• 18 Jan

    For some people, BETT is about innovative ICT, for others, it’s about networking. And for a special few, it’s the annual opportunity to meet inspiring colleagues in the world of education.

    But we were thinking along the lines of something a little more ORANGE and ROBOTIC.

    Yes, we’re talking about meeting the mechanical maestro himself – Moby the BrainPOP robot. This year he had his very own photobooth where BrainPOP fans could have their picture taken with Moby. It was a massive successs and he LOVED the attention.

    Were you one of the lucky few who grabbed a special moment with the robotic rascal? If so, go and add yourself to your photo on Flickr or watch the slideshow below.

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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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  • 27 Jan

    Hello! I’m Ann BrainPOP (@carterwins) and I’m the BrainPOP UK marketer (be nice).

    I’ll confess: This was my first ever BETT show. Yep, I was a BETT newbie. And a first time TeachMeeter too.

    My personal highlights include talking to what felt like millions of teachers (not sure if this was typical of all stands but I’m not ashamed to admit there were queues off our stand at points), attending my first ever TeachMeet and getting to hang out with a big orange robot (see above).

    I also wanted to find out what it was like for a teacher to go to BETT and TeachMeet for the first time.  Oliver Quinlan, a teacher at Robin Hood Primary School, kindly obliged to answer a few questions about what he learned first time presenting at TeachMeet BETT2010.

    Oliver started following the TeachMeet buzz in 2009. After attending a Midlands event through the flashmeeting he said he “was left buzzing with ideas, and keen to go to one in person.” Months later he jumped at the chance to present at BETT…

    Hi Oliver. Why TeachMeet and BETT this year in particular?

    Oliver: I was keen to go as soon as I heard about it as it was the first one I knew I would be able to go to and share some of my classroom practice, as well as learning about others as I had done previously. Luckily my colleagues are very supportive and gave me the time out to go down to BETT and the TeachMeet.

    How many people have been in touch with you about your presentation since?

    Lots! I am really happy to see quite a few people have taken some ideas from what I’ve been doing and used them with their classes, which is what TeachMeet is all about really. I’ve also had lots of support on my blog from people who saw the talk and have started corresponding with me and commenting on other issues I’ve been writing about like my MA, which has been really beneficial.

    In your blog post you mentioned a few of the presentations you enjoyed – have you managed to try any out with your class already? Or even passed on to colleagues?

    I passed Helen Myers details on to a colleague straight away, as I know she has been thinking of using Second Life for language learning in our school, and could benefit from the experiences shared. Miles Berry’s work on Scratch is also something our new technologies team are keen to integrate into our curriculum. Ian Usher’s teachers as writers project has made me think quite deeply about my own interests and how I can link my teaching to authentic experiences I am involved in outside of the classroom.

    Do you think you’ll be getting more heavily involved with TeachMeets from now on?

    Certainly, I am looking forward to this year’s Midlands event already and planning to rope in some of my colleagues this time. One of the things I love about my present school is there is a real culture of teachers as learners, and TeachMeet really fits into that as it is about developing yourself as a teacher through sharing in the innovations of each other. Next time I would like to present on something that doesn’t have a technology focus, because I think this grassroots ideas sharing model is so good it should be about way more than just technology.

    Up for organizing #TM2011 if there is one?

    I’m certainly up for getting involved!

    Good news for anyone who possibly found the organisation a little stressful! There’s no mistaking that TeachMeet is set to shake up, and possibly shape up, the BETT shows Oliver and I visit in future. I certainly look forward to attending another if the opportunity presents itself.

    So, what to take from this for BETT 2011? Know your stuff inside and out and if you don’t know the answer, find out immediately! Get involved in what teachers are talking about and are clearly passionate about. Next year, I hope to have tried out a few of the things I heard about at TeachMeet and I hope to buy Oliver Quinlan a coffee.

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  • 22 Jan

    BrainPOP UK was proud and excited to host the first ever Teachmeet Takeover at BETT 2010.

    But before Takeovers there was TeachMeet itself. If you don’t know what Teachmeet is you’re not alone! Teachmeet is a growing educational fringe movement, centred on local evening events hosted by teachers for teachers, to allow the sharing of ideas and best practice.

    It’s pretty awesome. If there’s one happening in your local area it’s a very worthwhile event to attend.

    BrainPOP UK has been very supportive of these events for some time, and we were even asked to make a movie to explain Teachmeet.

    But a major challenge of any movement is to encourage new members to join; to spread the word; to invite fresh blood into the tribe. BETT 2010 offered an opportunity to get the discussion and demonstrations of new online tools to a wider audience. Thus was born Teachmeet Takeover! You can read more on why we took part on our post: Off to BETT Part 3 – TeachMeet Takeover .

    Drew kicks off Teachmeet Takeover at BETT2010 on the BrainPOP UK stand

    Drew kicks off Teachmeet Takeover at BETT2010 on the BrainPOP UK stand

    Drew Buddie (@digitalmaverick), kicked things off with a talk on using Web 2.0 Tools. This was more historic moment than perhaps it appeared. For the first time at BETT a stand was being used to promote something other than its product.

