Guest Blogger Angela Kiser: Self-paced Learning with BrainPOP

Tim and Moby Computer

Angela Nixon Kiser is a National Board Certified Teacher who works tirelessly to provide interactive and meaningful learning in a technology enriched classroom. Enjoys provides technology tips, fun, and advice through a collaborative blog called www.techieteachertales.blogspot.com

New buzz words continuously emerge within our educator community. With the integration of Common Core, the words on everyone’s mind are ‘Flipped Classroom’ and ‘Self-paced Learning.’ Like every educator, I dive into researching what it all means only to realize that I have been doing some form of the flipped classroom for about three years now with my fifth graders.

My version starts with a few key ingredients; my Blackboard page, my curriculum, and BrainPOP. My self-paced learning portal started when I needed to provide my students with work that would keep them active and engaged, while I worked with my small groups. Instead of looking for center activities, collecting all the materials, or making copies, I was developing the Digital Natives’ version of centers via the internet. Life became so easy.

As I put together the unit of study, I immediately thought of my friends Tim and Moby. With great anticipation, I logged into BrainPOP and searched for related topics to the unit I was teaching.

BrainPOP videos are often the starting task within the content folder that my students are completing from week to week. I find the videos work well with the interactive games and activities my students must complete. I admit, I love hearing the whisper of, “OHHH, a BrainPOP video,” as they open their content folders. I notice my students watch the videos each day as they begin their required tasks, and return to them often as they acquire those skills and concepts.

When it comes to quizzes for the students, BrainPOP comes to my rescue again. The quizzes have been a great source of assessment into this endeavor of self-paced learning. When I began this process, I did question whether my students were truly learning the content. However, that question was quickly answered with positive scores my students were receiving on their quizzes. I found myself doing a happy dance as my students completed the quiz and printed the results. Analysis made easy!