Last week, Senior Manager of BrainPOP Educators Andrew Gardner presented at the Apple Store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The topic was “iPad in the Classroom” and Andrew spoke about the device and the specific apps using the SMAR (Substitution, Modification, Augmentation and Redefinition) framework defined by Dr. Ruben Puentedura. The rise of tablet computing and the rapid adaptation of the devices in schools, requires us to think deeply about best use. “Substitution” apps do things that you can do with regular classroom tools, like reading a ebook, creating flashcards, or practicing fast facts and phonics. ”Modification” and “Augmentation” apps do things similar to regular classroom tools but with added functionality, like an ebook that reads to you, an encyclopedia that calculates equations or a magazine that is built around your interests. The most exciting category is Redefinition apps that do things previously impossible without the use of technology and the device, like building collaborative narrated digital slideshows or helping students with Autism learn social cues.
BrainPOP’s favorite example of the using a “Redefinition” app is the first grade project that BrainPOP Educators Eliza Chung and Jan Bird submitted at the end of last school year. Using Puppet Pals, the entire class worked together to creating their own BrainPOP movie. First they had to write a script. That process began by students generating a list of questions that they could answer (becuase they had just raised chicks in their classroom and were now “experts”). Those questions provided the structure for the movie, just like every movie on BrainPOP Jr., and the students worked in small groups to write answers to the questions. After finishing the script, they created the artwork, thought about the best way to animate the artwork, and created the video using the app.