We always enjoy seeing how schools use BrainPOP so when Ms Tonks of Shireland Collegiate Academy said it would be okay for Jude (our BrainPOP Elearning & Mobile Consultant) to visit the school she jumped straight into her Moby-mobile. Here’s how she got on…
Before lessons started for the day, we dropped in on a Year 9 class using BrainPOP in tutor time. I had imagined the class would be watching the daily featured movie but on arrival I discovered that BrainPOP fits into the learning at Shireland Academy in a different and useful way.
Shireland use a unique curriculum model called ‘Literacies for Life’. This is a project-based learning approach that focuses on a common theme throughout all subjects for a given period of time and uses dynamic learning to bring the subject to life. The theme this month is ‘Over the Top’ – learning about WWI.
Ms Dhillon ushered everyone into the room and we watched the WWI movie followed by the quiz. To add a fun twist to the quiz, after each question students held up a coloured card to show their answer – A, B, C, or D – and Ms Tonks and Ms Dhillon stood at the front and could see which colour was the decision of the class.
The class answered nearly all the questions correctly – impressive how switched on everyone was considering it was only 9 am! No sooner had we finished the quiz than the bell went and everyone rushed off to their first lesson. I couldn’t help wondering what a Science lesson on the theme of WWI would be like (making mustard gas?).
Having everything planned on the learning platform was helpful in squeezing learning into every little bit of the day. The eLearning team have embedded links to the BrainPOP movies (and other resources) being used in each lesson so they’re easy to find for teachers and students. They’ve even animated their own BrainPOP access buttons!
The elearning team kindly showed me a few more innovations they use to get the best out of their learning platform and resources:
- In tutor time, teachers use flip cameras to record the work done – the evidence is then stored on the learning platform.
- ‘E-Pic’ – a library collection of resources students would find helpful tying in with the theme of the month. This could be free materials or clips or BrainPOP movies all accessible through an animated walkthrough, saving students and teachers hours of internet searching!
- Attitude Rocks – short clips designed to prompt discussion about various situations that might arise in school. I thought the accents sounded familiar…sure enough, it turns out the voices had been done by students and teachers from the school.
- Apps for Good – students have to come up with ideas for apps that don’t already exist but also do something good for the community. Quite a tall order considering the huge number of apps already out there! Undaunted, students are already coming up with ideas and designing the apps themselves, the best of which will actually be put into production by a digital company.
I hope I’ll get the chance to call in and see Shireland again soon, it’s always good to get stocked up on good ideas to pass on to other BrainPOP schools. Meanwhile, I hope we can persuade Shireland students to blog for us in the future…they certainly have a lot to write about!