When Dawn Hallybone, a Year 6 teacher and ICT Leader, gave a demo of BrainPOP UK to an eager crowd at BETT she was being hampered by crowd noise.
So, aware of this, and whilst trying to hold the camera steady, we motioned frantically for her to turn the subtitles on. She looked utterly mystified.
But how could she NOT know about the subtitles? How could she possibly have missed the announcement, right? Right..? (jump to 1:35 below)
The BrainPOPpers had lived with the subtitles for a while so assumed everyone knew they were a new addition. And Dawn, lest we forget, is one of the most switched on ICT teachers going. She must have seen our tweets, read our Facebook updates and enjoyed our blog post “7 terrific subtitle tips for BrainPOP“. She uses BrainPOP all the time in her own classroom.
It’s a fact that even with all the social media channels at our fingertips it’s still easy to miss updates. In fact, the more friends you have, the more people you follow, the more feeds you monitor, the easier it is for stuff to appear and disappear too quickly.
There’s a reason Twitter calls its tweet data stream a “firehose“.
But there is a simpler, less fashionable way to keep all you lovely BrainPOPpers informed: email. Most of us sign up to enewsletters. Who doesn’t get half a dozen emails a week (a day?) from companies espousing the latest this, that and the other?
The problem is…do you ever read them?
Most marketing emails go unread, unopened and unloved (sniff). But emails are still a key way to keep in touch with a community, to impart valuable info and make sure everyone who wants it is up to date with things.
So, to help stop a “Dawn moment” ever happening again, we have launched our very first “Moby eNews” – the chance for interested parents, kids and educators to keep in touch with the world of BrainPOP UK via good old email.
New Movies email update example - Click to see larger version
Moby's News email example - Click to see larger version
However, we decided not to do a “one size fits all” newsletter. Instead we divided it into 2 flavours:
<<< The “New Movies” email, which will go out once a month. This will simply let you know what’s new. Not with us but with the bits you love and use: Tim & Moby resources. >>> The “ecosystem” email, which will go out when we have items to bring to your attention that we think will be valuable. If something awesome occurs this will tell you e.g. the launch of our Featured movie App.
They’re in the BrainPOP style – visual, colourful, playful. Less words, more action.
We’ve also asked you to sign up as Teachers, Parents or Kids. Each of these groups has different requirements. For example a teacher might be extremely excited to find out our quizzes are now integrated with the Promethean Learner Response systems and a parent might want to hear about discounts from PTA networks. There’s some cross over by definition but we’re keen not to bother you with things that won’t be that relevant.
If you’re a total info junkie and want it all then we can only suggest you follow, like and watch our very own social firehose
PS: We love our new emails but we have to offer our own gushing feedback to the following two services who got us there:
Plasticle: The design of Moby’s eNews was a precious job, that needed handling by experts. We commissioned the guys at Plasticle, a specialist email design firm, to create two templates for us. We cannot speak highly enough of the Plasticle team. They not only produced what we think are the most exciting & vibrant email designs we’ve seen in a very long time, they listened and actioned all our feedback, gave awesome advice, and delivered on time. Really, they rock.
Mailchimp: Someone needs to deliver those emails. We chose an emailservice called “Mailchimp” who, after a lot of research, testing and testimonial reading, became the well deserved home of our eNews updates. Plus we love Monkeys, so much so we even named our smallest size subscription after them. Mailchimp also rock.
There’s been a discreet but powerful new tool added to BrainPOP UK movies: Subtitles.
If you look at the movie player bar on any movie you will now see an “S” button.
Clicking this button will show and hide subtitles for that movie. Like this:
Why have we added subtitles?
There’s a range of benefits to transcribing the movie and displaying subtitles.
The most obvious benefit is to students with a hearing impairment, or even students at the back of class who may not be able to hear Tim & Moby as well as those at the front.
Subtitles encourage reading – just having the subtitles showing will make the students read without even knowing they’re doing it (stealth reading?). Be default this will improve reading and spelling skills.
We highlight key vocabulary in the movie directly where we can but the subtitles means that ALL vocabulary is picked up and displayed.
Some schools have headphones in their ICT suite and some do not. Or as a teacher you may not want the noise of a movie playing on one machine to disturb other parts of the class. Subtitles mean the sound can remain off, if needed.
Shared multimedia text – the class will be reading the subtitles, hearing the audio and seeing the animation as as a group. This means that reflection or extension work post playing the movie can be confidently delivered knowing the subtitles will have helped everyone to better understand the concepts Tim & Moby are delivering.
Pausing – stopping the action is a tip we’ve promoted before. But with subtitles on you can stop and focus on key vocabulary too, encourage note taking or allow the class to catch up on specific points.
You can turn the subtitles on and off at any point, without interrupting the movie. This means you remain in control of displaying the text.
We’re sure you will find other ways to use the subtitles to suit certain teaching experiences. If you have a tip or trick of your own please share it below.