• 01 Jul
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    Carluke high school logo

    Carluke High School, Carluke, South Lanarkshire

    • Local authority: South Lanarkshire
    • Pupil and teacher numbers as at September 2012: No. on roll: 1,098/Teacher numbers (FTE): 81.9
    • Secondary/State Funded/Integrated community school

    “Our school is a secondary, co-educational, non denominational, comprehensive, community school serving the town of Carluke and the neighbouring villages of Braidwood, Forth, Law, Kilncadzow and Yieldshields in rural South Lanarkshire. We have approximately 1,200 pupils ranging in age from 12 to 18 and a teaching staff of just over 100 teachers. We offer a broad, balanced curriculum delivered by 5 faculties and 6 teaching departments, a well equipped Library Resource Centre and 3 ICT Rooms.”


    This case study was conducted and produced independently by Carluke High school between August 2013 and April 2014, under guidance of the South Lanarkshire ICT Development Officer. BrainPOP web and app access was provided gratis. The outcomes of the project are reproduced in full below with kind permission of Carluke High school.


    2013-2014 saw Carluke High School be one of the first Support for Learning departments in Scotland to roll out the BrainPOP programme, in conjunction with mobile devices.

    The pupils expressed, both practically and verbally, a great deal of ownership in the work they did under BrainPOP. Feedback from the group was highly positive. The use of movies, texts illustrated with animated pictures and interactive group projects made learning fun and appeal to a wide range of learning styles.


    Carluke High School Session: 2013-14 Planning for Improvement

    Department: Support for Learning

    “The Support for Learning Department is an intensely practical area of school life. It is directly concerned with enabling and empowering learners to access the curriculum in all subjects.

    “The aim of the Support for Learning Department is to recognise the needs of learners, both in enhancing the curriculum for the more able and elaboration of the curriculum for the less able. In addition, to develop strategies to empower learners, support teaching colleagues and deliver practical help in and outwith the classroom by a variety of methodologies and resources, and deliver a pupil centered curriculum.”


    School Priority: Improving achievement and attainment

    Action (What are you going to do?)

    To enable ASN pupils within S2 Fast Tracking[1] to participate in literacy across the curriculum, through the BrainPOP UK app. This is a cross-curricular resource mapped to four stages of CfE, the purpose of which is to engage pupils, so that they understand concepts in a fun and stimulating way, making it a more memorable learning experience.

    Outcomes (What will be different?)

    • As this resource appeals to all learning styles, pupils will be enthused and motivated to learn in the class through the characters Tim and Moby, new skills and to reinforce existing skills.
    • The use of animation in learning should assist retention of information.
    • Reinforcement also comes in the form of typeable and printable activities which can be carried out during a lesson as they interact with the movie or at the end.
    • Parents will be able to participate in supporting their son/daughters learning by gaining access to the App at home.

    Carluke table of tasks


    Monitoring and evaluating evidence

    1. How will you evidence progress?
    2. What will progress look like?
    • Use Deep Beep[2] – Curriculum for Excellence matching tool to select area ASN[3] pupils require support
    • Pupils to experience the movies for each topic and then use the quiz to assess their understanding
    • Use the resource in different ways and evaluate the way they like using it best – individually on laptops, iPads or projected from iPad onto HD projector as a group resource
    • Evaluations carried out by pupils
    • Video Diary
    • GL Assessment[4]; YARC Assessment[5]; final assessment to be carried out to monitor progress
    • Liaise with subjects re BrainPOP being used across the curriculum


    Evaluation of progress & Impact for Learners

    August – October 2013 

    • Pupils introduced to BrainPOP and the main characters Tim and Moby, the movies, quiz and worksheets to support topics. The pupils were enthused by the two characters animatedly asking questions as a result of the colourful fun way of learning. Learning is further enhanced for the pupils by using iPads as they love learning from apps.
    • As BrainPOP is a cross curricular resource, log on details and details about how it is linked to Curriculum for Excellence were emailed to staff, thus providing all pupils access to this incredible resource, to support their learning.
    • PT Computing at South Lanarkshire Council was very impressed with the resource and created a link on the Intranet to make access easy for staff.
    • ASN pupils were issued with a handout to take home to parents with log on details so that they can access BrainPOP at home.
    • Deep Beep Curricular Matching tool used to identify topics linked to CfE, which allows staff to plan lessons.