    We all learned an important lesson in this first presentation, which is the importance of speaking LOUDLY!!! (BETT background noise is l-o-u-d). We didn’t have a microphone, or one of those fancy Madonna style headsets. Or even a megaphone. But most people could see and hear what Drew was presenting and that was the main thing.

    The audience and the BrainPOP UK team all leaned loads about using slideshow animation tools to bring pics, pdfs, and other media to new life. Drew took stills from some great BrainPOP UK movies, and showed how they could be given a new spin as annotated resources for kids, or, indeed, by kids.

    Tom Barrett was up next on the Friday and he gave a superb presentation on using Voicethread in the classroom. In case you missed it check out Tom’s excellent Google doc: “17 ways to use Voicethread in the Classroom

    Friday is the busiest day but even so the stand was mobbed. In fact, the queue was building out of the stand and blocking the pathway. But that’s kind of the point – be a little disruptive and get noticed. People were stopping and staying to see what all the fuss was about.

    BrainPOP UK stand packed for #TMTakeover #bett2010

    There were a series of great presentations on the variety of Takeovers and they’re sparking some fascinating debates about the impact and implications of Teachmeet – such as this much-commented on post on Tom Barrett’s blog .

    So if you’re off to BETT 2011 keep an eye out for TeachMeet Takeover flyers…who knows what you could learn?

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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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  • 11 Jan

    It’s really important to BrainPOP to involve teachers and kids with what we do in any way we feasibly can. We benefit from listening and our users benefit from sharing. Simple.

    VIBs

    We’re exhibiting at at BETT 2010 (Stand S46 on the upper balcony above the main hall) and it occurred to us that it’s a great time to meet some of our existing users, not just potential new ones. Twitter is great to keep in touch with teachers but you can’t beat face to face.

    But how completely brilliant would it be if we could not only meet them but work with them too?

    That’s when the idea of V.I.Bs came to us. “Very Important BrainPOPpers” who are happy to contribute their valuable time to BrainPOP UK.

    So with this in mind we speculatively asked, on our blog and on our Twitter, if any of our users would be kind and brave enough to volunteer to join us on our BETT stand to demo their BrainPOP UK skills.

    Well, we’re pleased as punch to say that some of you did. So each day at BETT we will have one or two proper, real life, honest-to-goodness BrainPOP UK teachers ready to wax lyrical about how they use Tim &  Moby resources in the classroom. They’re not being asked to be sales people – just to show you how they use BrainPOP UK with their pupils.

    Amongst the VIBs in attendance on the stand might meet:

    So if you are passing you may be lucky enough to catch one of our V.I.Bs. They’ll be wearing one of our exclusive black “Very Important BrainPOPpers” T-shirts and they’ll have some BrainPOP UK goodies to give out.

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  • 08 Jan

    teachmeettakeover

    What is TeachMeet takeover? We should probably leave that to Tom Barrett (the teacher who came up with the idea) to explain:

    “Educators presenting about FREE ideas on the vendor stands at the world’s largest educational technology event. Sharing inspiration for free.”

    Tom Barrett, Edte.ch blog: http://edte.ch/blog/2009/12/14/teachmeet-takeover-needs-you

    At each stand, at a certain time of the day (check out the TeachMeet Takeover time table), a teacher will “takeover” part of a stand to demo free tools and resources that teachers may find interesting and useful. On our stand it will be on the big plasma TV on the back wall.

    Lots of companies have volunteered to provide some space for a takeover:

    • Adobe
    • Scholastic
    • Studywiz
    • NetIntelligence
    • TrueTube
    • Rising Stars
    • The National Archives / BFI / English Heritage
    • Moava
    • Promethean Planet
    • VT Group
    • DB Education

    We’re privileged to be welcoming through the week:

    • the inimitable Drew Buddie (demoing “Doing more with Tim & Moby using freely available Web 2.0 Tools” and “Wordle, Tagul & BrainPOP“)
    • the inspirational John Johnston (demoing “A project to gather the voices of educators using mobile devices”)
    • the main man himself, Tom Barrett (demoing “Why Voicethread should be used in every primary classroom”)

    The demos will only be a few minutes long, and, having seen these 3 present before, we know you’ll walk away enlightened and full of new ideas. Also if you pick up a TeachMeet Takeover flyer during the show it will include a mini competition, along with the timetable of confirmed talks.

    You will need to collect 8 ideas from takeover talks from around the show to claim some prizes from the stands taking part. We’re donating some ice cool Tim and Moby memorabilia.

    Perhaps you’ll also be inspired enough to go to a TeachMeet one day.

    So why are we letting teachers “take over” our stand?

    There are 3 parts to our answer.

