autism and brainpop

Guest Blogger Kristin Kowalski on IPads, Autism and BrainPOP

Posted by Andrew Gardner on

A few weeks ago I was combing the web for information about BrainPOP and came across a mention of Kristin Kowalski, an arts teacher from Ohio.  I reached out to see what she had to say about using BrainPOP with her students, she sent us the following:
First let me say how much I love BrainPOP. I teach K-8 art at a school for ADD, ADHD, Autism, learning disabled and behavioral students. We currently have 180 kids that attend our school. Prior to the BrainPOP app, I incorporated the art videos and lessons into my classroom frequently and I know the other classroom teachers use the other subjects sections. I was excited to get the BrainPOP app.


I received a grant to get 12 iPads to work with my students with autism and I conducted a study of the affects of the iPads in art for my students, mainly addressing their sensory needs, engagement levels and understanding the content being taught. I had incredible success with the iPads not only with artistic processes but understand the artistic concepts. The BrainPOP app works great for teaching about the art history, processes and concepts. I would put the students on the app in the art section and they could investigate the videos and take the quizzes. They love Tim and Moby and find the characters very engaging and funny. IPads work so well with students with autism because they have a direct connection to the interface of the iPad, which taps into the autistic mind better then any other technology I have seen. Through BrainPOP they can guide there own learning through videos and stay interested because of the quality of the instruction. One my students love the Pop Art video, he was laughing and said “look Moby is dressed like Andy Warhol, so funny”. Another student with limited verbal skills keep say “the skull, the skull Georgia O’Keeffe the skull” That level of communication and connection to the material is huge for my students.


I also use the app for group instruction I hook up an iPad to my Smart Board and we work from the app as a class, if I want more control over the lesson. They are calm and relaxed with the app because they are familiar with the characters which helps the classroom environment. The quizzes are a bit hard for some due to their reading level, but I help and read them out loud.