• 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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  • 27 Apr
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    Big news today! Huge! We’d like to announce the launch of a new initiative called “BrainPOP UK Evaluators”.

    Our Evaluators program is a new way to help you (and us) get the best from your evaluation. Our regular free trial is still available as normal but we’re now offering the chance for a few schools in each Local Authority to become “BrainPOP Evaluators”.

    As an Evaluator, in return for 8 weeks FREE access to www.brainpop.co.uk, a school commits to:

    1. Providing a case study (500-750 words + any accompanying multimedia) on a topic picked from a list e.g. SATS focus, Transition, POPquizzes, Geography, Remediation, VLE focus on Moodle, using BrainPOP UK as a homework resource and lots, lots more. Or whatever idea you like! As long as it’s focused on the use of BrainPOP UK in your school/classroom in whatever way appeals to you.
    2. Making themselves available to a Local Authority for feedback in the event of an authority wide purchase being considered.

    We are also very interested to hear how you might combine BrainPOP UK with other tools and if BrainPOP resources inspired any classroom activities e.g. the Poetry movie encouraged a burst of creative haiku writing!

    Evaluator schools are given personal attention by the BrainPOP UK team to make sure they have all the inspiration and support they need to enjoy and get maximum value from their extended trial.

    Case studies will be used by BrainPOP UK:

    • As a way to help us promote BrainPOP UK best practice
    • To help us understand how we can improve BrainPOP UK

    How it works:

    1. You tell us you’re interested.
    2. If we have some spaces available we will send you a simple form, where you indicate your case study topic and tell us when you want to start.
    3. When we get that back we send you your trial login details.
    4. During the 8 weeks you work on your chosen case study throughout the evaluation period, gathering feedback from colleagues and students.
    5. After 8 weeks are up email us your completed case study form.
    6. Subscribe to BrainPOP UK or simply let the trial expire.

    Is this open to everyone?

    It is open to all types of educational services, but there are only a few spaces available in each authority. If you already subscribe to BrainPOP UK then an extended free trial is of no use to you but we’re always interested in hearing how you’re using BrainPOP UK in the classroom (if you do subscribe and submit a case study I’m sure we can find a BrainPOP UK goodie or two as a thank you). This is open to subscribers too.

    So this is really for those schools that want to give BrainPOP UK a proper evaluation – spread the login round the school, invite contributions from colleagues, discuss best practice and so on.

    This is also open to International schools that follow a UK curriculum and Local Authorities who want a more in-depth analysis from a local school.

    Teachers don’t have time to do this! We’re a busy school!

    We know teachers are very busy; very busy indeed. Becoming an Evaluator will help you put a framework around your trial experience with BrainPOP UK. You can make your case study in whichever way you like, as creatively as you like. Above all, we want it to be enjoyable. You can drop out or give up at any point. You are not obligated to do anything.

    You can still take out the normal free trial.

    Can I see an example?

    At time of writing this is a new thing for BrainPOP UK. So have a read of this evaluation by one of our pilot Evaluator schools: Saltash.net Community School by Dan Roberts, Assistant Head teacher. Dan also runs a successful blog where you can read about how he approached his Evaluation: Do your sudents like to BrainPOP?.

    Do I have to buy BrainPOP UK to do this?

    Nope. You only need to evaluate it. You may find that at the end of the evaluation BrainPOP UK isn’t for you. No problem. Simply let the trial lapse. We’d still expect your case study as it’s just as important to understand what we can do better. Your perspective will help.

    How do I apply to become a BrainPOP Evaluator?

    Email us with the following information to info@brainpop.co.uk:

    • Your name
    • Your position
    • Your school type e.g. Secondary school
    • Your postcode

    If there’s a slot available we’ll let you know and set you up. If you’ve any other questions please add them below or get in touch.

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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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