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 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.”
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.
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!