Always Something New
Aimee Bloom has a big job. As BOCES Liaison for the state of New York, she’s responsible for finding the latest and greatest technology products and putting them in the hands of teachers from Buffalo to Bridgehampton and everywhere in between.
“BrainPOP is always developing new features, and I’m always discovering new ways to use its offerings. There are very few classrooms in which BrainPOP isn’t a good fit.”
Aimee told us about a conversation she’d had recently with a science teacher who wanted to create a more personalized learning environment.
“I taught her how to flip her classroom and track progress using nothing but the tools embedded in BrainPOP. She was amazed by the amount of information BrainPOP can produce about her students. When she assigns a movie, BrainPOP will collect data on whether and how students watch it. When they complete work, the classroom feature allows them to submit and receive feedback digitally. Features like these make it possible for teachers to step out of the spotlight and let their students take over.”
“Features like these make it possible for teachers to
step out of the spotlight and let their students take over.”
Far More Than That
Through BrainPOP, Aimee’s conversation with her science teacher became an in-depth professional development session about Universal Design for Learning.
“I remember my own journey with BrainPOP,” she told us. “Years ago I was teaching business technology and looking for ways to introduce students to new concepts. I did a quick Google search and it brought me to BrainPOP. At the time, movies and quizzes were all I knew it could do.”
But she was about to learn that BrainPOP was far more than that.
“My principal offered me the chance to attend a BrainPOP certification course. I assumed I’d sit there for four or five hours and find out that BrainPOP made movies and quizzes. I was very wrong.”
From that point on, Aimee infused BrainPOP into every facet of her teaching.
“The kind of possibilities BrainPOP afforded students was just insane. I’d had no idea. When I used it in my classroom, we used the Make-a-Map tool a lot. The students would use it as a tool to gather notes and thoughts and organize ideas to create bigger and broader projects. They could show me what they were learning without having to take a quiz or write an essay.”
Before she knew it, her classroom was flipping itself.
Transforming Interaction With Students
Aimee saw how BrainPOP movies break down topics in a simple form that’s fun, funny, and understandable. She saw how the resources in the Related Reading section could enhance her instruction. She saw how she could use the Make-a-Map tool to gather information and data to gauge whether students understand a concept, and whether they were ready for more hands-on activities — a crucial decision in any science classroom.
“I find that science and history teachers are often more willing to be at the forefront of educational technology, and they’re often the teachers who are most excited about what BrainPOP can do. Many of them are able to see so clearly how BrainPOP can transform the way they interact with students.”