• 28 Jul
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    It’s no secret that the Pokemon Go craze has swept the world but did you know that there’s plenty of ways Pokemon Go can generate learning opportunities in the classroom (and out of it!)?

    Pokemon banner 3

    How do you play Pokemon Go?

    Pokemon Go is an augmented reality app (that means the game elements are overlaid onto the real world).

    So when you’re capturing Pokemon you can see them as though they were in the real world through your phone or tablet camera.

    Pokemon - Ratata

    Players walk around looking for Pokemon trying to “catch ’em all” and visit pokestops which are local areas of interest to get items like pokeballs (what you throw at Pokemon to capture them).

    In our home town of Oxford places like Martyrs’ Memorial in St Giles, the Ashmolean Museum in Beaumont Street, and the Bodleian Library are all Pokestops.

    Players also pick a team to be on (red = Valor, yellow = Instinct, and blue = Mystic) and can compete for control of pokegyms for their team.

    The aim is to discover and capture as many of these creatures as you can, and add them to your Pokedex.


    But how can Pokemon Go be useful for learning?

    We took a deeper look and discovered there’s a lot of beneficial ways that it can be adapted for learning.

    Let’s catch ’em all!

    Pokemon Go lesson ideas by subject

    There are many different ways Pokemon Go can be used as a way to spark interest so jump to a subject:

    Maths and Data Literacy




    Geography and Local History

    Maths and data literacy lesson ideas using Pokemon Go:

    There’s a lot of data in the Pokemon Go app. From the journal tracking game play to data on individual pokemon’s height and weight there’s a variety of data available to players (and it’s data that they’re interested in). It’s a great opportunity to practice data literacy skills.

    • Students could track the height and weight of different pokemon and compare them within species and type. Students could even work out different pokemon’s BMI.
    • Students can track their ‘seen’ and ‘caught’ statistics for use in data handling activities.
    • Students could track on Google maps where they’ve caught pokemon and look for patterns. Different types of pokemon spawn in particular kinds of areas. For example water type pokemon spawn near bodies of water. By tracking this data and looking for patterns they could check the veracity of this.
    • Students can track their pokemon data in apps like Airtable to practice their database and spreadsheet skills.
    • Students could track their routes and distances and work out the most efficient routes to different pokestops.

    Some example BrainPOP topics to improve their data literacy skills:

    Science lesson ideas using Pokemon Go:

    While Pokemon themselves aren’t real creatures (physically, at least) they can be an excellent segue into talking about ecosystems in the real world.

    • Where students have encountered Pokemon they could think about different biomes and ecosystems. If these pokemon existed in the real world where would they be most likely to be found?
    • Pokemon Go uses GPS to track players location. Interest in the game creates the opportunity to discuss how GPS and satellites work.
    • Pokemon “evolve” as a form of levelling up. How does evolution in Pokemon differ from real evolution?
    • While playing the game, have students look around, ask them what kinds of animals and plants can they see in the area and explore local habitats.
    • Bioethics – Pokemon are captured and removed from their habitats and most are then transferred to Professor Willow (the character who asks players to capture Pokemon to begin with). Students could investigate the ethics of this practice and whether it would be allowable in the real world.

    Some example BrainPOP topics:

    English lessons ideas using Pokemon Go:

    Pokemon Go encourages imagination and adventure and this spirit can be easily harnessed for creative writing and information writing.

    • Encourage students to write stories about their adventures catching Pokemon. Students could employ digital storytelling by using video editing software and apps such as Thinglink as way to extend the mobile learning experience.
    • Students could write a newspaper article about the Pokemon Go phenomenon.
    • Students could write a manual explaining how to play Pokemon Go.
    • Students could write a diary entry using information from the app’s journal feature to chronicle their game avatar’s experiences.
    • Create a comic strip about Pokemon – either by hand or digitally using a variety of comic making apps like Strip Designer.

    Some example BrainPOP topics:

    PSHE lessons ideas using Pokemon Go:

    • Create a poster showing what online safety and information privacy issues related to the game and what guidelines players should follow to stay safe.

    Some example BrainPOP topics:

    Geography and local history lesson ideas using Pokemon Go:

    • Use Pokestops to discover your local area. Examine and research local areas of interest that have been designated as Pokestops and use them as a way to discover your local area.
    • Create a guide to the locations of different Pokestops and include why it’s an area of interest to local history.
    • Write a proposal for a new Pokestop in your local area and justify why you think it should be a Pokestop.

