally positive. We think they enjoyed seeing BETT from another point of view (and meeting Moby of course!) and, hopefully, went away richer for the experience.

    “It was an honor to testify to the effectiveness of BrainPOP in the classroom at your booth. The positive energy and professionalism the team at BrainPOP UK projected were clear indicators of present and future success. It was a privilege to have been associated with you! Meeting the shiny Moby was also a highlight and am glad to have the pictures from this encounter :)

    Thank you SO much for including me in this experience! It was awesome!!!”

    Adina Popa, Technology Resource Teacher, Loudoun County Public Schools

    Wouldn’t it be great if visitors to BETT could speak to teachers who love the product, not just sales people? The barriers would melt away. And if you can’t find your own VIBs then make better products and look after your community.

    “Another highlight for me – was meeting Moby – I think the picture says it all. I was on the Brain Pop as a VIB – a Very Important Brainpopper! We use Brain Pop at school and in my class Tim and Moby are like another two pupils, I even went to the stand with a list of questions that my children wanted to ask! It was a great experience to meet other teachers and talk about a tool I use in my classroom”

    Dawn Hallybone, BETT 2010

    We’d invite them back to do it again like a shot. So thank you Ollie, Dawn, Thomas, Adina, Vickie and Annette VIB. You were stars.

    We’ll leave the last word to the original VIB – Ollie Bray,  a deputy head from Scotland and LTS Advisor:

    “I continue to be impressed by BrainPOP UK and its commitment to engage with the teaching profession. Not only do they make great movies but they listen to real feedback from real teachers so that they can constantly improve their products and services.

    I was delighted to see the time and effort that the company has spent developing a detailed curriculum matching tool to link their movies to the Scottish Curriculum – You just don’t get this UK wide care and attention with some other companies.

    It was an absolute pleasure to stand in for Tim (while he was on his lunch break) and be a VIB at BETT 2010”

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  • 06 Jan

    BETT_bannerLike an Imperial Star Destroyer hoving into view to dominate the horizon the BETT Show 2010 is coming up next week.

    BETT is the biggest ICT show in the world. Pretty much every ICT or elearning supplier will be there, including us, demoing our resources and much more on stand S46 (on the balcony above the main hall). We want to meet customers both old and (hopefully) new. Don’t be afraid to come and say hello – we’re not sales people, we just love BrainPOP UK and we think you will too.

    Our BETT stand last year

    Our BETT stand last year

    An alternate view of our BETT stand last year

    An alternate view of our BETT stand last year

    There’s a great collection of “Tips for BETT” going round on Twitter at the moment, providing pearls of wisdom to those who have not been before but we can add:

    • Wear comfortable shoes. You will, cumulatively walk miles in a day at BETT. Plus there’s lots of presentations that may be standing room only.
    • Don’t bring a bag. You will be offered bags on most stands. Get one of our bags instead – they will last and look very tasty. They will be the must have items at BETT we think ;-)
    • Take a camera and photograph the stand name + number of memorable stands. This will make a big difference. Alternately, if you have video capability on your phone, ask the rep to do a 30 sec demo for you. Far more memorable than a flyer.
    • Have a “who can bring the most useless “tchotchke” (freebie gift)  back from BETT” competition if you are travelling with a colleague or two.
    • Drink lots of water to avoid the inevitable headache and try to grab lunch early or late to avoid the seriously packed cafeterias between 12pm and 2pm.
    • Sign up to attend one of the FREE TeachMeet events – we’re proud sponsors; they are brilliant, fun and inspiring. But don’t just take our word for it – see for yourself.

    We’re also writing a series of blog posts highlighting some of the things that we’ll be doing at BETT. Coming soon:

    • Meet a VIB! – Teachers who use BrainPOP UK who have volunteered to show you on our stand how THEY get the best out of BrainPOP resources.
    • Teachmeet Takeover – Teachers who will “takeover” a part of the stand to tell you about free tools they find useful in the classroom.
    • BrainPOP UK lands on Promethean Planet – we’ll be demoing BrainPOP UK on the Promethean Planet stand.

    If you come to our stand we’ll be doing demos; giving away Moby-tastic BrainPOP UK shoulder bags (proper bags designed to last and be re-used); pens (the archetypal and ever popular BETT staple); Moby head shaped mousemats; Moby “reward” badges and lots of other things. Make sure that we’re on your route!

    BrainPOP UK badges

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