• 27 Sep
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    After scoping out the festival in 2010 we decided to bite the bullet and book a stand at Scottish Learning Festival 2011. Aside from the prospect of haggis for breakfast and generally enjoying a jaunt north of the border, we had plenty of reasons to attend.

    Moby salutes!

    Let's get started!

    1. Putting faces to names

    We have a lot of friends and customers in Scotland and it’s always nice to put a face to a name. Cathy from St. Thomas’ R.C. Primary School made a big impression in her kilt attire so we made sure she took away a tartan badge or two to match 😉

    It’s also always nice to meet tweeps like @digitalkatie and @kirstyforbes. Always a pleasure, ladies! Kirsty was the lucky winner of 3 months free access to BrainPOP and a goodie bag. We hope you enjoy having Moby in your school, Kirsty!

    Kirsty Forbes wins free access

    Kirsty sports her winning certificate

    2. Mapped to Curriculum for Excellence

    We got to meet lots of Scottish teachers and show them Deep Beep, our curriculum matching tool. Deep Beep means you can drill down to the experiences and outcomes you wish to follow and find appropriate topics for your lesson in just a couple of clicks. All BrainPOP topics are mapped to Curriculum for Excellence and Deep Beep should help make lesson planning easy.

    BrainPOP stand at SLF 2011

    Moby loves to see a busy stand

    3. Help with your evaluation

    We know what it’s like to be bombarded with promotional literature and suffer information overload at these events so we wanted to create something to assist you. Proper evaluation of BrainPOP should involve your class if possible. The more colleagues and students helping with the evaluation the better. That’s why we created evaluation booklets – have your class help out.

    With our evaluation sheet you let the kids check out the site, give you their honest feedback and you can use it to convince your Head Teacher or PT that BrainPOP’s worth an investment. Download the Evaluation Sheet here:

    Evaluation booklet download

    Click to download

    4. Exceptional keynotes

    We heard some truly inspirational keynotes and speaker sessions. Sir John Jones’ keynote, The Future Is Not What It Was, was a particular highlight. He received a standing ovation and even had some of the audience in tears. If you didn’t manage to catch him last week, we recommend you take the time to watch him now: Sir John Jones and other keynotes. Exceptional.

    5. VIBs in the house

    We know that it’s a thousand times more useful for you to talk to a fellow teacher so special mention has to go to our VIB (Very Important BrainPOPper), Mhairi Healy from Calderglen High School. Mhairi made sure that visitors to our stand heard first hand about how she uses BrainPOP with her class. Her unyielding enthusiasm and passion for teaching (and BrainPOP!) got straight to the heart of what really matters in the classroom!

    Mhairi, our Scottish VIB

    Very Important BrainPOPper

    We know there were lots of people posing for photos with Moby. If you took any pics please send them to info@brainpop.co.uk or post them to our Facebook page. We’d love to see some more and we’ll make sure you get some goodies for your trouble.

    We’ll see you next year folks!

    Now, where can we find a kilt maker used to working with robots?

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  • 21 Oct
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    So you’ve started your 30 day free trial and you’re ready to dive into BrainPOP UK with your pupils.

    But where to start? Click a couple of movies at random? Take a quiz yourself?

    It’s difficult to judge a product without some stimulus on how to get the most from it. So here are our top tips  – they’re not defintive and they’re quite simple so we’d love to hear more of your experiences in the comments. If you send us a top tip we’ll send you a goodie!

    1) Take the robot by the horns – try using BrainPOP UK resources to challenge your class

    Don’t start with a concept you or your pupils find easy, when evaluating. Start with a movie that you struggle to get engagement with or find it tricky to get the concept across in a simple way.

    It might be the Atomic model, Plate Techtonics, Converting fractions to decimals, Punctuation, or even the Stock Market.

    Play it to your class and invite feedback on its impact. Use the pause button regularly to stop and provoke discussion or invite questions. See if Tim and Moby acted well as middle men between the concept and your pupils.

    2) Timing is everything – mix up when you take the POPquiz

    1. Ask your students to take the Graded version of the quiz (where results are emailed to a nominated email address) individually before watching the movie. At this point they will not know what score out of ten they got.
    2. Then watch the movie (and do your whole teaching thing, of course).
    3. Then take the same quiz again.
    4. This time you might want to let them see their score or make them email you again. You should be able to see, side by side, whether the movie that accompanies the quiz and the teaching you did around it, has had any immediate impact on their understanding.
    5. Then…do the exact same quiz again a week later!

    3) Take advantage of Deep Beep – we’re mapped against English and Scottish curricula

    Get your lesson plans/Schemes of Work out. Use Deep Beep, our new curriculum movie matching tool, to drill down via the curriculum you are using to the objective you want to cover. There should be a movie there waiting to be used to complement that objective. Bookmark that URL for later or copy and paste it into a document.

