Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Feature: Access BrainPOP Right from Google

For those of you who haven't experienced BrainPOP yet, it's time.  For those of you who know and love BrainPOP, accessing the resources just got a little easier!

What is BrainPOP? This is how the company describes itself:

 "BrainPOP creates animated, curriculum-based content that supports educators and engages students - in school, at home, and on mobile devices. Our resources include movies, quizzes, games, mobile apps, experiments, activity pages, and much more covering hundreds of topics within Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Technology, Arts & Music, and Health. All content is aligned to and searchable by state standards including Common Core. "

Now, when in your Gmail, Google Drive account, or any of the other tools, simply by clicking "More" you can now find access to BrainPOP resources right within the list.

 This will take you right to the BrainPOP site.  No extra logging in.  No confusion.  Just high quality, engaging instructional materials at hand.

The same resource is available in the student domain as well (

If you are trying to access media on BrainPOP and are required to log in, please contact your Library Media Specialist for assistance.  They should be able to provide your building-specific BrainPOP code.

In the comments section, let us know some of the interesting ways you use BrainPOP in your classroom.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Waukesha One - It's All Coming Together

Today members from Vanguard Teams for Waukesha One Wave One schools met to take the first steps in their professional growth journey with the integration of student-centered learning devices that are a part of Waukesha One.  They were led by Naomi Harm, a nationally and internationally recognized Digital Literacy and Learning Specialist, and will have a series of follow-up meetings with Naomi.

It was an excellent introductory session and our teachers were deeply engaged in applying the tools they were learning about to practical classroom strategies and practices.  As always, teachers are the most creative, resourceful professionals I know, and the teachers were already finding interesting ways to put the tools to use in ways they were never previously intended.  Very impressive.

What I found most interesting, though, was the disappearance of the devices!  They weren't stolen.  Instead, the newness and shininess of the tools quickly faded away and they were quickly no longer the focus of the training.  As soon as educators dug into the work of planning learning activities for the students, they device was no longer the center of the conversation.  Instead, students, learning outcomes, and engagement became the focus of the work.  Not that there was nothing new to learn, and not that all of our educators were suddenly iPad experts, but unlike so many other technologies that have found their ways into classrooms, the how-to and "What do I need to click?" mentality was not central to the session.  It shows that the right tool, the right user interface, and intentional use can quickly help users move beyond basic training elements of professional development that often chew up the majority of professional development sessions.

A truly great day!  An excellent starting point as our in-building trainers begin to learn and determine how they will train their colleagues to use these tools in powerful, unique, meaningful ways.