I was just looking through a presentation I did back in summer 2007 for a Local Authority rolling Frog out – it even has our old Frog logo on it….very nostalgic!
We used to have to put a lot of effort into convincing our customers that they needed to take their investment more seriously, and the purchase of a learning platform wasn’t the end game. We suggested (and still do) a triumvirate of people:
The first is a senior member of staff, probably a deputy head or assistant head, that is excited by this project, has a genuine desire to try and improve the education of their children and the motivation of the staff – ideally someone that could benefit personally from making a big success of this somehow. It’s this person’s job to provide the direction, the vision, and the drive.
Second, we suggest a teacher – it doesn’t matter what subject they’re from as long as they are enthusiastic about the possibilities, and technically competent enough to understand what’s possible (they come from everywhere, but for some reason P.E. and History come out a lot). That said, there are obvious advantages to it not being the ICT teacher in many cases, but it depends on the people of course. It is this person’s role to deal with the staff, to think of cunning ways of getting people engaged, to train everyone, to help get the children involved. This is the person that works to embed the system into the school at the ground level.
Third, and by no means last, is the Frog man, or Frog woman. This is someone that has a lot of time off timetable, good graphic design skills and good problem solving skills. Not a programmer (although some are, too) this person will build things in Frog or for upload into Frog. It’s not reasonable to expect teachers to suddenly become experts in Photoshop, or to build engaging digital resources over night. The job of this person is to help the teaching staff come up with innovative and exciting ideas and then to go away and make them happen. It could be something simple like making photo’s from a recent field trip pop-up when the mouse is dragged over a map, it could be something more sophisticated like an adventure game based around a history project. Whatever it is, once the teachers get a taste of “invention” and seeing their ideas come to life, they soon want to start learning how to do this themselves. Without this your learning platform is no more than just another document repository for your existing PowerPoints, or maybe a few newly bought SCORM packages…..
As little as three years ago (although we’ve been banging this drum for a lot longer) we had a difficult time persuading our schools that they needed any of the members of this triumvirate, especially difficult was the Frog man/woman. It occurred to me today that schools have moved on immeasurably with regard to how seriously they take this now. Most schools already have an e-learning manager in place, and they readily accept that someone more technical will need to have their schedule cleared to get stuck into the technology and building resources. In fact, some have moved ahead of our thinking, there are quite a few schools that are using their students very heavily for every aspect of the roll-out and ongoing use, which is working exceptionally well (and something we’re looking to learn more about and pass on). If your interested in this, take a look at Halifax High and Crossley Heath White Papers at http://www.frogtrade.com/whitepapers
Things have moved on….