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BrainPOP

By Sally Finley - Posted Jan 1, 2005
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REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Located online at http://www.brainpop.com/.
 
Source: BrainPOP, P.O. Box 2000, Mount Kisco, NY 10549; Telephone: 212/689-9923; E mail: info@brainpop.com; Fax: 212/447-5179; Internet: http://www.brainpop.com/.
 
Access Fee: $134.95--annual subscription fee, including teacher access for 35 log-ins per day. $480--computer lab access for 35 computers; $800--school access for unlimited use; district access--$1.44 per student, with a minimum of 1,000 students. Customized quotes are available. $79--annual family subscrip-tion. A free 14-day trial is available.
 
Audience: Grades K-12. Topics address standards in grades K-8.
 
Format: Web site: text, graphics, audio, animation.
 
Minimum System Requirements:
Internet access, Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer. A Macromedia Flash plug-in is required; a free download link is available online.
 
Description: BrainPOP is a subscription-based Web site that provides standards-based animated educational videos on a variety of topics in Math, English, Science, Health, Technology, and Social Studies.
 
Reviewer Comments:
 
Installation/Access: The home page loaded easily and offered quick access to a variety of topics in various content areas. Installation/Access Rating: A
 
Content/Features: The home page is easy to navigate, containing Category Buttons for topic selection. All videos have a Control Panel; segments can be easily paused and repeated. A Related Topics List provides additional links for extended learning.
Each of the more than 300 videos is accompanied by a variety of features.
 
A 10-question interactive quiz measures a student's prior knowledge before presenting content. Experiments provide the student with an opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired on the topic.
 
Colorful comic strips reinforce mastery of concepts in an eye-appealing format, encouraging the use of reading comprehension skills. Students can e-mail questions, an exercise providing real-life experience and the opportunity to practice writing skills.
 
A timeline provides a framework to help the student understand the sequencing of events significant to the topic. Each topic offers a printable activity page that can be assigned for homework or additional practice.
 
The videos can be viewed full screen for showing to an entire class. New videos are added weekly throughout the school year. Custom-made videos can be created for a fee for individual subscribers.
Points are earned for participation in a variety of activities and can be used to complete special activities on the site. Students can also post original artwork.
 
A Teacher Section offers Lesson Plans with direct links to BrainPOP topics, national standards correlations, a complete list of BrainPOP movies, a presentation movie about BrainPOP, and a fact sheet.
 
Classroom Applications
Teachers will find many applications for this site. The ease in accessing topics helps integrate content within thematic units. Once students have selected a topic to research, information can be acquired on this site and used in a student presentation to the class. Teacher-made WebQuests can be created, using content-related links from this site. In a unit related to energy, for example, students could access this site for information on electricity, batteries, forms and sources of energy, the electromagnetic spectrum, Newton's Laws, and more.
 
BrainPOP can be used to introduce, review, or extend a concept. Struggling readers can review the information several times and use auditory skills to follow the narrative. Advanced learners can pursue a topic in greater detail and extend their learning on an individual level, leaving the classroom teacher available to work with students who need additional assistance. Difficult subjects are dealt with tastefully and accurately and can be previewed beforehand by concerned parents and teachers.
 
The site's audio component opens up information to students who may be limited by their reading abilities.
Often, when some of my students access information on the Web, they find sites where the reading level is too high for them. BrainPOP eliminates this obstacle to learning in a non-threatening manner. Content/Features Rating: A
 
Ease of Use: The home page offers a screen interface that is easy to navigate while providing access to each of the site's features. Ease of Use Rating: A
 
Product Support: A special section provides information on setting up a computer to use BrainPOP. A Technical Support Page lists phone numbers and e-mail support. A Help Section provides questions and answers related to technology issues. Product Support Rating: A
 
Recommendation: BrainPOP is a dynamic tool to supplement traditional teaching methods. The animated movies are engaging and will excite young learners while providing essential information. The creative and colorful animation will appeal to students of all ages.
 
A variety of features support the use of this site with an entire class, small groups, or individuals. Students with special needs will find the ease of use and concise explanations helpful to their learning style.
 
Complex concepts are presented in a simple, clear, kid-friendly manner. I especially liked the 10-question quizzes to assess prior knowledge. For students needing additional practice, the printable activities are excellent. As a technology lab teacher, I appreciated the lack of advertising banners that so often distract my students from their online learning tasks.
 
I found this site delightful and suggest that teachers test it out for themselves with the free trial offer. Outstanding!
 
Reviewer: Sally Finley, Gifted/Technology, Country Hills Elementary School, 10550 Westview Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33076; Phone: 754/322-5950; E-mail: sallyfinley1@yahoo.com.


 
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