Frog Forums getting jiggy

Forgive the constant blogs recently, but I’m excited about what’s going on in our new Community Forum.  It’s been live for a while but has suddenly started getting a lot more attention (thanks to Graham Quince and the new Frog Code stuff)

There were 67 people online at the same time today (not sure how to find out how many people are logging in every day)

If you want to take a look yourself, head off to: http://frogcommunity.com/ and check out the forums.

Frog Code rules!

Community

I also understand there was a “meet, share and learn” in London yesterday and someone there shouted out asking “when can we have a gallery widget”?

Graham responded with, “funnily enough I built one of those using Frog Code last week”.  Two schools have since got his bit of code and are now running it on their Frog box. No devs required!

Did I mention that Frog Code rocks?!

Schools racing ahead with Frog Code already!

We’ve spun a new Frog Forum up recently and I wanted to show you a link to one specific post where someone wanted to embed a PDF into a site and has received loads of responses of how to achieve this, many using Frog Code to achieve it.

Not suggesting you read it all but it’s worth a scroll down to see just how sophisticated some schools are already.

http://forum.froginfra.net/forum/froglearn-aa/technical-help-aa/4528-displaying-pdf

Thank you to John, Eric and everyone else that responded to this and many other posts

Personally, I’m really excited about this and can’t wait to see what you start doing once you start tinkering with the full Frog APIs, and the Frog Code IDE that’s nearly with you!

By ‘eck – Frog Code already !

I discovered last week that the guys and gals have already built a prototype IDE, the first part of which goes out in the next release !  How come I’m always the last to find out ?!

Who should read this?

This is for folks that know how to program, we’re thinking anyone from “enthusiastic amateur” to “professional programmer”.  This is not for teachers, and this is not for “Huggy”.

That said, if you don’t program it’s worth knowing that if someone in your school does then this gives them the freedom to do whatever they want using Frog. As far as I can tell, no limits. We’re also seeing schools sharing little snippets of stuff between themselves already that creates new functionality for your Frog, which is fantastic!

Here’s a few screen grabs:

Frog Code

A “snippet” is a single chunk of code that can be accessed from anywhere in the system, what might more usually be called an include file.  Scripts can be created in both JavaScript and Python.

Frog Code - Snippet

The Reports section shown below is the first bit out of the gate, available in the next release as a beta to anyone that wants to have a play!

This area has full access to the FDP (Frog Developer Platform) APIs. It also has a full set of APIs for grabbing the report parameters without you having to code loads of stuff, so if you want to choose a class of students, just tell it that and it’ll sort it out for you. Finally, there is a full set of graphing and charting APIs available so you can create all sorts of funky presentations.  We’re hoping that the first release in 2016 will also allow these reports to be embedded within a widget, so you’ll be able to build your own full dashboard, showing whatever you want however you want it.

Frog Code - Reports

If any errors exist in the code there’s also an error flag (red x) and a warning flag (yellow triangle) that show up as you’re typing.

It’s also possible to pop open a diagnostic panel where you can type commands directly, or even call individual Frog APIs and see the schema that comes back.  Below we are looking at the return for the getUser API.

Frog Code - Inline

So whether you want to extend Frog in some way with your own widgets, modify Frog (you could change the presentation of FrogOS itself using this if you really wanted to), bolt in third party systems including single sign on, or even give the children a safe sandbox to learn to program in, Frog Code will cover it.

Awesome?

Yes.  Opens the door to a whole new world of Frog…

Surprised it’s here already?

Me too…

Proper coding in Frog!

It’s taken longer than I hoped to get here, but we now have a proper code editor built inside Frog, and this is just the beginning of the next exciting stage of it’s evolution.

Although this is called a HTML Widget, it’s far more than that.  Frog is developed entirely using a combination of back end APIs and front end JavaScript, and given that this HTML Widget also allows you to write JavaScript that means you can build pretty much anything that WE can build here, right from within the Frog Site Editor!

So whether you want to build your own personalised dashboard widgets, data reporting, or integrations with third party products, now you can do it just by dragging a widget on the screen and (in my case) cutting and pasting some code!

Coding in Frog

If you’ve started using this and you’ve built anything cool then please let me know, especially if it’s okay to share it with other schools!

Why am I so excited?

Our previous product, Frog 3, wasn’t actually a learning platform.  It was a sophisticated content management system, one that was powerful enough to build your own tailored learning platform with.  But more importantly, many other things, too, from YouTube type systems, to social networks.