    4) ‘Tis better to give than receive – help your department or budget holder see what BrainPOP UK can do

    Give your login to a colleague. Seriously. Give it to all your colleagues that you think might be interested, in all departments. BrainPOP UK is a cross curricular resource that is often used at all ages. It can be surprisingly handy with 5 year olds as with 18 year olds. We’ve had success stories reported from all sorts of surprising places:


    5) Homework – BrainPOP UK is all online, which means you can link home and classroom effectively

    Give your students a list of movies and quizzes you want them to watch at home. There’s no worries about giving your students your login details – they will expire anyway and you can always change them if you decide to subscribe. Ask them to choose the email option when taking the quizzes. That way you (should) have a lovely batch of quiz results to browse through for the next time you meet.

    6) The kitchen sink – see how BrainPOP UK delivers value for money

    Look at our All Movies page. We admit it’s not the most glamorous page but a glance (or scroll) will show you sheer number of movies in BrainPOP UK. And they ALL come with your subscription. Now THAT’S value.

    7) Tim, Moby & YOU – encourage speaking and listening skills

    Ask your pupils, in groups or by themselves, to introduce a movie and, if you are confident in them, let them pause the movie to prompt discussion and run the quiz too on the interactive whiteboard. You can also use the rewind and fast forward buttons to skip chapters within the movie.

    8 ) See how easy it is to integrate BrainPOP UK movies locally – see how BrainPOP UK movies can be delivered outside the classroom

    We bet there’s a school event happening at some point during your trial that a BrainPOP UK movie could be just right for, such as an e-safety week, or an anti bullying campaign or even an historical event such as Charles Dickens’ birthday (February 7, 1812, by the way). Link a BrainPOP UK movie on your VLE front page – ask us for a special URL that will take you straight to it without your VLE users having to login to BrainPOP UK.

    *shhh, secret tip* when we launch our POPboxes (embeddable movies) you will be able to play particular movies right there in the page.

    9) Two BrainPOP’s are better than one – use collaboration to engage with BrainPOP UK

    Split the class into pairs and ask them, with headphones, to watch a movie and then collaboratively discuss it and then share their insights to the class afterwards.

    10) Why BrainPOP UK?

    This isn’t a tip but some of the best advice we can give you is to remind you that BrainPOP UK designed to fulfil a specific purpose: to engage children enough that they understand concepts.

    • We ARE an amazing answer to how to engage kids with new or hard to teach topics.
    • We CAN be used alongside your existing resources and are very easily integrated into your existing plans (and schemes!).
    • We SHOULD BE a stimulus for learning – not a series of discreet learning objects – for tackling tiny components of knowledge. Life is not like that. Why should learning resources be?

    Any more tips on getting the best from BrainPOP UK?

    PS: Thanks to Mr Stucke at http://www.mrstucke.com , who’s currently going through an extended BrainPOP UK evaluation with his school, for the inspiration to write this post.

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  • 14 Oct
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    We are pleased and proud to introduce Deep Beep – our shiny new curriculum matching tool.

    Deep Beep home

    What is Deep Beep?

    It’s a tool on our website that enables a teacher to find BrainPOP UK movies that match the objectives in their planning. It’s as simple as that.

    Deep Beep is in beta, for now, whilst we gather your feedback. It should all work pretty well but we also know how easily stuff can slip through the net.

    We need feedback and ideas on how to grow Deep Beep to be as useful as it possibly can be. We are absolutely dedicated to making every aspect of BrainPOP UK as insanely great as the movies and quizzes. Please place any comments here – or by twitter (@BrainPOP_UK) or all the old fashioned ways!

    How does it work?

    We have painstakingly tagged every movie in BrainPOP UK to not only the English curricular guidance…


    Browsing by English curricula

    …but also to Scotland’s 5-14 National Guidelines and the new Curriculum for Excellence .

    Browsing by Curriculum for Excellence

    Choosing 5-14 or the Curriculum for Excellence

    Browsing by the Curriculum for Excellence

    Browsing by the Curriculum for Excellence

    Finding a movie via the Curriculum for Excellence browse

    Finding a movie via the Curriculum for Excellence browse

    You click through the selections until you find the objective you need and we should have a movie that complements it. Then just click the movie icon and you’ll be taken straight to it. You also might want to save the movie URL as a bookmark or cut and paste the URL into a lesson plan for later.

    What’s next for Deep Beep?

    It’s kind of up to you – what suggestions you have. This is only Deep Beep version 1. We’ve built it in such a way that we can add curricula, or functionality, fairly quickly. We intend to iteratively improve it over time.

    It’s also built in Flash so there’s a possibility that when we come out of beta it can be embedded in VLEs, as a stand alone BrainPOP UK search and browse tool.

    One last thing – why’s it called Deep Beep?

    There’s two parts to that answer.

    1. We spent a long time wrangling with complicated and prosaic titles that tried to describe what it did. Some rejected names included “Movie match maker”, “POPmovie finder”, “BrainMaPPer” and “Unit to Movie Linker Gizmo” (we were getting desperate by this point). So we took another direction instead and decided we could “name” it and sub head it with what it did. Much more fun.
    2. It’s a gentle homage to Deep Thought, the Super Computer, created by Douglas Adams, one of the team’s favourite authors. We do love him so.

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