    • Prewriting Topic – this looked at organising thoughts & sequencing, followed by a quiz to consolidate learning. This helped ASN pupils (Dyslexic) to plan their written work. This was further reinforced by a worksheet with ‘keywords’, which were discussed as a group.Pupils commented: “this is a different way of learning” and “it will make you remember better because of how funny Tim and Moby are and also the colours and pictures”.
    • The Writing Process Topic – Pupils benefited from this lesson not only for literacy but also across curricular subjects. Through the movie, worksheets, and keywords, pupils learned about writing drafts, checking over writing and submitting final drafts. One pupil commented: “This is the most fun period yet in school and I have learned lots”.
    • Writing an Essay Topic – Tim and Moby reinforced the skills required for writing an essay. Pupils looked forward to the quiz and had a competition to see how many questions they could get correct on the topic. They also used the accompanying worksheet to define the keywords used in the movie. As a result of the above, pupils were able to confidently plan their own essays, write their essays in an organised way and follow this up with a PowerPoint presentation.

    All of the above was documented on a VLog. This was filmed on the iPad, showing the pupils participating in BrainPOP within the class. This VLog was forward to BrainPOP and to South Lanarkshire ICT Dev. Officer.

    The feedback from BrainPOP was that they thought it was “amazing” and that it was great footage of our pupils animatedly engaged in learning. They were encouraged by BrainPOP’s comments.

    The pupils could not wait to see the VLog and loved watching themselves asking/answering questions. Pupils want to do more and we are planning an Animoto over the next few months.

    Seasonal Activity 1

    • Daylight Saving Time – Why we change the clocks in Spring and Autumn. Pupils are now developing their oral reading skills by reading out the quiz and also enhancing their vocabulary by learning the keywords.
    • Halloween– Pupils were excited to learn about Halloween through Tim and Moby. This time they practised their oral reading by taking turns in reading out the quiz and answering questions. Also the ‘FYI – Read More’ section, which allows pupils to read more on the topic. Again, they read this out from the iPad (projected), providing practise for their oral reading.

    November – December 2013

    • Staff were reminded again about BrainPOP and all the resources available. Some departments are going to look at it during the Inservice Day.

    Seasonal Activity 2

    • Bonfire Night – This movie triggered animated discussion on ‘bonfires’ and the safe use of fireworks. All pupils joined in. These discussions, within the small group situation, provides confidence for ASN pupils to join in discussions within larger classes across the curriculum.
    • Season’s Greetings (Winter Holidays) – Pupils were keen to improve their Literacy and ICT skills learning about how others celebrate Christmas. They used the laptops on this occasion and the activity enabled the pupils to choose and send an email to each other. They were all eager to carry out this activity and commented that “This is a fun way to send a Christmas message to our friends”. They were improving their literacy skills and developing their ICT skills.

    January – March 2014

    Year group S4 – Support for Prelim Examination using BrainPOP

    The group later stated that they found the way that Tim and Moby presented ‘Study Skills’ very entertaining and thought provoking, and provided guidance on how to approach different types of questions. This was a result of it appealing to different learning styles. They said that the “movies were great”.

    The topics covered were:


    Review of topics across the curriculum

    • The Fast Tracking group asked to go over topics that they had done in Physics and Biology. They said it is a great way to understand the topics as it is explained clearly.
    • The class requested that they use BrainPOP to revise topics before sitting assessments. The movies and quizzes are a fun way to revise and enjoyed revising for their Democracy Assessment for Modern Studies[6]. The class reported that they were more relaxed and confident going into the test and could answer most of the questions whereas their friends had difficulty. This resulted in them obtaining very good results and others asked how they did so well and they were able to tell them that they had used BrainPOP for revision using the keywords, movies and quizzes. Others had an assessment on the Slave Trade and the pupils said that the movie was “cool” and helped to remember the information.
    • Other assessments then followed in Chemistry, Acids and Alkalis and Biology, Tendons and Joints.The pupils watched the movie and took the quiz before they sat their assessments. The pupils scored very well in the quiz and were competing with the other Fast Tracking group, so they were able to compare scores making it a competitive learning experience. As a result of this extra support with their Chemistry and Biology they said that they had achieved a higher mark than they had expected.
    • Pupils were also encouraged to take notes from the movies within each of the topics they were revising. The movies are the correct length for note-taking practice. This introduced a new skill to the pupils, which would be particularly helpful across the curriculum as they move up the school. Pupils also took control of the BrainPOP movie, which was (this time) being projected and they stopped and started it to enable their peers to take notes. They took turns sitting at the teacher’s desk doing this and asking questions, feeling important and confident carrying this out.
    • Pupils were assessed before starting in the group in Nov 2012 using the YARC Assessment (York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension).Various strategies to improve their basic literacy skills were put in place, including BrainPOP, to support their learning. It was part of their course for the last 5 months up to their reassessment in December 2013. Results indicate that the oral reading age of the group increased on average by 3 years and their reading comprehension on average by 3 years 6 months. BrainPOP has certainly been one of the contributory factors in improving literacy within the group, providing greater access to the curriculum for these young people. They have continued to use it since then, as indicated above.
    • As well as producing a VLog showing the pupils participating in BrainPOP we also produced an Animoto. Pictures were taken for it using the iPad. The pupils were eager to watch themselves learning with BrainPOP on the Animoto. They have got a lot out of BrainPOP as it appeals to many of their learning styles. They have also provided feedback on their Evaluation forms, which also feature in the Animoto.


