School: Beverly Woods Elementary
Often the Answer
Holly Knows Tech, and Holly Loves BrainPOP
It’s Holly Spangler’s responsibility to know tech. As the technology teacher at Beverly Woods Elementary in North Carolina, everyone — students and teachers alike — turns to her for information on what pieces of technology work and how to use them.
BrainPOP is often the answer to their questions.
“It changed the way I teach,” she told us. “I used to rely very heavily on direct instruction. I’d stand up in front of the room, presenting lessons didactically. Once I learned how to use Make-a-Map, Make-a-Movie, and Creative Coding, I couldn’t help but evolve. I came to feel more like a facilitator for my students as they conduct their own studies.”
“I used to rely very heavily on direct instruction. I’d stand up in front of the room, presenting lessons didactically. Once I learned how to use Make-a-Map, Make-a-Movie, and Creative Coding, I couldn’t help but evolve. I came to feel more like a facilitator for my students as they conduct their own studies.”
With BrainPOP, these students can show their learning, and Holly can follow along and support them.
“As a specialist teacher, I see every single student in the school just once a week. BrainPOP’s individual student accounts let students submit individual work, and allow me to give individual feedback on what they’ve done. It’s so important to me that I can see all of their work in one place.”
The Internet: Now a Teensy Bit Less Terrifying
Any teacher who uses technology in class knows how scary it can be to let children loose on the internet.
“Every day I stand in my classroom alone, surrounded by three dozen 4th and 5th graders, each with their own device. I’m trying to keep my eyes on 30-something screens and make sure nobody is seeing or searching for something they shouldn’t. Districts try to block inappropriate content, but plenty of things still get through.”
That’s where BrainPOP — a universe unto itself — can help. It’s full of resources, tools, and content, but free from the inappropriate and dangerous things for which the web is known.
“When they’re on BrainPOP, they can search for things they need — they can use images they need in their movies and concept maps without having to go outside of BrainPOP. I can relax.”
A Real No-Brainer
Holly is proud to use her reputation as a tech expert to advocate for BrainPOP, both in her school and elsewhere.
“It’s an easy argument to make. I focus on the benefits to the students. To begin with, they get so much good material. Teachers can incorporate Moby and Tim, and kids just get a smile on their face every time: they just love these characters. The tone, the humor, and the pace are spot-on.”
“What I love most,” said Holly, “is talking to teachers who know just a little about BrainPOP. I love taking them from ‘It’s just a movie and a quiz’ to where I am. BrainPOP gives a teacher so many options for students to show their learning, and they give a teacher so many opportunities to differentiate for their students.
“As great as it is to teach students with BrainPOP, it’s just as great to be in a classroom with 30 teachers, and know how far they’re each going to be able to take BrainPOP. To know they’re going to leave with the same passion I have.”