First up a disclaimer: The lovely people at BrainPop UK offered me & my school a free 3 month subscription to their site in return for a post on their new Maths videos, this is said post.
With that out of the way, what’s BrainPop? The website has videos for many subjects, all starring Tim and his beeping robot friend Moby. Subjects covered include: Science, English, Maths, Humanities, Arts, PSHE, Citizenship & Design & Technology.
Tim & Moby can probably explain it better than me, head over to there introductory video here.
I have trialled the new Maths videos with my Year 8 class. They are a lively class who respond best to less traditional methods of teaching, the more engaging the better, so they seemed like a good choice. We had a look at the video on Rounding and also some of the Fractions videos. I used these at the start of a lesson, almost replacing my usual instruction.
The pupils were engaged throughout the video, probably more so than my attempts to get them to listen to me for 5 minutes flat after lunch! Their feedback was interesting though, they weren’t completely positive. Some said they liked it and thought the video was funny, some thought it was a bit ‘babyish’ for them. A number pointed out that I could have taught them that without the need for a video.
Each video is accompanied by a multiple choice quiz to re-inforce the learning. We worked through the quiz after watching the video, pupils were engaged throughout this, and enjoyed coming to the board to take part in it. With hindsight it might have been sensible to run the quiz before AND after the video to see if it helped explain the concepts to them.
I think that the video format has it’s limitations in Mathematics, it’s a hands-on, example driven subject that craves interactivity. Would the videos be more suited to other subjects? Maybe. I will pass on any feedback I get from other departments over coming weeks.
So the pupils were a little underwhelmed at the video use in class. When I asked them if they thought they would be more useful at home, when doing homework or revising for a test, they were far more positive. “It would be like having a teacher in your own home” one pupil commented, and I couldn’t put it better myself!
Like MyMaths, Brainpop is a subscription based website, I will have to review things on a wider school level to see if we will be buying a site license when our free trial runs out.
What do you think of the BrainPop videos? Have you used them in other subjects? Interested to hear your comments as ever…