Sunday, March 20, 2011

Speechy Sunday: BrainPOP Review

My school recently got our teachers a subscription to BrainPOP.  Basically, BrainPOP is an animated learning website that you can subscribe to (family packages range from $80-$99 or so) to access educational resources that are pretty darn fun.  There are resources featuring science, social studies, math, english, health, arts/music, and technology topics.  Each topic is introduced with a little movie featuring Tim & Moby (a boy and a robot), and these videos are definitely the best part of the BrainPOP package.  There are also other resources related to each topic, including things like quizzes, experiments to try with students, and even comics.   I've yet to click on a topic that didn't spark my interest, and the quality of the little movies is pretty good.   Plus, the movies are relatively short and seem to hold students' attention well.

As an SLP, I've been using BrainPOP with a few of my speech groups, and I've found it most useful for students working on identifying the main idea, summarizing, answering wh- questions, sequencing, and vocabulary.  I've also used it in articulation and fluency groups, at the generalization phase of treatment, by letting my students take turns reading and answering the "quiz" questions after the movie.  That way, they're not just having a conversation unrelated to the classroom curriculum--they're having a learning conversation and can take their new knowledge back to the classroom feeling like an expert on a topic.

I really think students learn a lot from engaging and fun educational materials, which is what makes new educational technology so exciting.  When my students are laughing and interested, they'll pick up high level vocabulary without even realizing it, and some of my kiddos on the autism spectrum really love all the facts they can collect about certain topics of high interest featured on this site.  If you're an educator or parent interested in introducing academic material to your students or kids in a fun and motivating way, I think you'll be pleased by BrainPOP.  

By the way, BrainPOP has made its tsunami resources free for the next few weeks.  Check them out.  (I especially like the "FYI" resources and the little tsunami experiment.)  There are also some other free resources you can try out here.

What new educational technology do you just love?

(By the way, I don't make any money for endorsing this product.  I'm not that techno-savvy yet.)

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