• 06 Oct
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    We’ve uploaded 21 BrainPOP movies from our 7 subjects to our popular Youtube channel.

    This means you are free to embed any of them into your school website, VLE, or blog. Here’s our ‘Space Flight’ video as an example:

    There are many different ways to embed Youtube videos into webpages, but try the ‘Share’ section just underneath each video first.

    Share a Youtube video

    You can see them all on our ‘BrainPOP UK free movies’ playlist.

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  • 05 Jan
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    Today the TES reported that an MIT professor said “…Teachers should stop relying on traditional teaching methods and opt for 10-minute video lessons to capture the “wandering minds” of their students”.

    BrainPOP UK - Digital Etiquette

    As you know, we make short learning movies so obviously this caught our eye.

    “Lessons that lasted up to an hour and relied on pupils paying attention to a teacher at the front of the class were out of date and failed to address how young people learned in the internet age, said Sanjay Sarma, director of digital learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. Professor Sarma believes that schools and universities have been slow to come to terms with the reality that most of today’s young people are doing their learning online, particularly through websites such as YouTube.”

    The “wandering minds” of children is hardly a new insight, but this generation has access to free video media on an unprecedented scale. The ability to move quickly between resources can lead to great opportunities for research, understanding, and engagement.

    But is YouTube the best source to positively enable that behaviour in school?

    Pros of using YouTube as a study tool:

    • Breadth and depth of videos is unparalleled.
    • Terrific and fast search function.
    • A dedicated YouTube education channel auto-selects popular (and therefore more likely to be of decent quality) education focussed videos.
    • It’s free (if you don’t mind being advertised to).
    • Students aged 13 or over can create, upload, and share their own videos.
    • Everyone knows how to use YouTube.

    Cons of using YouTube as a study tool:

    • The quality is all over the place, both technically and educationally. Can you trust the video creator?
    • It’s blocked in some schools, leading to inequality of access.
    • Licence restrictions mean some content is available to view only in certain territories.
    • The sheer range of videos could lead to mindless browsing or overchoice paralysis.
    • School internet bandwidth cannot always cope with streaming video.
    • There’s large amounts of extremely unsuitable media for kids on YouTube.
    • Advertising. Lots and lots of advertising, over which teachers have little control.
    • YouTube comments are notorious for bad language, trolling/flaming, and abuse (though you can install browser plugins to hide comments).

    So in balance, we support Professor Sarma as it links with the core ideas behind BrainPOP. But we don’t think turning to YouTube is the solution to this ambition, though clearly it has its place. What’s key is the idea that using short bursts of video media engages students, and can lead to great gains in understanding and questioning.

    “The human mind wanders and what we do is make the student feel unhappy about it. In fact, you’re better off doing 10-minute lectures and then asking the students questions about what they just learned, because that transfers stuff from our short-term memory to our long-term memory.”

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  • 15 Sep
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    To celebrate the launch of a brand new feature to BrainPOP UK – the ‘FYI’ resource that now accompanies every topic – we asked you to record yourselves saying “For Your Information” And boy, did you come up trumps with some really creative ways to say “FYI”!

    Thank you to @relativism, Amanda Morgan, David Rogers, Chris Hall, Margaret Ashworth, Dave Morrison, Leisel, Peter West, Jenny Campbell, Harriet Brinton, Lestat and Leroy, Rumi, Hazel, Nathan, Zoe and everyone else for your submissions. And congratulations to @relativism who won a free 6 month school subscription for her class submission.

    So visit BrainPOP UK today and select any topic. On the topic page will be a button that opens up the FYI. Bear in mind that you need to have a free trial or subscription to view them.

    Have YOU subscribed to BrainPOP UK yet?

    If not, this could be your lucky day. We are offering you the chance to claim a 15% discount off any annual school subscription until midnight, Monday 30th September 2010. Simply quote “hifyi” when placing your order.

    What are FYIs?

    • Every single topic now has a brand new FYI with Graphs & Stats, Famous Faces, In Depth, Way Back When, Real Life, Q&A…and more. Each FYI contains up-to-date facts, figures and fun.
    • We believe the best learning happens outside school; FYIs not only encourage curiosity in the world around us but encourage further research and investigation.
    • After introducing a topic for the first time with a short movie and quiz, an FYI can often be the best way to fuel that initial interest and desire to learn more.
    • If you’re doing a class project in a certain subject area, FYIs can provide additional breadth – including a broad range of cross-curricular info.

    FYIs offer oodles of extension material for further reading, homework, class projects and, most importantly, fun, engaging, learning. Why not visit your favourite topic and check out the FYI now? www.brainpop.co.uk

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  • 08 Sep
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    Welcome back to school, all our fellow BrainPOPpers and POPettes, old and new.

    We hope your summer break was a proper break. We know the sun only made a few appearances but when it did we hope you got out there and enjoyed it.

    You might have read about some of the stuff that’s coming up from BrainPOP UK this Autumn term? Well, it’s time to draw back the curtains and announce some of them in more detail.

    1. Our new Curriculum browse tool. We’re going back to the drawing board with this one. It will allow all our users to quickly and efficiently find and view a BrainPOP UK movie by a number of different curricula. And it will even be exportable as a Flash widget to plug into a webpage.
    2. POPboxes – we’re very excited about these. Soon you will be able to pick a favourite BrainPOP UK movie and embed it into your very own VLEs and Blog pages. There will be different flavours available depending on whether you have subscribed to BrainPOP UK or not. The official announcement on how to get one is coming soon.
    3. POP Press! – Our new termly email newsletter  – keep up to date with all things BrainPOP UK as the year progresses.
    4. Complete tagging for the new Curriulum for Excellence for Scotland – every single one of our movies, old and new, will very soon be browsable by this curriculum AND the old 5-14 curriculum. We’ll be at the Scottish Learning Festival and the Teachmeet if anyone wants to chat about it.
    5. We love BrainPOP UK…stuff. BrainPOP UK Tshirts, Moby and Tim cut out masks, Moby badges, BrainPOP UK posters, stickers…there’s going to be lots of fun resources to use as creatively as you like in your class or win in competitions. All we’re interested in is hearing about how you used them.
    6. New and exclusive UK only movies on UK specific subjects – we’re keeping these hush-hush for now but we will be announcing them when we’re ready.
    7. We’ll be on the look out for BrainPOP UK schools to do case studies, provide testimonials, write blog posts and help us test new technology in the classroom. If this is something you want to do you know how to contact us.
    8. More fun on our Facebook group, our Twitter feed, our Youtube channel.
    9. 160+ new movies are coming! Quick! Get your lesson plans ready, ladies and gentlemen, because you are soon going to be treated to movies such as:
    • Rise of the Roman Empire
    • Isotopes
    • Galaxies
    • Ants
    • Graphs
    • Adding and subtracting integers
    • The computer mouse
    • The Cold War
    • Punctuation
    • Sun protection
    • Roald Dahl
    • The Lord of the Flies
    • Mahatma Gandhi
    • Did I say there’s going to be a movie on Bogies? I didn’t? Well, there is.
    • And Pirates! Garr!

    We’ll be blogging the full list at a later date so keep an eye out.

    So there’s lots of BrainPOPpy awesomeness coming your way. We are bursting with ideas on how to help you use technology to engage your students.

    Work with us to make the ideas go from theory to classroom practice. And have enormous fun along the way.

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  • 07 May
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    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.

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