    1. Put simply, we are intrigued. BrainPOPpers are naturally inquisitive people. We’re also BETT veterans and like to feel part of its evolution. It may work, it may not – but if you don’t try you’ll never know.
    2. We support CPD (Continuing Professional Development). To support those who want to be better teachers. We know BrainPOP UK works best as part of a good teacher’s toolkit – we also know teachers call upon any number of other resources. Why shouldn’t we do our bit to encourage open minded investigation into new ways of doing things?
    3. We’ve always been big supporters and sponsors of the TeachMeet initiative too and part of the Takeover is to encourage new people to go to a TeachMeet.

    Our stand is only small but we’re sure TeachMeeters can make the best of it. You have our promise that we won’t “push” anything, we’re just happy to lend our space to help out this exciting event.

    All that’s left to say really is “Bring on the TeachMeet Takeover!”

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  • 07 Jan

    Tim and Moby in space

    Tim and Moby in space

    BrainPOP UK has been invited by the lovely Promethean Planet team to share some of the Tim and Moby magic with visitors to the Promethean Planet stand (B30), at BETT2010.

    PrometheanPlanet_Small

    We have been given a slot every day from 3pm-3:30pm to demo how well BrainPOP UK and Promethean resources work together.

    So, apart from being able to meet the BrainPOP UK team at our own stand (S46 on the Upper floor above the main hall), why not come and see us at the Promethean Planet Stand too?

    So what will you see if you come along?

    So come and say hi. You don’t have to be a Planet member but it’s well worth signing up to be part of the frankly staggeringly huge community of almost 500,000 people and check out the 16,000+ resources compatible with their ActivBoards (or even other IWBs using the Flipchart Viewer).

    At BrainPOP UK, we are huge fans of Promethean, mainly because they ‘get’ that teachers should be the focus of what we both do. Promethean have been at the forefront of building communities around their customers and their products in the UK.  They have demonstrated that this helps teachers get great value from their investment from both the hardware and software solutions.

    We are proud to stand with Promethean at BETT2010 and hope to see you there.

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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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  • 16 Dec

    We are very lucky and privileged to regularly get Tweets and emails from our customers telling us what they think about BrainPOP UK.

    A while ago we received a letter. A real letter on real paper from a real person. This is actually a pretty rare occasion in this digital era.

    It was from Vickie Bacon, a Maths Specialist and Enrichment co-ordinator (and huge fan of all things BrainPOP) who teaches Years 3 to 8 at Hurstpierpoint College in Sussex , and simply had to write in and tell us how much her and her students loved BrainPOP UK.

    “…I immediately decided to sign up for a free trial. I am so glad I did! Since then I have been converted into a passionate user of BrainPOP! I couldn’t wait to introduce it into my classes. So much so, that I’d like to share with you the different ways in which BrainPOP is now being used throughout the curriculum…”

    Well, it seemed like a perfect excuse for Tim, Moby, Eylan BrainPOP and Mike BrainPOP to jump in the BRAINmobile and go and say hi.

    IMG_1639

    During the first class, Y7 maths, we were impartial observers, seeing how she incorporated Tim & Moby into her front of class teaching. She mentioned on several occasions how well behaved and quiet the children were that day. We’d like to think it was BrainPOP’s super engagement power but we secretly suspect this was mostly because there were two BrainPOPpers watching from the back of the room ;-)

    IMG_1655

    Tim and Moby’s movie on Fractions took centre stage as Mrs Bacon framed the whole lesson around it. The movie had the students undivided attention and the message seemed to sink in as the POPquiz was shared by all.

    One by one the pupils hopped up from their chairs to tap the interactive whiteboard to answer the POPquiz questions. It’s always fascinating to see how the product we pour our hearts into used so effectively and engagingly. She clicked around the screens with ease, pausing for discussion points on several occasions. We’ll be blogging the detail of the lesson in Part 2.

    IMG_1661

    The lesson came to an end and the children began to pack up their things. At this point, Mrs Bacon officially introduced us to the children, although it felt more like the big reveal at the end of a game show, because the kids mobbed us immediately! We survived the demands for Moby t-shirts and mouse mats, but only just. Vickie was very happy with her new Tim & Moby mug.

    It was very special getting to speak with the children, who subsequently never left our side for the remainder of the day, helpfully making suggestions for such things as new products and movies. They were big, big fans.

    We went on to have encouraging chats in the staff rooms and corridors, eventually seeing BrainPOP UK used on a one-to-one basis. This showed that BrainPOP UK is just as engaging on this smaller, more personal level, as it is for larger classes.

    IMG_1672

    Overall, it was about as positive as a customer experience can get. We plan to return to Hurstpierpoint in the New Year for an open day, where other schools in the area will attend to see it in action and to share experiences.

    Following that, Vickie Bacon hopes to join us at BETT in January as a VIB (Very Important BrainPOPper) to present BrainPOP UK on the Promethean Planet stand. It will be great having her there and suggesting to teachers that they don’t just have to take our word for it.

    So we got to spend most of the day seeing Tim and Moby in action across a selection of classes and to not only meet the teachers who use it, but to also meet the children (or should we say BrainPOPpers?) who adored it.

    Big thanks to Vickie, her kids and the staff at Hurstpierpoint college for making us feel so welcome.

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