Brainspace Interactive Magazine

Brainspace is a quarterly magazine for kids aged 8-14 that is published in Canada.  U.S. Subscriptions are also available (about $30 for 4 issues).

image from video in Brainspace Magazine's "School of Rap" article
image from video in Brainspace Magazine’s “School of Rap” article

The magazine topics in the issue sent to me for review ranged from dinosaurs to speaking French to whether or not you can get sucked out of an airplane toilet (not likely, it turns out).

What sets Brainspace apart from other magazines you might find in your elementary school library is that it also includes augmented reality.  For example, if you download the free Blippar app, you can see the dinosaur on the magazine cover move and roar.  The majority of the pages inside also have “Blipp This” tags, allowing you to scan an image and watch videos related to some of the articles.

The videos are educational and often include students.  Some of them definitely give this magazine an advantage over print-only magazines because the articles alone would not be as effective.  It’s helpful, for instance, to learn French phrases by seeing other students using them in context.

If you have a child who does not like to read, I wouldn’t count on this magazine changing their attitude.  More likely, they will scan for all of the “Blipp This” tags and close the magazine after they’ve watched each video.

But, if your child is eager to learn, and is especially interested in scientific topics, a Brainspace subscription could make a great gift.

If you are a teacher or librarian, Brainspace might be popular with your students.  I would caution you to try one edition first to make sure access to the videos is not blocked in your school.  I found at least two videos in the Summer 2015 issue that were hosted on YouTube and wouldn’t have been accessible with a student device if I was on school grounds.

Parents’ Choice recently gave Brainspace a “Gold Award.” (National Geographic earned a silver, just to put that in context.) You can read the Parents’ Choice Award review here.

I would like to see the magazine make things even more interactive by including polls or quizzes that could be accessed with a scan. They could also engage their readers by asking them to submit videos (with parent permission) for future issues.

Overall, this magazine has a lot to offer, and I look forward to seeing its evolution.

For more augmented reality resources, including lesson plans and free apps, check out my Augmented Reality page here.

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