Students have the knowledge, now they need the power!

Every Champion School we visit is different. No two are the same. Whether primary or secondary or infants, they all use Fronter in different ways and to achieve different goals. They all have Fronter embedded but some started using Fronter from the Staff Room out – a communication tool for teachers and support staff to use to pick up newsletters, diaries and policies. Other schools start with student pages – exciting content, forums, tests, home learning opportunities. Some start with home school links – parent pages, sharing photos of work, using individual folders to provide targets and helpful homework tips.

Each of our Champions Schools using Fronter have made it a success via whichever route suited them best and it is now embedded into the daily life of the school community.

So how do they keep it fresh? Well, many Champion Schools have now trained up an army of helpers in the form of students! From Key Stage 1 all the way to Key Stage 5, student-created content is creating a buzz in Fronter buildings across the land!

From something as simple as changing the votes to something new each week, all the way to students who manage their entire form room online, students having the power and ownership of Fronter has a huge impact. Students may start with non-learning related items – favourite songs and football teams for example, but quickly start to follow the example set by teachers. Students set up learning opportunities, link to educational sites they find and also give a voice to other pupils by asking them what they want to see on Fronter.

The knock on positive effect in terms of e-safety has also been huge with Campsbourne Junior School recently showing us how pupils have started to moderate each other on forums, letting other pupils know when their contributions are not appropriate to the discussion in hand.

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Fronter – 21st century tool for a 21st century education

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Enfield Grammar School created a Citizenship Fronter room for students to log in. The homepage is what students first encounter when they visit the room, where they can find links provided to complete student voice surveys, access current affairs and see what is new on Fronter. There’s also a homework reminder section, links to relevant Citizenship research and information websites, a feedback section about the room and educational related videos.

Do students use the Citizenship Fronter Room?
Fronter enables the teacher to keep track of the usage of the room over time. From the start of September 2012 – end of January 2013 there were:

  • 3000 Individual hits
  • 8000 Documents viewed/downloaded by students
  • 530 discussion forum comment left across 20 discussion topics
  • 400 Different students have logged on to the Citizenship Fronter room

Gifted & Talented Section

Students can access further reading on the topics studied within citizenship. Students can look at detailed PowerPoints embedded into the Fronter London MLE to stretch their knowledge base. The G&T cohort would also be able to attempt challenging project work in the near future.

Student Voice

The Citizenship discussion area on Fronter allows students a safe and controlled space where they can debate and discuss the latest current affairs or give virtual feedback about the school and each others work.

 Years 7, 8 & 9 landing pages

When students enter through the home page to the landing pages they have a host of information, resources and guidance about PSHE & Citizenship education. The rooms provide support for all students including those that are on the SEN register or the G&T register.

“Assessment criteria, support and help is provided in a virtual way to any student, learning support assistant or parent to help support their child progress in citizenship.”

Why is this useful? 

  • Students who are absent can view the PowerPoint and catch up on missed work
  • All teaching assistants are able to see what topics are likely to be taught in upcoming units
  • Any student in seclusion or excluded can still access the course content and keep up with the class
  • If students wanted to show their parents what they will be studying it is there to be accessed

Year 10 GCSE Citizenship landing page

Assessment criteria, support and help is provided in a virtual way to any students when completing their coursework and controlled assessment pieces. Checklists of what to do and downloadable fact file resource pages are also available.

GCSE Students are able to download and view each lessons PowerPoint. Students have access to download a homework sheet incase they lose theirs.

Extension A*-C homework tasks can be set to stretch the most able students and ensure they aspire to exceed their target grades.

For those students who prefer to learn from multimedia, recommended ‘videos to watch’ links are provided and podcasts are available about the different topics.

Year 11 GCSE Citizenship landing page
Help and support for the Y11 controlled assessment is provided in the form of Prezi-Presentations and YouTube clips.

Y11 GCSE Students can also print out the lesson notes and create their own citizenship revision material.

They also have access to view and download all the Y10 GCSE work and revision notes and homeworks so they can re-cap the units taught last year for their upcoming exams.

Setting emergency cover work
The Citizenship Fronter room has a section where cover work can be uploaded and saved for a later date. Both print outs for students to fill in or PowerPoints for the cover teacher to work through can be provided.

Encouraging students to read
The Citizenship Fronter room has a section where links are posted about recent events in the news or newspaper articles which may be relevant to topics being taught or the GCSE examination content.

