So, there was a Maths teacher, a Music teacher and an English teacher who all used Fronter in their schools – then what do you think happened?
Today’s blog post looks at how three teachers have created best online learning practice via Fronter to achieve improved learning outcomes for their pupils. We’ll meet a very special Maths teacher in Southend, an enormously talented English teacher in Barnet, and an amazing Music teacher from Belfast. All of these wonderful teachers and schools appear (or will appear over coming weeks) in dedicated blog posts of their own, but in this article, I’ll shine a light on them all together.
Sarah Imbush at Southend High School for Girls has been using a video conferencing tool in Fronter for many years now. Collaborate (formerly Elluminate) has been used for activities such as the Biggest Maths lesson in the World with Rachel Riley and the NSPCC, which with Sarah’s expert guidance was a great success in bringing pupils all all abilities into a fun and productive massive maths lesson!
Rachel Riley, host of the famous TV quiz show Countdown was invited by Sarah to deliver the huge maths lesson to around 700 eager pupils live online. Rachel, a former pupil of Southend High School for Girls has helped out on several occasions with the world beating maths challenge. Sarah and the pupils are always delighted to have someone of Rachel’s star quality on board, especially when she delivers such tasty learning in the form of online pizza-maths!
Pizza, Pascal + Pennies = Fractals!
Rachel’s masterclass lesson used the intriguing theme of ‘Pizza, Pascal and Pennies’ as she skilfully engaged the attention of pupils aged 8 through to 18 in the topic of Fractals. The aim of the lesson was to grip pupils’ attention, getting them really involved in what is sometimes seen as a ‘difficult’ topic. In the event, pupils were so engaged they hardly even noticed they were learning.
Maths Mentoring in Fronter
More recently, Sarah set up a dedicated Maths mentoring room with a focus on helping younger pupils achieve personal maths learning outcomes. The room is monitored daily by older student mentors known as Maths Angels, and has been seeing rewarding results for both mentors and mentees. The Maths Angels are Sixth Formers who find that their experience of maths mentoring is a useful and meaningful addition to their University application forms, and the Year 7 pupils who receive the mentoring are gaining confidence in their own maths ability and setting the fundamentals in place for real progress towards their own personal learning goals. A win-win situation as they say.
Music to our ears!
In Belfast, Beverley Cripps of Ashfield Girls’ High School set up a project to assess Year 9 students’ knowledge of the symphony orchestra. Her pupils benefited not only from the instant results and feedback provided by the test, but found they became more generally enthusiastic about the subject matter, were more motivated to learn and showed a significant improvement in terms of their learning outcomes when compared to previous cohorts who had not been involved in learning via Fronter. Result!
Literacy Leaders and Fronter
Clare Thompson, Director for English at Whitefield School in Barnet set up a very successful Literacy Leaders Scheme. This involved Yr 11 students mentoring Yr 7 students, both in weekly face to face reading sessions and regular online forum conversations using Fronter forums.
Over the course of the project, Clare observed that the Yr 11 Literacy Leaders improved personal confidence in their knowledge and expertise about a range of English language skills even though they were already recognised as being strong in this subject. Being given a position of responsibility clearly encouraged these older students to make sure they had fully researched and consolidated the skills and knowledge they needed before engaging with Yr 7s in reading and forum tasks .
Clare also reported that Yr 7 students in the literacy project displayed more confidence and accuracy in their skills as a result of the one to one help from Year 11s and from the quiet opportunities to ask questions and develop problem solving skills via Fronter forums. As a result, Year 7 homework showed improvements as did the level of care taken over completing English tasks. This in turn boosted pupils’ pride in their work and spurred them onto greater efforts towards achieving their own personal learning outcomes.
The remarkable success of the Whitefield Literacy project with Years 11 and 7 this year means that next year Clare expects to involve the whole school, including staff. This should give a real boost to literacy learning outcomes across the school.
…and the answer to the question at the top of this post
Great news for learning outcomes all round. 🙂
In the next post in this mini-series, I’ll be taking some time to look at the Individual Learning Plan tool in Fronter (or the ILP as we fondly call it) and exploring how it can be used to monitor progress towards learning outcomes.
Thanks for reading!