Recently, as many of you know, we’ve begun hosting our own “POPUp Classroom” at major conferences like FETC. This space gives us the opportunity to dig a little deeper than we can in the busy exhibit hall: we put it to use for trainings, focus groups, and certification workshops. Our Classroom sessions are led by BrainPOP staffers from different departments, with support from local Certified BrainPOP Educators (CBEs). At FETC alone, we welcomed more than 500 teachers to the Classroom: 200+ provided feedback on pipeline projects and 100+ started the BrainPOP certification process.
In our POPUp Classroom focus groups, educators get a sneak peek at new offerings we’re working on, then have the chance to shape what those offerings ultimately look like.
“Inviting teachers to be a part of our development process allows teachers to truly feel that they are a part of the process and that BrainPOP is vested in creating tools and features that best serve their needs,” says Enid Brown, Learning Engineer.
Steve Ji, another Learning Engineer, adds, “[these focus groups] inform the very foundation of our designs, from ‘why’ we build something to ‘how’ we build it.”
During our Certified BrainPOP Educator workshops, our team of former classroom teachers showcases the breadth of BrainPOP’s features using integration practices and research-based methods of instruction. Attendees learn about the theory of concept mapping, for example, by “actively” viewing a BrainPOP movie about it then applying the “4 corner” method for taking a related quiz as a whole group. Rather than using the quiz to determine who’s right and who’s wrong, we discuss the answer choices and their merit. This highlights quizzes as entry points to meaningful conversation and shows that they can do more than merely provide assessment data. While exploring learning games, we take an observation approach based on artful thinking techniques. To analyze game interface and hypothesize on next steps, we observe, hypothesize and test. We also discuss the value of game play as a collaborative activity that encourages meaningful conversation – regardless of the curricular content the game may cover. We often have our CBEs share their experiences using BrainPOP’s advanced features in the classroom too.
The POPup Classroom is an integral part of the BrainPOP conference experience. We love demonstrating creative teaching practices, but we also love learning from you! Educator insight plays a huge role in informing our product development and design. So we encourage you to come visit our POPUp Classroom at an upcoming ed tech show. We’re on the road a lot this spring – so check out where we’re going next!