    Some example BrainPOP topics:

    Good luck catching them all!

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  • 24 May
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    We co-hosted a webinar with COBIS and Mark Anderson (ICT Evangelist), best selling author and Apple Distinguished Educator, who shared his top ’10 classroom apps in 30 minutes’.

    10 apps in 30 mins presentation

    It was a fantastic webinar, with lots of practical advice and recommendations.

    All the apps he shared are linked below. Give them a try!

    1. Ditty – Make class set of videos
    2. Yakit Kids – Bring inanimate objects to life for explaining topics
    3. Book Creator – Create ebooks to promote literacy
    4. Photofunia – Create revision cards and easy wall display materials
    5. BrainPOP – Hopefully you know this one!
    6. Nearpod – Interactive 360 field trips
    7. Explain Everything – Interactive whiteboard on screen to promote independent learning
    8. PingPong Spot Networking – Quiz and poll creation for simple assessment
    9. Post-it Plus – Digital Post-its for sentence starters and seating plans
    10. Adobe Spark Video , Adobe Spark PageAdobe Spark Post – create interactive stories (example “Twitter for Teachers“)

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  • 16 Nov
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    Finding apps is easy. There’s over 200,000 educational apps out there.

    But searching for good apps is hard. There’s over 200,000 educational apps out there!

    Using the BrainPOP UK app in class

    Discovering, evaluating, and implementing the right apps to meet your teaching and learning strategy and challenges is not something to be taken lightly.

    This is why we’d like to invite you to join, for free, our 30 minute webinar “Exploring the importance of curriculum aligned apps and digital content“.

    In association with one of our partners, Educational App Store, the webinar will explore practical advice around finding resources, and we will showcase a range of primary school content and apps to support teaching and learning.

    BrainPOP and EAS logo

    When is it?

    Wednesday, 25th November 2015, 4:00 – 4:30pm GMT

    Who is this webinar for?

    Primary schools using or considering mobile devices; primary senior leaders; Heads of KS2; ICT co-ordinators; classroom teachers

    What can you expect to learn?

    • Key techniques to identify and examine high quality curriculum resources and apps
    • Practical advice on how to search for the most useful and relevant curriculum aligned digital content
    • An appreciation of the scope and variety of the resources available to use in school and at home across a range of devices including computers, Apple and Android phones and tablets.

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  • 12 Sep
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    Big app news! Our BrainPOP UK Featured Movie app and BrainPOP Jr Movie of the Week app have both been awarded 5 stars and the prestigious “EAS Recommended” certification.

    EAS recommends BrainPOP UK

    “BrainPOP have created beautifully animated videos with accompany quiz testing features…that will suit the classroom learning environment or will do well to support extended learning at home.”


    What is the EAS Certification?

    It’s all about “determining what makes a good educational app”.

    Here’s what EAS says:

    “There are over 100,000 educational apps available in the stores. A lot of them overlap and are in similar subjects therefore, it is important to be able to identify what makes a good educational app. We created the EAS Certification in order to benchmark the apps against a set of pedagogical criteria and academic research. Our community of teachers review and rate the app using our pedagogical EAS Certification.

    1. A strong association with learning outcomes (whether curriculum or non-curriculum based).
    2. Interactivity with the learner via correction and feedback on any questions that are set.
    3. An ease of use of the app so that the learner does not need any guidance and teach one’s self if necessary.
    4. A variety of levels in the app so that learners can progress and different levels of learning within the same age-group can be taken into account.
    5. The ability to collaborate on work with others and co-create.
    6. The impetus to motivate learners to go beyond the apps and find more information on the subject at hand.
    7. The impetus to engage learners and hold their attention to fulfil learning objectives.
    8. Clear pricing, no in-app purchases and privacy controls.
    9. Good quality, design and sound features.
    10. Content without errors in subject matter and/or spelling.”

    This criteria means that only the most educationally valuable apps receive the EAS certification. We were identified as useful for:

    • Cognitive Development
    • Critical Thinking
    • Life Skills
    • Academic Relevance

    Give our app a try – it’s free, can be linked to existing BrainPOP site subscriptions and is available for both Apple and Android devices.

    Get our BrainPOP UK Android app

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  • 18 Oct
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    Today we’ve invited Louise and her son J to share how they use BrainPOP at home. Having been an avid BrainPOP fan for well over a year J was super keen to tell us why he likes BrainPOP. We’ll hand you over to his Mum to take up the story…

    “As a child who is always keen to investigate topics and, at the same time, is an enthusiastic technology user BrainPOP UK is a daily ‘must visit’ site.

