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BrainNook: Virtual Learning World for Elementary Students

What it is: BrainNook is a virtual world for kids where they can develop math and English skills while playing in the free online playground.  There are over a hundred education games packed into the BrainNook virtual world, all of them are based on foundational math, English, and grammar concepts.  The math games cover concepts from single digit addition to 3D spatial visualization.  English games cover everything from building simple sentences to counting syllables.  The games are all woven into a fun virtual world that students can explore and unlock.  BrainNook also strengthens students reading, reasoning, decision-making skills, analysis, and computer literacy.  Students choose a character (alien) and name, when they enter BrainNook for the first time, they are dropped onto Earth where their spaceship has crashed. They are greeted by an earthling named Bella who teaches them how to navigate the world, and earn stars by playing games. The stars that are earned can be used to buy back spaceship parts.   Students can travel to several locations within the virtual world that are based on real-life regions of the Earth  Students learn about each region through trivia, question popups, and local artifacts. In each world students can play math and English games with other players in the safe online environment. As they build up their skills, new worlds will be unlocked and they can buy items from the local market or work on assembling their spaceship by assembling puzzles.  The games in BrainNook are scaffolded so it adjusts to students ability level as they progress.  Games can be played individually or in head-to-head competition. Because this site is geared toward elementary students, no personal information or personal messages are included in the virtual world. How to integrate BrainNook into the classroom: BrainNook is a brilliant virtual world for elementary students in first through fifth grade.  The virtual world allows students to learn and practice math and English skills at their own pace, and at their own unique level.  The games are great for building and reinforcing foundational learning skills.  Because the game progresses as students do, students could continue on in their virtual world throughout their elementary school experience.  BrainNook is ideal as a computer lab activity or in a 1 to 1 situation.  If you don’t have time to use BrainNook as a virtual world for each student, consider signing up for an account yourself that can be used as a class account.  Review the games that match up with skills students are learning in class and have the whole class play the games using an interactive whiteboard or on classroom computers as a center.  Make sure to tell parents about BrainNook, this is a fun way for students to get extra math and grammar practice at home. Tips: If students sign up for an individual account, they will need a parent’s email address validated before play.  BrainNook also has a school account option that you can learn about here. Please leave a comment and share how you are using BrainNook in your classroom.

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Nanoogo: Online ePortfolio solution

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 31-08-2012

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What it is:  Nanoogo is a place for students to create and share.  Nanoogo has a digital canvas that lets student share their knowledge and ideas with classmates.  Parents can easily login to view and comment on student work.  As a teacher, you can create a custom channel where you can provide secure access to parents and students and moderate or suggest changes to content before it gets posted.  Nanoogo is currently FREE to all schools, they mention on their information page that this may not be the case forever…I vote to sign up while it is free!

When students view each other’s work, they can rate it with a “like, genius, inspiring, cool, helpful, cute, funny or beautiful” badge.

Student can take screen shots of websites for their canvas.  Here they can add a sentence about what they learned/did.

How to integrate Nanoogo into your curriculum: At Anastasis Academy, we have a digital learning environment with 1 to 1 iPads.  We are largely paperless which has been WONDERFUL!  We don’t do worksheets…ever.  Bliss!  Most of what we do is digital, project based, design thinking, or discussions.  One of the problems this creates is a lack of bread crumbs of evidences of learning.  When you aren’t sending home a constant stream of graded worksheets, quizzes and tests, how can parents follow along and see what learning has been done?  What are the evidences?  Nanoogo could be a great place for students to create and keep an eportfolio.  Students can take screen shots and pictures of the projects and websites they have worked on and add a short reflection sentence about what was learned.  Everything can be shared with parents and classmates through the Nanoogo website.  Parents, students and parents can comment on student work and give it badges.  For everything that students upload on Nanoogo, they earn GoPoints.  These are displayed on a leader board.  Instead of ranking students based on grades, they are ranked based on how much of their learning they share.  I like this distinction…I’m not sure I love that we are still ranking students at all.  I think it might be more useful for students to compete against themselves in the points instead of against others.

Tips: At Anastasis, we use Evernote for our ePortfolio.  You can learn more about that here:

Evernote as an ePortfolio in a 1-to-1 iPad setting


Please leave a comment and share how you are using Nanogoo in your classroom!

Comments (2)

Kelly – Thanks for the post an wonderful review of our kids company! We’re very excited to be working with schools by providing our platform for free to teachers. At this early stage in our company, we’d love all the feedback we can get from teachers that are using Nanoogo or interested in using it. I can be contacted directly at daniel@nanoogo.com.


I also use Nanoogo while teaching Scratch to 5th graders, and it’s been the best experience ever. Everyone is engaged in doing something meaningful, and students are learning with and from each other. I will be making Nanoogo part of everything I possibly can in the future.

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