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Selborne Primary School in Middlesex were achieving great things with their FrogLearn platform. We interviewed Nicola Windsor, Deputy Head, to discover what has been working well for them.
What first attracted the school to the FrogLearn Platform?
Selborne Primary School was looking for a user-friendly virtual learning platform to communicate with children and parents both inside and outside of school hours. It would be used to share whole school notices as well as year group specific resources. We found FrogLearn to be an appropriately attractive and an interactive platform that is accessible for all to use: it is easy to login and edit.
What particular activities/challenges were you looking to support/overcome using FrogLearn?
Fundamentally, Selborne was looking to improve the communication between parents and the school and to develop a paper-free system. We wanted to overcome the problem of children losing homework sheets and teachers having to carry out lots of printing. We knew that we had an environmental obligation to use less paper and an educational responsibility to provide challenge and support learning outside of the classroom. FrogLearn makes it possible for children to access their home learning tasks from anywhere with an internet connection.
Parents were also keen to have extra advice and provision for children to carry out additional activities, so we use FrogLearn to direct parents to online educational resources and provide booklets such as those for grammar and our calculation policy. We also wanted to notify parents of school competitions and provide modelled examples.
Letters were not always being passed on from the child to the parent, so this platform helped ensure communication improved.
FrogLearn was instrumental is guiding Year 6 students with their SATs revision. Links were created for children to undertake practice tests and play educational games as parents were keen for their children to complete extra activities to fully prepare their children.
How has FrogLearn helped with parental engagement/involvement?
The online platform has meant that parents have access not just to homework but to other tools and information that Year Leaders put up. Parents can access the platform from anywhere. Important messages can be placed onto Frog which means parents do not bombard the office staff with lots of questions anymore and it also helps those parents who do not physically visit the school. Parents are able to encourage children to complete their homework and they can support their child using examples modelled on Frog. There is no confusion over which homework has been set as it is all listed clearly on Year Group pages and in upper KS2, under teachers’ names.
Below are some examples of how information is shared with regards to the curriculum and what children are learning about in their lessons. This helps parents to understand what their child’s focus of study is at school and gives them some ideas about extra-curricular activities such as non-fiction books to read or places they can visit to supplement their child’s education.
How does FrogLearn support student learning/engagement?
Children have access to online tools to help them consolidate their learning that they have completed in class. Year Leaders add links to their year group page for future learning too. This acts as a pre-teach for most children and encourages children to think ahead. FrogLearn provides them with a place to look if they are having trouble with their homework or revision. It provides extension work for those who want to challenge themselves further. However, most importantly, FrogLearn is where all children are expected to access their homework.
What do staff like most about using FrogLearn?
Using FrogLearn has meant teachers spend far less time photocopying resources such as the children’s homework. They do not queue at the photocopying machine for quite so long now as they just upload the weekly homework which takes minutes. It saves a lot of paper. Teachers appreciate that using FrogLearn appeals to the children as their generation has grown up using electrical gadgets. Some teachers like the gamification - the process of introducing a competitive game playing element within the learning platform. This can be done using point scoring, quizzes and competitions.
As well as parents and children accessing FrogLearn from anywhere, teachers can upload resources from the comfort of their home. But most of all, teachers benefit from the fact that children cannot give excuses for not doing their homework as it is so easily accessible online. Teachers do not hear the phrase, ‘I lost my homework sheet’.
What are the next steps for Selborne with FrogLearn?
We will need to carry out further training to effectively use all the resources FrogLearn has to offer, such as the games and the variety of widgets. We will also concentrate on the consistency in the way the different year groups use it, so parents and children do not spend unnecessary amounts of time looking for things on each year group’s page. New parents to the school would benefit from training on how to use FrogLearn.
What advice would you give to other Primary schools looking to implement FrogLearn e.g. rollout – staff engagement – parental engagement – maintaining usage?
Selborne teachers came up with the following bullet points of advice:
- Start basic – use it for homework. Once children are more confident, then you can use some of the other tools
- To ensure all children, parents and staff know how it works – provide parent workshops to model how to navigate the platform
- To check that the majority of children have access to the internet and provide individual login details on a sticker that goes inside children’s home-link diaries
- Use it to provide extra challenges for children over holidays and weekends
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