    J is a boy with motor coordination and planning difficulties (dyspraxia), but the site is completely accessible to him. A few clicks of the mouse and the odd bit of typing and he’s able to get to where he wants to be – independently.

    J loves to start with one topic and, by using the intelligent search, he will choose a movie to make his first ‘viewing’.

    As he watches Tim and Moby he chats along with them and answers their questions. For J this is an important part of learning. He needs to see the pictures but also see and hear the words too.

    Frequently he will laugh heartily at the content and, of course, he has some favourite movies (Bogies is his all time number 1!).

    He loves to share the movies he likes with his pals and they will all take turns to answer the POPQuiz at the end. Judging from their reactions, it’s a great hit for children from 5 to 13.

    At the start of each week, to help J with his planning and organisational skills, we talk about topics we’ll be covering or places that we are going to visit. J will carry out preparation work by seeing what BrainPOP can tell him.

    Sometimes, BrainPOP is used to consolidate learning done in other settings. For example, in the picture above, he was checking up on Sir Francis Drake by watching the Pirates movie. We’d been on holiday the week before and visited Buckland Abbey, which was Drake’s home.

    Whilst on holiday, J used the iPhone app to see the daily free movie when he wasn’t out building sandcastles. It too is simple to use and contains the same great graphics the website has.

    The best thing about BrainPOP for J is that it is completely his domain. The content is informative, fun and he drives his own exploration and learning. It keeps him engaged and Tim and Moby do not get fed up or complain about repeating themselves.

    He seeks out the new movies and is keen to share his new found knowledge with us.

    What a lovely way to learn!

    PS: J, as a piece of extension work for his blog post above, designed it as a PDF Independent Learning with Tim & Moby designed by J and also recorded a short Audioboo:

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  • 04 Oct
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    Today we’re welcoming ICT subject leader and seasoned BrainPOP educator, Dawn Hallybone, to POPtalk. She’s guest posted for us on how she’s used BrainPOP “on the go”, as a classroom teacher and parent.

    She’s been discovering new ways to interact with BrainPOP resources and has kindly shared some tips below, that you could potentially implement tomorrow.

    What is Mobile Learning?

    MoleNet defines it as:

    “…the exploitation of ubiquitous handheld technologies, together with wireless and mobile phone networks, to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning.

    It is the words in bold that particularly appeal to me as a teacher and as a parent, and BrainPOP, always at the forefront of educational innovation, have stepped into mobile technology. Kids shouldn’t wait for it be ‘school’ time to access learning – they should have access to learning wherever they are.

    Moby holding an iPhone

    The first thing to know is that the BrainPOP App for iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads is free – a huge bonus for teachers and parents. It features a movie of the day as well as another 21 movies that can also be accessed, 3 from each of their 7 curriculum categories.

    It looks as clear on an iTouch as it does on an iPad. This potentially enables the learning  to be supported and enhanced both at home and in school, as there’s a good chance some homes will have one or more Apple mobile devices.

    And I’m not the only one to think that this app is rather good as it has just been included in Tap magazine’s 100 Greatest Apps of All Time in the ‘Learn’ category!

    The app can be used in many ways, but here’s a few ways I’d recommend you try to get started with a mobile version of BrainPOP:

    1. Watch the movie of the day in the morning – very often these are chosen to combine with items in the news.
    2. Find one movie that interests you, watch it and share with a partner – what did you learn, what made you choose it?
    3. Ask children to use it to research a topic – use that to perhaps produce a talk or presentation.
    4. Share a movie at home with a family member – the movies can be played on the TV via a Wii or Playstation 3.
    5. What would you ask Tim and Moby to explain? Send your questions to Tim & Moby, care of the BrainPOP team. All questions on the site come from children.

    There are obviously many more uses – the POPquiz option at the end of a movie is a great way of assessing learning and children can take this quiz on their own device and keep trying to improve their own score.

    But “mobile learning” could also come under a “multi channel” approach e.g. accessing resources where the pupils want to interact with it.

    As well as the app, BrainPOP UK have also created “POPboxes“. These are elements for a webpage (free again!) that feature the movie of the day that can embedded into a webpage, blog , VLE, intranet, school website etc – you do not have to sign up to BrainPOP to access this either and it automatically updates the movie every day.

    We have installed these on our school blogs and year group blogs – another way for the children and parents to access this fantastic resource and use at home.

    So if you haven’t got the app or the POPBox – what’s stopping you?

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