So, here we are with a new blog – and one hell of a story to get us going!
BrainPOP has a proud history of dealing with some of the more difficult issues in life. We know how tough or awkward it can be trying to find a way to explain illness, world events or natural disasters to children.
Today BrainPOP UK has released its first UK exclusive movie and it’s about one of those tricky topics that has been in the public eye for some weeks: Swine Flu.
In this 5 minute movie Tim and Moby explain how Swine Flu started, how viruses spread and what to do about them. It also takes the time to dispel some of the rumours and explains what symptoms to look out for.
As it’s Tim and Moby, it’s delivered in a way that will engage your students and stimulate debate and de-mystify some of the rumours.
The story of why we chose this subject, like that of the virus itself, started in Mexico with BrainPOP Español (bet you didn’t know there was a South American BrainPOP, eh?).
As the virus started to take hold and schools started shutting down, children and teachers in Mexico started looking for something that would explain what was going on, and they started spreading word of the BrainPOP Español movie about Flu.
The BrainPOP Mexico team were as worried and affected by the virus as everyone else, so Gabriel and his team decided to make the Flu movie free while the schools were closed – as a public service to kids and families in Mexico.
They uploaded the movie to YouTube and, crucially, made it embeddable. It seemed like the right thing to do.
Although the movie is about flu more generally, it does talk about epidemics and pandemics and how best to look after yourself when there is a bad bug going around.
This is where the story becomes interesting.
Within hours, this movie went viral (in this case the irony of this terminology is unfortunately appropriate). Since being uploaded to Youtube it has been featured in various popular online spaces such as The Eleconomista (a major Mexican newspaper ) and the video itself has been seen over 22,000 times.
As the movie went up the YouTube rankings, the national news channels in Mexico heard about the movie and pretty soon Tim and Moby were out there helping children across Mexico to understand more about the epidemic they were at the centre of.
The success of BrainPOP Mexico helping inform people about Swine Flu gave the rest of BrainPOP the commitment to do more. The founder of BrainPOP, Dr Kadar, knows at first hand how scary stories like this can be – as he is both a paediatrician and immunologist.
So this story of the “little movie that could” is why we are presenting the UK version to you – a product of the whole BrainPOP family pulling together.