I’m hearing the phrase, “every school will go through a journey of three learning platforms” more and more. What I think people mean by this is that they try one, it doesn’t meet their needs, so they buy another (usually more expensive) one, and when they outgrow this, they buy a third one. I guess there’s some truth to this, many Frog schools go through the same process, essentially “re-launching” their Frog platform every couple of years, adding in new capabilities to the system, a new design and layout, and usually a new emphasis, a new catalyst for additional change. So it’s not that every school will go through three platforms so much as it’s important to keep re-energising people with something new, fresh, and more capable than the previous system – fortunately for Frog customers, they can do this without having to buy something else, but the point still stands.
On that note, I’ve nicked a few paragraphs from a recent press release from one of our schools that I thought was an interesting development, a learning platform built by the students…
Roles Reversed at Halifax High
Students at Halifax High at Wellesley Park have been showing their teachers a thing or two with the latest technology hitting schools – Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) – technology that engages the whole school community in students’ education. And the kids have been training the teachers on how to use it!
The school first implemented their VLE three years ago, a system that is very much like an interactive intranet site, developed and supported by local Halifax company, Frog (www.frogtrade.com). It acts as a virtual school for students, teachers and parents to open up the channels of communication through email, forums, online homework assignments and much more! After three years the school decided it was time for the VLE to be updated and redesigned.
“With the re-launch of the Frog VLE,, we have always encouraged our students to use this technology to its full potential – so who better to develop a learning platform for students than the students themselves” explains Julia Pollard, Head of e-Learning at Halifax High.
With technology at the heart of the latest teen generation, the school went on a recruitment drive to find a team of ‘Lead Frog Wardens’ in Year 10 to re-launch the learning platform to the rest of the school.
“From talking to our friends at school we knew our VLE needed a new design that let us choose what we wanted it to look like. We worked with Frog to come up with six new designs and launched these to the school using a video that we recorded and showed during the school assembly.
“What’s great about Frog’s VLE is that it is really flexible and easy to use – it lets us customise our own personal page to view school notices, useful tips, forums etc.” says Mariya Hussain a Year 10 student and Lead Frog Warden at Halifax High.
After re-launching the VLE to the school, the Frog Wardens realised that teachers needed help and support with the VLE. The created step-by-step guides for teachers to follow, ranging from the basics through to designing their own departmental website.
Emma Geall, Head of Citizenship and SPACE said “I’m not particularly IT literate but the new VLE was bound to be really popular in the school and I wanted to get on board and support my students. The new VLE gives them access to online resources for their homework and revision and allows them to email me when they’re at home and have questions.
“The students really helped me understand how to use the system and I have to say, it felt a little strange being the student!”