    • Pupils used BrainPOP for reinforcement of topics they had carried out in their Maths classes. They requested that they use BrainPOP to revise for their assessments as they had success using it to reinforce work in other subjects across the curriculum.The pupils commented that the movies and the quiz taken at the end helped them to retain information. Almost all pupils have benefited from using BrainPOP in this way.


    [1] “There are always a few pupils in S1 who experience difficulty with basic literacy and who need individual support throughout their secondary school careers.  An attempt to address this crucial problem with language has been made by the Support for Learning Department and is known as fast-tracking.  It has been running for many years now and the results from this intensive course are very encouraging”. http://www.carluke-highschool.org.uk/learning-teaching/support-for-learning

    [2] http://www.brainpop.co.uk/curriculum_matching_tool/

    [3] Additional Support Needs

    [4] http://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/

    [5] York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension

    [6] “The National 5 Modern Studies Course gives learners a detailed understanding of the democratic process and of social and economic issues at local, Scottish, national and international levels” http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/47448.html

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  • 20 Jun
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    HIlton primary academy logo

    • Hilton primary academy, Newcastle Upon Tyne
    • Type: Academy mixed primary
    • Age range: 3-11 years
    • Number on roll excl. nursery: 322

    Guest post by John Quinn, Lead Teacher for Creative Enquiry

    I met Moby and Jude from BrainPOP at the BrainSpace event in Hartlepool, and was inspired by how the pupils from Jesmond Gardens school used their iPads to create an exciting workflow.

    Jesmond Gardens pupils at BrainSpace

    I took their ideas back to school and, using the free BrainPOP UK  app, tried them with our Y3 pupils.

    Demonstrating what’s possible

    First, I made an eBook in the Book Creator app and showed it to the children. They were impressed that I’d actually met Moby and this helped them connect with the movies and learning materials in BrainPOP.

    Their task was to choose a topic and make a book about it.

    They had to design a front cover, create a page about what they already knew about the topic, let’s say ‘Dance‘.

    Using the BrainPOP UK app in class

    Applying transferrable technology skills

    They then watched the BrainPOP movie and made a page in the book about what they’d learned from watching the movie. The children chose their own way to work, some worked in groups, pairs or by themselves.

    They’d all used the PicCollage app so were able to transfer their skills and experience into making an eBook. They were excited and entertained watching Moby and Tim, and were able to take screen grabs of the movie as it went along put these into their books.

    "What I know now" ebook

    The children quickly learned from each other how to add text, voice notes or even video of themselves to explain what they now know about their chosen topic. The final job was to load their finished book into Showbie and send it to me for feedback.

    The class eBook library

    The children liked being able to pause and repeat the video so they could work at their own pace. This trial was so successful and so engaging for the children I contacted Jude and she suggested having a free trial of the website to extend the learning opportunities for the children.

    Further investigation of BrainPOP

    I’d been working with Y3 on computer programming so it seemed a natural next step to look at what BrainPOP had to offer on the subject.

    The children related straight away to Moby needing programming because they’d had to re-program me when I was pretending to be a computer/robot.

    Some of the technical language was quite advanced for them but all children accessed the learning at some level.

    Once one group had found the quiz they all wanted to try it out. Some of the children spent their time looking into the other related information and all children produced an eBook explaining computer programming.

    They used screen grabs from the BeeBot app to show how they’d programmed a Beebot.

    The combination of practical hands on experience and using BrainPOP on the iPad gave the children ownership of their learning and choices about how they evidenced their learning.  The next step for Y3 is to choose their own topic, create a book and their own quiz!