Citizenshipgames room
The Citizenship Fronter room has a section students are actively encouraged to play educational games related to content taught within the citizenship national curriculum.

Teachers Teaching and Learners Learning: Part 2

Fronter and Learning Outcomes – the Goal Tool

In the first post in this mini-series about Learning Outcomes, I started to look at the Fronter goal tool and how it could be a useful element in lesson planning, target setting and tracking pupil progress.

Now, I’d like to look at a few more details of the goal too. There’s so much a teacher and student can get from this tool – that this will be just a taster. I’d love to hear from any teachers or pupils who use the goal tool regularly as I’m certain there are as many ways to use this tool as there are teachers and pupils in fact.

First, let’s get the mechanics out of the way – follow these three steps to creating a Fronter room based goal:

Step 1
Go to the room where you want to set some learning outcomes expressed as goals. Click Room icon on left menu, then select Customise tool package.

How to use the Goal Tool in Fronter Image

Step 2
Click New tool.

How to use the Goal Tool in Fronter Image step 2

Step 3
Select the tool Goal and Save

How to use the Goal Tool in Fronter Image step 3

Setting a goal

Ok – that’s the ‘where-to-find-it’ bit quickly out of the way. Now for the nitty-gritty. Think of a goal you need to set – it could be a very personal goal for a particular pupil struggling with organisational capabilities, i.e. – ‘Remember to hand your homework in every week for a term’, or, a whole class subject based goal developed from your lesson plan, such as – ‘Describe the character of Pip using evidence from the novel Great Expectations’ – or any variation which could apply to any aspect of school life from behaviour management to work experience targets.

Here’s a goal in the process of being made by a primary school teacher for her pupils. The children are to work on designing a Bug Hotel and the teacher  wants them to think hard about the processes involved in planning a creative design topic and she will use the goal tool to capture progress with a sequence of planning activities she has already set up in their Fronter Eco Room.

Fronter goal tool

Tracking the goal

Later, after the teacher has saved the goal and the pupils are busy working through their Bug Hotel design plans, she selects the goal tool in the Eco Room, clicks on the pupil or pupils she wants to focus on (in this case just one pupil – Sue Gerrard) and then tracks this goal through, evaluating each stage of the goal thread as she goes.

The goal is shown in the same Eco Room area as all of the topic based activities and can be linked directly to specific assignments and forums. The teacher can run a PDF / print off of the whole class record, or of course just for selected groups or individuals at any point during the tracking of progress, so that achievement can be reviewed, discussed and acted upon. This is useful for alerting the teacher and pupil in instances where progress is falling behind expectations, or alternatively, where a pupil maybe getting ahead and extended work and associated ‘stretched’ goals are needed. This facility is also very useful for sharing progress towards learning outcomes with parents, either by email as an attachment or as a discussion document at Parents’ Evening.

Fronter goal tool

In the view of the same goal below, the pupil, Sue Gerrard, has also logged on to check whether her teacher has evaluated her learning goal for this topic. Sue has clicked on the ‘I can’ statement  which she also believes she has achieved. The goal shows in yellow now to show this is where the pupil rates her own progress towards her learning outcomes, but has a blue surround to show that the teacher has also marked her at this same point.

Bug Hotel goal tool 5

Sometimes of course,  this being the real world, there is mismatch between the pupil and teacher’s views regarding progress made. In Fronter, this shows up as a very visual signal on the goal tool, i.e. – the yellow pupil evaluation is far adrift in the ‘I can’ goal sequence from the blue colour block of the teacher’s evaluation – and immediately alerts the teacher to the fact that a discussion might be useful.

Fronter goal tool

More info

To find more info about how the goal tool can work in Fronter, follow these links:

 http://www.fronter.co.uk/teachers/set-goals-for-learning-objectives ;  or,  http://help.fronter.com/en/fronter/index.php/Goals

For London schools who would like a trainer/consultant to visit school (free of charge) to talk through the using the goal tool in school, please contact Fronter at training.pearsonfronter@pearson.com.

For schools outside of London who would like a free webinar on the topic of setting up and using goals for tracking learning, please contact training.pearsonfronter@pearson.com.

