A. Instruction - 6.3
B. Design - 6.8
C. Engagement - 7.7
Funbrain: Gamifying Learning & Offering Digital Books
Summary : A Variety of Digital Content at Your Fingertips!
Funbrain consists of different games and activities users complete online that teach foundational reading and math skills. Using the icons on the top right of the screen, users can tap the “Games” button to and then select a game that focuses on a math or reading skill. After clicking the “Games” button, users are able to browse the games, which display the grade level on the bottom left of the screen. When they find a game they wish to play, users can click it. The game will then load, and users can often select the game’s difficulty level and read the instructions. Users will then begin playing the game.
To access digital books, users can click the “Reading” button on the top right of the screen, and they then can view the different books included in this website. The suggested grade level for the books are located on the bottom left of the preview, and users can read the book’s content by clicking it and then clicking the arrows to progress through its content.
The “Videos” option provides users with access to several short videos about a variety of subjects. When browsing the video catalog, users can see the suggested grade level on the bottom left of the screen. When they identify a video of interest, users can click it to view its content. The video will then load along with a description of its content, and users can view it. They can also click on the video to pause, rewind, fast forward, and play it.
The “Math Zone” button includes a variety of games users can play that each teach a foundational math skill. Users can scroll the content and view the suggested grade level for each game, as indicated in the bottom left of the screen. They then click the game to load it. Once loaded, users can read the directions and begin playing. As they play, the game records the amount of questions they answered correctly and incorrectly.
Finally, the “Playground” option includes a variety of readings, games, and videos that overlap with the content contained in the other sections. Users can view the content by scrolling, and the suggested grade levels are shown in the bottom left of each thumbnail preview. To access a piece of content, users need to click on it, and then it will load.
Instructional Ideas for Funbrain
- After teaching a foundational math skill as part of a mini-lesson, teachers can select an activity from this website in the “Games” or “Mathzone” section that reinforces the skill for students. As students play it, teachers can make sweeps of the room to support them. A grading option is to have students take a screenshot of their final work and email it to their teacher.
- Individually or in small groups, teachers can have students select a book to read or video to view from this website. When finished, teachers can facilitate a conversation about it by asking: (1) Can you summarize what happened in the book/video?, (2) What was the most important details from the book/video?, and (3) If you could change one thing about the book/video, what would it be? Students can respond to these questions verbally or write a response.
- After reading a narrative book or viewing a video, teachers can have students deconstruct it for the rising actions, climax, and resolution. To do so, students can first read the book or view the video. Next, teachers can have students go back into the book or video and identify when they think the rising actions, climax, and resolution occurred. At this point, students can use Storyboard That, Biteable, or Creately to make a mini-presentation that summarizes the events for the different parts of the story. Students can then share their work in small groups or to the whole class.
- As a reward or during down time, teachers can have students play a game they found in the “Playground” section of this website. After playing the game, teachers can have students record what game they played, how far they progressed in the game, and if they wish to play the game again in the future. That way, teachers will have a record of what the students did during that time.
- As part of a lesson on comparing and contrasting, teachers can have students play a sampling of games from this website, Funbrain Jr., and Sheppard Software. Next, teachers can facilitate a conversation that asks students: (1) Which website do you like best/least? (2) What about that website do you like or not like? (3) If you could pick one website to use for an extended period of time, which would you pick and why? After students share their opinions orally or in writing, teachers can use it as a springboard to additional compare/contrast activities and also use the information from their response to inform which resources are used in the classroom.
|A2. 21st Century Skills|
|A3. Conn. to Future Learning|
|A4. Value of Errors|
|A5. Feedback to Teacher|
|A6. Level of Material|
|A7. Cooperative Learning|
|A8. Accom. of Individual Diff.|
|B1. Ability to Save Progress|
|B2. Platform Integration|
|B3. Screen Design|
|B4. Ease of Use|
|B6. Goal Orientation|
|B7. Information Presentation|
|B8. Media Integration|
|B9. Cultural Sensitivity|
|C1. Learner Control|
|B8. Media Integration|
|B9. Cultural Sensitivity|
Screenshots of Funbrain