Optical Illusion – A good stimulus for online discussion

Sometimes you get a www that reminds you that the internet offers a media that really wasn’t available with the printed page, TV and film…

http://www.patmedia.net/marklevinson/cool/cool_illusion.html

My own children summed this up as ‘cool beans’!

Penny Patterson – HIAS General Inspector ICT

Thanks Penny, I loved this…  

I was thinking how it could be used in class… 

Curriculum Application – Speaking and Listening/Writing/Art and Design/ICT:Try this with a class to see what they think (be careful if any pupils have photo-sensitive epilepsy).  Can the pupils explain what is happening?  Put it on your class blogs, school websites, the MLE etc and it could spark a good online written discussion.

Dave Smith – HIAS ICT Consultant

London MLE – Primary Show and Tell – Find out more…

The London MLE – Powered by Fronter will be holding events providing the opportunity to find out how other primary schools are using the London MLE:

Each session will include 3 primary schools talking about their use of the London MLE…

Southwark CLC – 13th March 2008 – 9.30-12.00

Islington CLC – 14th March 2008 – 1.30-4.00

Ealing CLC – 19th March – 1.30-4.00

Tower Hamlets PDC -20th March 2008 – 1.30-4.00

Interested? Contact londonmle@fronter.com if you would be interested in attending.

Download the latest London MLE newsletter at: http://fronter.info/londonmle/London_MLE_newsletter_01_2008_lowres.pdf

London MLE – LGfL visit to Fronter in Oslo, Norway – From a HIAS point of view… Day Two

Friday 29th February 2008 

Written by Dave Smith – HIAS ICT Consultant…

Download the report on the outcomes from Day Two of the visit, including images, by clicking on the link here –  Fronter_Trip_Day_Two 

Kastellet Skole – Oslo, Norway http://www.kastellet.gs.oslo.no/

Any schools wishing to link-up over Fronter with Kastellet Skole please contact Torill Røeggen – Assistant Principal via torill.roeggen@ude.oslo.kommune.no

Kastellet School in Context

Today we visited Kastellet School, an all-through school with 610 pupils/students between the ages of 6-16, with 50 teachers.  Children do not formally start school until 6 years of age in Norway.  Kastellet, built and opened 4 years ago is a National Show School for the effective use of ICT to engage pupils and parents. Operating on one site, pupils were schooled in a number of linked-up buildings.  As well as ICT, the school focuses heavily on Languages and the Arts.

Supporting Fronter Implementation through Digital Guides

The Assistant Principal explained how Fronter had been in use in the school for four years and they had considered it vital to allocate human resources to help with implementation.  The appointment of three members of staff with 30%-50% off-timetable allocated to supporting the training and logistics of Fronter has been a real success.  The team meet weekly to discuss ongoing MLE development needs and the evolving training needs of the staff.  This team helped to develop both the ICT strategy and effective implementation, including the creation of schemes of work focussing-on Fronter use.

Provision, Provision, Provision

Access to ICT facilities was impressive, with a ratio of 1computer:2 students in Key Stage 3/4 and 1 computer:3 pupils in the equivalent of Key Stage 1/2.  To achieve this the school had taken the conscious decision to purchase some refurbished desktop PCs and makes laptops available within the school to pupils/students on a loan basis.  ICT in the form of desktop PCs, laptops and digital projectors was seen everywhere in school – however, the school currently have no interactive whiteboards.

Digital Competence as a necessity, not a desire

The transference in the past year of end of school examinations at sixteen to online versions has meant that it is no-longer sufficient to develop student ICT skills – it is vital, as pupils cannot succeed in the examinations without effective ICT skills and the ability to apply it.  The Assistant Principal reinforced this explaining that, “We have to give students digital competence; it is a necessity.”

The Impact of Fronter on Organisational Management and Teaching and Learning

Fronter has had a major impact on both organisational management and teaching and learning throughout the school community – pupils, students, staff and parents/carers access the system to provide a central hub for information and learning activities.  The best phrase is… “You want it? Find it on Fronter.”

Paper has effectively been removed from home-school communication, except in the most extreme cases where parents/carers/pupils do not have home access to the Internet and paper copies of some documents are sent home.  However, to help overcome this somewhat the school opens its library up until 4.30pm each day allowing parent/carer access.

By creating online permission slips for a skiing trip for example, the teachers were able to get parent/carer permission directly through Fronter, with the MLE helping them sort the groups automatically, removing the tedious job of chasing paper permission slips.

Quick Wins for Teaching and Learning – Doing it the Kastellet Way! 

  • To develop an enthusiasm for Fronter amongst parents/carers ensure that it is populated with content prior to providing access – give them reasons to love the MLE, not reasons to say, “It’s boring!”
  • Use the Portfolio Tool during parental consultations, to allow pupils/students to show their parents/carers what they have been working on
  • Centrally created templates, which teachers can choose from and fill with content are vital, removing a need for staff to carry out this repetitive and unnecessary time wasting task – let the teachers add content, not waste time creating the boxes to put it in
  • Reusable resources – once created the materials are available year in, year out – no need to chase around looking for resources – just add more, remove outdated links etc to enhance the impact the following year
  • Use the Individual Learning Plans to allow the creation of pupil/student targets, accessible to teachers, pupils/students and parents – enabling comments to be added in an organic manner.  This provides all stakeholders involvement in the learning process and in-turn  reduces the risk of pupils/students straying from their learning path
  • Make the MLE the first point-of-call for pupils/students by creating links to library resources in school, links to film clips, useful websites etc

Portfolio – Won’t the pupils/students run out of space? 

