Guest Blogger Jenny Brandon is a Technology Teacher at Lauderdale Middle School, Ripley, TN. She is also the Technology Liaison for the West Tennessee Writing Project, an Ed.S. Instructional Leadership, Life Long Learner and self described “Nerd”.
As part of my 6th-8th grade tech lab classes, we have to practice keyboarding. It is not the most glamorous and inspiring part of the class, but the students understand the importance of learning this skill. To give them extra incentive, on Fridays, the students take a keyboarding test and when they finish they are allowed to play games linked to my website that I have labeled “Whisper Club.” The games have always been popular, until I added BrainPOP’s GameUp to the website. One student tentatively raised a hand one Friday and asked, “May I play on BrainPOP Games instead of Whisper Club?” Well gee whiz. I really had to think about that one. Do I want my students playing games that are harmless but have very little educational value or do I want my students to wrack their brains over what to connect to the intestines in “Guts and Bolts” or win cases as a lawyer in iCivics? I told the student, “Yes, go ahead.” and an enormous “ALL RIGHT!” erupted from my often too-cool-for-school class!
BrainPOP’s GameUp has added a new dimension to Fridays in tech lab. Students help each other to get past different difficult sections or watch the BrainPOP videos to help themselves. It can get quite competitive sometimes and students are constantly recommending new games to their classmates. BrainPOP’s GameUp has been a huge hit and has spilled over into other classrooms as well. What a great choice to combine fun and learning! Since my students think that every program and website in tech lab was invented by me, I am now not only Queen of Techknowlogy, I am now a self-proclaimed BrainPOPstar as well! My posse knows it’s important to guard the POPstar! GameUp, GAME-ON!