Frog in TES

Interesting article in the TES:

Snippet from Frog School:

Harry French, assistant headteacher at Attleborough High in Norfolk, runs courses on using learning platforms for other teachers and schools.

“We wanted to make sure that we had every teacher and every pupil using the platform on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “Once you have people using it then there are opportunities for online socialisation and learning to take place.”

Attleborough uses what are called “impact components” to drive traffic and people to the learning platform. One example is the business languages champions competition that the school has been running for three years. This year’s subject was the use of languages in the car industry. Pupils created a digital response, a podcast or PowerPoint, which was then posted online and judged by executives at the competition sponsor, QLS Automotive.

The school has also run a project with schools in Germany and France with the Attleborough learning platform as the hub. Pupils at the partner schools can log in and create community pages about their own areas, as well as being able to contribute to Attleborough projects, including through video conferencing.

Mr French says the secret of the learning platform’s success is that the school found out what people wanted before they developed it. “We didn’t put a square peg in a round hole, we created our own peg,” he says. “We asked the kids: what do you want things to look like? We asked teachers the same and acted on it.”

The school has its own VLE champions from Years 9 and 10 while sixth-formers act as e-leaning managers. The older pupils also carry out work for the faculties they are paired up with, and are linked to primaries where they run training sessions for teachers.

For Years 12 and 13, the theory content of the product design AS and A2 level course is delivered by podcast, with interactive tutorials to show the students how to use the software. This also means they can learn at their own pace and in their own environment.

“The teacher becomes the facilitator,” says Mr French. “In terms of revision aids, the system is second to none.” The students can download the podcasts on to their iPods, and for teachers it is straightforward to record a podcast and have it on the platform within seconds, creating a bank of resources that are not time limited.

In some ways, platforms are enabling teachers to do what they have always done – but in a medium that children find attractive. But when used well, learning platforms can help teachers do what would have been impossible just a few years ago.

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