One student presenting to the group explained how, “I have documents from the 6th and 7th Grade and I am now in the 9th Grade and I still have lots of space left.”  So, an ongoing portfolio of learning can be created without the burden of worrying excessively about storage space.

Second visit to Fronter Offices

During our second visit to the Fronter Offices we got a glimpse into some of the exciting tools that are to be featured in future releases of Fronter.  We again got the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions.  Issues relating to the interface for primary schools, particularly at Foundation Stage and Key Stage One were discussed and Fronter were very open to ideas and are keen to listen to the views of practitioners and pupils through the LGfL Reference Groups. 

Final Thoughts…

All-in-all the two-day visit was a very useful fact-finding exercise and will be used to feed into the Havering Fronter User Group.  Both the Norwegian schools and Fronter were very welcoming and it was a very well-organised event by LGfL led by Tim Stirrup.  

Read about Day One here: http://haveringict.edublogs.org/2008/02/28/london-mle-lgfl-visit-to-fronter-from-a-hias-point-of-view/

London MLE – LGfL visit to Fronter in Oslo, Norway – From a HIAS point of view… Day One

london_mle_logo

Reasons Behind The Factfinding Visit:
1. To explore excellent practice in the use of Fronter – powering the London MLE
2. To meet the Fronter Management team to discuss future developments and exchange positive ways forward 

Download the report on the outcomes from Day One of the visit, including images, by clicking on the link here – Fronter_Trip_Day_One

Thursday 28th February 2008

Written by Dave Smith – HIAS ICT Consultant…

school_sign

I currently have the pleasure of visiting Oslo in Norway to represent Havering during an LGfL visit to see (the London MLE powered by) Fronter in operation in schools in Oslo. As part of the visit we are talking to the management at Fronter about how we would like to see the London MLE develop in our schools and to explore further what features the next releases of Fronter will include.

Visit to Nedre Bekkelaget Skole – http://www.nedre-bekkelaget.gs.oslo.no/
Today I visited Nedre Bekkelaget Skole – a primary school for pupils between 6-11 years of age. The ratio of teachers to pupils was 1:21 and the ratio of computers to pupils was 1:1.5! The school had recently introduced interactive whiteboards into Years 4-6 and had no plans to expand beyond this.

High Pupil ICT-capability, Online Learning Effectively Embedded
We met the staff and children of the school and the children showed us the Fronter MLE (Managed Learning Environment) in action. The pupils worked very confidently with the tools within Fronter and demonstrated how they were able to access activities/tasks developed by their teachers – both downloading and uploading activities to the interface. The pupils also use Fronter for communication and parents are able to use it to help support pupil learning in a very effective way. Individual Learning Pathways have been created by teachers for pupils to work autonomously to undertake research, with inbuilt assessments that provide a snapshot of pupil progress.

Personalising Learning, Nurturing Autonomy
Group rooms for individual or group learning were available for pupil use to work on Fronter-driven activities. Due to the way in which the Internet had been set-up, pupils only had access to the Fronter interface and therefore there was no need to worry about pupils being off-task or accessing inappropriate web-content.

Communication Made Easy
Communication has been revolutionised, in fact the Headteacher commented that he was now able to “keep all staff informed in a paperless fashion and the staff love the shared calendar” – reducing the need to chase around looking for information. Everyone in one place, accessible at all times. Priceless.
Pupils’ daily/weekly tasks were accessible via Fronter – with a list of spellings and homework tasks included, allowing pupils to be further involved in their learning.

Getting staff onboard – Quick wins…
To encourage staff to use the tool he hid a sentence in daily message saying where he had hidden a bar of chocolate in the school – not only did this encourage staff to use the platform, but it encouraged the fun element of Fronter’s capabilities too!

Fronter Offices – Listening to our views, considering future needs
We visited the Fronter offices and met with Roger Larsen (pictured right) the Managing Director of Fronter AS, who showed us around the offices and introduced us to the dedicated support team for London. Roger admitted that LGfL receives a level of support way beyond that normally supplied for customers. We then had an opportunity to explore the future elements of Fronter, including some proposed Primary interfaces. I pushed the point that we must continue to listen to colleagues and pupils in Early Years and Key Stage One, as well as Key Stage Two in order to get it right – the representatives from Fronter and LGfL were very positive in this regard and suggested the setting-up of a pupil reference group to gather the views of pupils too.

I look forward to a visit to an all-through primary/secondary school tomorrow.  Read about Day Two here: http://haveringict.edublogs.org/2008/03/01/london-mle-lgfl-visit-to-fronter-in-oslo-norway-from-a-hias-point-of-view%e2%80%a6-day-two/

Dave Smith
HIAS ICT Consultant
Oslo, Norway

Havering London MLE (Fronter) User Group Meeting

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Havering London MLE (Fronter) User Group February 28th 4.00 to 5.00 pm

Campion School, Wingletye Lane, Hornchurch, RM11 3BX

This is the first meeting of the Havering Fronter User group.

Please register on the course booking system at www.cpd.havering.lgfl.net The agenda will include:– Introductions

– Setting the membership and focus of the group

– setting meeting dates for the group

– input to inform local training requirements

– issues for future meetings

– questions to pass to Fronter

Fronter have been invited to the meeting, so we may be able to pass questions and issues to them directly.