How I Use It
I use BrainPop, Jr. videos to introduce almost every unit of study that I cover with my 2nd grade class. In the past, I usually used the web-based version, and students always seem to enjoy the quirky antics Moby. This past year I started using the BrainPop, Jr. Movie of the Week app to help increase student independence. I would pull the video up on the SmartBoard via my laptop so students could see what movie they were to view. Students would then view the video in pairs or trios and take the quiz at the end of the video. Unfortunately the games available on the web-based version are not available on the app. Sometimes, I would allow a few students to play the game on the SmartBoard if they finished before their peers. As we dove deeper into a unit, I would suggest students watch related videos on the same topic if I believed they were ready to move on. In the future, I will use the app a little differently, having students view the video multiple times during the unit and requiring them to give feedback or respond to a higher-order question about the topic.
This BrainPop, Jr. extension is a great hook, but should not be used to replace teacher-led instruction or student inquiry. It is great to introduce a topic and spur conversations that let you know what students already know and/or what misconceptions they have about a new topic of study. I like that the videos use audio, video, and text to support different types of learners. Also, the videos are slightly interactive, offering questions to the viewer and multiple-choice quizzes at the end of the video. I wish that the app gave teachers feedback on students' answers to the quizzes. I also wish that there were more features on the app that are on the web-based version, like games and/or other activities that deepen understanding or require application of what students learned.