I have recently shared the BrainPop Jr. and BrainPop app to the Cube for Teachers database as a curriculum resource.
BrainPop is one of my favourite educational websites/apps that I keep in my supply teacher backpack! BrainPop provides many educational videos and games for a wide variety of subject areas in K-12 education. I used the BrainPop Jr. website a lot during my Brock University Teacher Education placements. BrainPop Jr. always provided a fun and engaging hook for my lessons in grade 2! I have only really used BrainPop in a primary K-3 setting so I will be focusing on reviewing the BrainPop Jr. app. However, BrainPop does provide a more mature app for older students. I also noticed on the app store that BrainPop has a french and ESL app!
Like I said, I have had experience using BrainPop Junior in a grade 2 classroom. My associate teacher last year was hooked on BrainPop Jr. and showed me how easy it is to integrate into lessons. BrainPop Jr. basically provides developmentally appropriate and engaging instructional videos on almost all subject areas. I have been supply teaching a lot in a grade 1 class recently and have even discovered some great videos for introducing basic addition and basic subtraction. We have also been working on an Animals in Winter unit so I have engaged the grade 1 students through the BrainPop Hibernation and Migration videos! Here are the top reasons I recommend BrainPop Jr. for K-3 education:
- It comes as a website or app! If your school has iPads, this is a great instructional app to get your students thinking and learning about different curriculum topics. If your school does not have iPads, BrainPop Jr. can be pulled up on a SMART Board or LCD projector.
- The characters are very developmentally appropriate and entertaining! Students love it when I say we are going to be watching BrainPop because they have become attached and gotten to know Moby (the funny robot) and Annie. Annie is the little girl who usually does the teaching in the videos. Moby adds quite a bit of comical relief throughout the videos to keep students laughing and enjoying the video.
- After each video, there are some activities students can engage in to reinforce what they have been learning. For instance, there is a little multiple choice quiz, a comic called "belly up," and a little joke all related to the video's topic.
- The videos are high quality, do not lag, and have no advertisements!
Here are some examples of what BrainPop Jr. looks like on the iPad. Click on the images to check out the BrainPop webpage!
Although I have not used the regular BrainPop app, I have included a screenshot of what it would generally look like. This screenshot shows the Science topics that teachers could choose videos from. Within each topic, there are multiple videos that break down the topic even more. For instance, if you were to click into Energy, there are 34 videos to choose from. As the teacher, you just need to decide what videos relate to the curriculum expectations for your grade.
BrainPop furthermore follows a very similar platform as BrainPop Jr. where there are the same two familiar characters in each video. Instead of Annie, Tim is the character that does the teaching. Moby is still of course there to add comical relief and help Tim teach the topics. I did watch a few of the videos and found that the language Tim uses is a lot more mature than Annie. This is an important feature if grades 4-12 teachers plan to use BrainPop. Click on the images to checkout the BrainPop webpage.
I hope you enjoyed this review! I wish I had more to reflect on and talk about for the BrainPop app geared towards older students. I am hoping to use BrainPop in my Masters of Education study when looking at how iPads can enhance 21st century skills. The skills I will be specifically looking at are knowledge construction and collaboration. I can see BrainPop being a useful tool to enhance students' ability to construct knowledge on the Conservation of Energy and Resources. I may need to do a separate review on this after using it more!
Note: BrainPop and BrainPop Jr. provide one free movie a week for educators, but this website/app will require a subscription.
Hope you enjoyed the review!