I love BrainPop – I really mean that! I have used the American version with my classes for years and the children (particularly S1, S2 and S6) love it! But I have used it with all year groups.
BrainPOP is an educational website with Flash-based movies about maths, technology, health, science, humanities, arts & music, and English. Most of the videos feature the site's recurring characters, Tim and Moby.
According to Wikipedia:
‘Tim is a smart and useful teenager who does most of the talking in the movies. He has brown hair and usually wears a white T-shirt with a picture on it which relates to each movie’. He is 14 years old (but sounds about 16).’
‘Moby is an orange robot who communicates in bleeping noises (similar to R2D2). He has three lights on his chest that light up every time he beeps and Tim usually translates what he's saying. While Tim does most of the talking during a movie, Moby usually helps out by fetching things for Tim and asking questions about the topic they are talking about. As a robot, he can do lots of things that Tim is unable to do (e. g. changing his hand into a freeze-ray, sending himself back in time, removing his head).’
I was really pleased to
recently see that BrainPop has
launched a UK
The great things about the videos is that they are all really short – just enough to capture and engage children. There must be 100's videos on a diverse range of topics and many of the videos are cross-curricular.
- Drawing (Take your doodling to the next level),
- Compass (How does a compass know which way is North? What is "North" for that matter?),
- Colons and Semicolons (Dots and commas that make all the difference!),
- Chocolate (How does chocolate get from the tree to the candysweet shelf? Follow Tim and Moby on a mouthwatering field trip),
- Credit Cards (Find out why you need to think twice before you charge it!),
- Greek Gods (Learn all about the strange and mysterious behavior of the gods worshipped by the Ancient Greeks!),
- Area of polygons (Measuring polygons may look tricky, but it's a snap, once Tim and Moby show you how it's done!),
- Cancer (What is cancer? Why is it so dangerous?) and
- Nuclear energy (Unlock the awesome power of the atom with Tim and Moby in this animated movie!).
I have mentioned BrainPop before as I used them as an example in my 2008 Scottish Learning Festival Presentation on Language, Learners and the Power of New Technology.
BrainPop is a subscription service but they always have sample videos that you can watch with your classes. The best thing about them is that if there is a National Event or Disaster they always make that video available for free for a while. For me, a good example of this was the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004. After the event I was looking for a simple way to teach Tsunamis to all my classes and Tim and Moby provided the answer with their Tsunami Flash Video.
The other reason that I am writing about Tim and Moby just now is that the BrainPop UK website is offering a free trial until the middle of February. I’m already planning on using a number of videos with my classes and we distributed the school username and password to staff today. Lots of our teachers have already logged onto the site and feedback has so far been very positive. BrainPop are also offering some Sponsorship at Teachmeet at BETT 2009.
More on BrainPop later in the week – but I would be really interested to find out what you think of the resource.