Frog Learn (based on our FrogOS technology) is way more than that, but in honesty it’s taken us far too long to get to the point where we can make this available to the schools properly.  Well now we’re there.  And this means that our customers now have bar none the most powerful and flexible system available.  And just like Frog 3, that means that this is no longer just a learning platform, it’s whatever you want it to be.

And this is just the beginning. The Frog system is about to take many leaps forward, I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to work out where this is all going!

Frog 15

f15_banner

It’s that time of year when the whole office gears up for our annual get together – Frog 15. It’s our biggest customer event and it’s a brilliant way to bring the Frog Family together. It’s also a great time to invite all the schools that are thinking about joining Frog to see what we are made of, warts and all.

While it might not feel like it, the removal of national attainment levels provides schools with a once in a generation opportunity to change the shape of our assessment – to focus more on the children, on teaching and learning. We also believe that it provides the opportunity for teachers to take back control of your profession, to put you in the driving seat instead of Whitehall.

Will you be one of those brave enough to stand up and make this change?

Because we think the opportunity for UK education is so great we’re focusing this year on life after levels and supporting schools with the assessment changes. Our life after levels events with the NAHT have been massively popular over the past few months, in fact we’re running more of them because they’ve been hugely oversubscribed, and some with more than 150 people at them.

Mick Walker will be joining me on the main stage to share his views on life after levels – Mick is probably the UK’s foremost assessment expert, and hearing what he has to say will both invigorate you with possibilities and take away a number of worries we know you’ll currently have around the changes. And for all the Mick Walker groupies out there the team here tell me they’re considering making some ‘I heart Mick Walker t-shirts’ so get your pre orders in now! Really??

We will of course be doing all the usual Froggy things, we have a whole host of teachers lined up ready to share their successes and failures, and following last years success there’ll be some Digital Leaders sharing their stories, too.

Alistair Smith will be closing the show with some words of wisdom focusing on the holistic child with his 4H model, “Head, Heart, Health and Heroics”. We tend to focus almost exclusively on a child’s knowledge and skills, but what about their character, happiness, self esteem, and what about their health?

NAHT Edge will be hosting a session in the morning along with the National Theatre in the afternoon. As always we’ll be having a very tasty lunch, this year though we will be mixing it up a bit and hosting a TeachMeet at the same time. This is a chance for schools to swap ideas, share best practice and learn from each other. I can’t wait to hear more inventive ways that our schools are using Frog.

I’m hoping everyone is feeling as excited as I am and that you all get the answers you need to help you during these uncertain times. I’m also going to make life a little bit easier for you by giving our latest Curriculum Manager software for FREE to everyone that attends Frog 15!

Also you might want to dust off your sombrero and Dame Edna glasses….. I say no more…

We all have a fantastic opportunity over the next couple of years. Come along to Frog 15 to find out how you can make a difference, and how you can take control back and for those that have forgotten, maybe even remember why you started teaching in the first place.

You can sign up for FREE here – http://www.frogeducation.com/frog15

The Danish Adventure continues…

We went to see our friends at MV Nordic in Denmark yesterday. The final paperwork is coming together for our Joint Venture, Frog Nordic, and everything should be sorted within the next few weeks.  We have a team of developers dedicated to the Danish project – their first project was to translate all of Frog into Danish, and to add the Danish curriculum – and obviously add some Lego background images!  They’re now moving on to some new funky stuff around planning.

MV_Nordic_2
MV Nordic Office – awesome staircase…

There are two ways that we could approach Denmark.

1. We could make the price really low, provide little in the way of support and sell as many little Frogs as possible, making a good lump of money straight away. Many of the companies in Denmark are taking this approach. This is a short term, market grabbing strategy, but it makes building longer term relationships difficult because there isn’t enough money to pay for making sure that it works. Think of it as paying £50 a year for someone to maintain your car for you. They might win a lot of business initially, but you aren’t likely to see them on your drive very often.

2. The other way of doing it is to charge enough to allow us to spend the time making sure it works in the schools. Obviously having a higher price would likely mean that we would attract less schools.  Later sales would come ONLY AFTER we’ve proved that it’s worth paying the extra for Frog. This is the strategy we took in England. Think of it as paying £300 a year for someone to maintain your car for you. They’ll find it harder to get people to pay that at first, but if they do a great job, you’ll tell your friends about them and slowly they’ll end up on everyone’s driveway. But if they don’t do a great job, they’ll end up with nothing.

Which would you do?