Normally, I like to highlight tech tools that are FREE. There are so many great services popping up on a daily basis during some weeks that we do not seem to have a shortage for integration into our studies. Honestly, it often is overwhelming… which one should we try now? The key is finding something that truly meets your need. With that in mind, this school year, we did something that we rarely do. We paid for a subscription to a tool: BrainPOP.
BrainPOP is a service that creates short, animated movies on, what seems like, every topic in science, social studies, English, math, technology, arts & music and health. An interactive quiz, suggested experiments/activities and a comic strip for each topic also is a part of the package.
What I like about BrainPOP: It has been created with kids in mind. The content is appropriate for upper elementary with just the right amount of silly humor to keep them engaged. Also, educators are a part of the creation process at BrainPOP, so a teacher can be reassured that the information is accurate. There is an academic standards search tool, too, making it easy to find what you need on a topic. Finally, knowing that the students are on a safe, academic website that they could navigate independently is a perk as well.
What is the appropriate setting for BrainPOP? That depends on the teacher, the students and your circumstances.
- A teacher could introduce new units or concepts by showing the BrainPOP movies to a whole class using a classroom projector.
- Students could use laptops to review concepts by watching the movies and taking quizzes.
- Likewise, in a computer lab, students could access topics simultaneously and review at their own pace.
- A one computer classroom could utilize BrainPOP as a center for students to rotate through to explore a topic.
- Add a headphone splitter to desktops or laptops, and students could work as partners.
My school has opted for a school subscription, so we can access it anywhere in the building during the school day. This flexibility will allow teachers to be spontaneous and capitalize on those teachable moments, such as when a current event happens. Maybe, there’s a BrainPOP video topic that will help students understand?
One last thing that I’m impressed with are the teacher resources. BrainPOP Educators is a free membership with great ideas, tutorials and professional development opportunities. Even if you don’t have a subscription to BrainPOP, you can join. Of course, then you have to plan around finding free movies to try out all of the cool stuff.
I’m curious about how others are using BrainPOP, or if anyone has any suggestions or advice for us.
Thanks for reading!