A New Look at Brainpop

The three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UdL) call for multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement. This means that the teacher who employs UdL principles is often seeking out new tools to provide multiple ways for students to access the what, how, and why of learning. One tried-and-true method is using video as a way to remove the barrier of text to access information. But what about providing multiple ways for students to process, connect, and share their learning?

Brainpop and Brainpop Jr have long been leaders in the industry, providing simple, accessible, and enjoyable videos for k-12 students. Typically known for their 3-5 minute animations on topics ranging from butterflies to Communism, many teachers call on Brainpop videos to explain complicated concepts, or simply provide additional, in-depth insight on a topic.

Yet recently, Brainpop has unveiled new, interactive features that make this resource much more of a web app than just a web site. The above video is a quick tutorial showcasing some new features, including an interactive writing and drawing platform for vocabulary exploration. Beyond the multiple-choice quizzes that have been offered for some time, Brainpop is now offering multiple means for students to show what they know- from concept mapping to joke telling- all in a simple, inviting format (for both students and teachers).  What’s more, most of the features offer varying levels of access and expression. For example, when making a concept map, one can choose from audio, text, and even images right out of the video.

As we have said on this blog before, using a screen is not enough to make something truly accessible and useful in the inclusive classroom. However, when something on a screen comes along that authentically applies research-based methods and principles for teaching and learning, it is a cause for celebration. Be sure to check out Brainpop’s new features, and happy planning!