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  • 13 Mar
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    We were invited to a presentation recently by Vickie Bacon, BrainPOP fan and VIB, at Hurstpierpoint College Prep School. She wanted to share something exciting that staff and students at Hurstpierpoint have been involved in: setting up a “Digital Pencil Case” scheme for Years 7 and 8 that used Apple mobile devices as the central technology.

    Hurstpierpoint College

    An idea is born

    It all began when Vickie attended an inspirational talk by an iPad “guru”. Maths teacher, Vickie, was convinced iPads could be extremely beneficial by giving the students freedom to learn and keeping learning relevant.

    After discussions with the Headteacher and IT team, ICT was removed as a discreet subject in Years 7 and 8. Desktops and Macs which had previously been confined to an ICT suite were redistributed into classrooms and, with hard work from dedicated staff, all Year 7s were issued with an iPad on the first day of the autumn term.  ICT was brought under the umbrella of other subjects with relative ease.

    The basics

    Each iPad was handed over to the kids fresh out of the box. All the kids needed to get started with individual iPads were an email and iTunes account. They took them home and downloaded apps including: Keynote, Pages, Garageband, iMovie, Poplet, iBooks and iBookcreator.

    Keeping ahead of the kids!

    How were the children able to “buy” apps? Simple – apps were “gifted” to them. As Vickie repeated throughout her presentation – and was also demonstrated by children throughout the day – the real challenge for the teacher is to keep ahead of the kids!

    “Learning boxes” were introduced to Year 7 and Year 8 lessons – these included mini boxes with a set of iPod touch devices and an iPad included in each. The teachers were each equipped with an iPad of their own for the summer break and attended a course to get them up to speed with the technology. The kids needed showing once then they were off!

    Practical classroom application

    Teachers introduced lesson plans with QR codes for the children to scan like this Michael Rosen Rap lesson:

    Michael Rosen rap

    The kids scanned the code at the top of the sheet with their iPod Touch, popped headphones in for a listen, and identified key features of the poem. If you use iOS devices in school we thoroughly recommend you trying it with a class, it was great fun!

    We saw a great demonstration for using the ShowMe app: Vicki was able to show us one of her students working on a maths problem while she was teaching another group of students. It was fascinating as you could see the student’s thought process. Vickie could then use this student’s working as a lesson starter or plenary for another class. Live workings could also be emailed to the child’s record.

    The world in your hands

    One of the key factors before going ahead with this scheme was being able to trust the children. In school time, kids are restricted by the school firewalls but at home, they can access anything. Vickie likened putting an iPad in a 12 year old’s hands to putting the “whole world” in their hands. Teachers were COP trained and parents were also invited along to these sessions.

    To keep on top of any misuse, teachers conduct random “iPad pulls” during lessons or during the school day in order to check the children’s history. Anything bad? They get a “black i”. If they get the all clear they receive a “rosy apple” 🙂

    Parental engagement

    Hurstpierpoint use WebDAV for updating student records and tracking progress. Parents have access to these records too. It all felt incredibly open and has proved an ideal set up for parental engagement. On WikiServe the kids can blog and podcast their work and the school uses a portal to keep parents informed. The parents can see everything their child is doing in school – awards, grades, etc.

    Drama, Comic Life, and other iPad tools

    After a short break it was time for the Year 7 kids to show us what they’d been up to. Harry did some “modelling” at the front of the class to demonstrate different statuses in drama before the kids were dispersed amongst the crowd to show us their classwork.

    Olly showed our little group how easy it was to slot the dramatic poses captured on the iPad into a comic strip in Comic Life, adding speech bubbles and narrative descriptions. It soon became clear how cross-curricular their drama lesson was turning out to be, bringing in elements of English, ICT and Art.

    Alessa then delighted with a presentation which showed the cross-curricular nature of their patterns project:

    • An iMovie clip she’d made demonstrating patterns in Art;
    • A Garageband rap for patterns in French;
    • A poplet to show patterns in Maths and the Nth term;
    • And then she used poplet to combine French, Maths and Art

    The morning closed with an iBook presentation from Ellie. She and her classmates had recently visited the Apple Education Conference in London and she had created an iBook diary of their day with lots of photos and captions. Sterling work!

    It was inspiring to see students present their work to a room full of strangers with such confidence and eloquence. And great to see iPads being used to their full potential in the classroom. But Hurstpierpoint have a team of dedicated staff who had clearly recognised the commitment required to get the most out of such a large investment. On top of that, the relations between the school, the students, and their parents was strong enough that the school clearly felt they could entrust students with these expensive devices.

    Could it work in other schools? Let us know what you think!

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