Coming up next time

Fronter goals are just one of many tools for busy teachers to track pupils’ progress towards their personal learning outcomes.  In the next blog post in this mini-series about setting, tracking and measuring learning outcomes, I’ll be sharing some thoughts and observations about schools which use a range of other Fronter tools in their everyday practice to support teachers teaching and learners learning.

Don’t forget – I’ll be pleased to hear your thoughts about Fronter and learning outcomes, so do get in touch via the blog comment box or on Twitter.

Jane Harris
@virtualjane

 

Teachers teaching and learners learning

Fronter and Learning Outcomes – an Introduction

The Fronter VLE is all about helping teachers to teach and learners to learn. Always has been. Always will be. So, when I was asked to write a series blog posts about Fronter and Learning Outcomes (LOs)  I thought, ‘LO LO’ ( think about it) and went back to first principles.

When I was at uni training to become a teacher in an age so distant that Noah and the Flood were still recent history, the thing the lecturers drilled into us ad nauseum was to set lesson aims and objectives. Every lesson. No exceptions. From the overarching lesson aims,  lesson objectives would flow;  together these would form the structure of the lesson and predict the Learning Outcomes  to be achieved by pupils – ie,  what we as teachers expected the pupils to learn /achieve/ understand by the end of the lesson.

These days,  lesson aims and objectives still revolve around Learning Outcomes.  Many teachers use the method of putting Learning Outcomes into ‘I can…’ statements, which works well, particularly for primary pupils, and which can apply to longer term topics or schemes of work rather than just one off lessons.

Afterwards, the teacher and pupil can look back and agree whether the pupil did actually learn any outcomes aligned to aims and objectives (or not.) This is easy to say, but often hard to do in a busy working week/term/year – and this is where Fronter comes in.

Basketball players

With Fronter, goals can be created, edited, recorded and tracked easily. So the business of setting lesson aims and objectives can be aligned with personalised Learning Outcomes in the form of goals, which may be created, viewed, commented and tracked in both the goal tool,  and / or the ILP tool.

For example; the goal tool can be managed by individual class teachers in their own virtual classrooms in Fronter:

eco room screen shot

All in the left hand nav bar: goals, portfolio and assignment tools  work together to give teacher and pupil an ongoing record of progress

Or, goals can be managed by Fronter administrators who can create a large, structured bank of learning goals, behaviour goals, ‘I can’ goals, or any sort of goals,  in the admin area and make them available for staff to draw on when and as they need them. All of these goals can be set up as Learning Outcomes and can be aligned to any curriculum area. The goals can then be given for individual pupils, small groups, whole class or year groups.  The teacher can decide where and how the pupil will see the goal, maybe with a discussion or a piece of homework, and can allow (or not) pupil comments.

create new goal

Simply tick the self-evaluation box for pupils to be able to add their own commentary to their own progress.

A goal is easy to set up, and once filled in with say, a series of ‘I can..’ statements, would look like this:

I can Learning Outcomes on a goal based Learning Ladder

An example of ‘I can…’ goals arranged in a series, to support the new computing curriculum

In the next blog post in this series, we will have a closer look at how goals can be used in various classroom situations to capture Learning Outcomes.

For now, if you want to have a look at goals in action for yourself, log into a guest (read only) account:

http://www.fronter.com/ukusers,

Primary userid: pguest, passsword fronter

Secondary userid:  sguest, password fronter

PS: As well as the exploring the goal tool, future installments will also include a look at how Learning Outcomes  work with Fronter’s Individual Learning Plan (ILP) tool,  and some examples of how teachers are using Fronter to support management of Learning Outcomes, and perhaps more importantly how pupils use Fronter to achieve their Learning Outcomes.

Jane Harris  @virtualjane
Head of Education
Pearson Fronter

I’m looking to start a school newspaper…

Fronter is ideal for school newspapers. Why not create a ‘Newsroom’ and use the ‘news’ tool to update everyone. Once you’ve created the room you will need to add all of your members to it, you’ll then be able to publish items to all members in one go; you could also use the shared documents which would allow groups to work together on content.

You could then turn the ‘Today’ page into a virtual newspaper if you enable the ‘news’ element on this page for users.

Content authors can work together using a number of different Fronter tools, such as Forums, Collaborate, Surveys, Calendar and Vote.

To help you get the most out of your newspaper we have a number of different training opportunities which include everything from how to create a new room through to how to get the best from the tools you may decide to use within it:

Collaborate webinar
Making Use of Forums webinar
Basic Room Management webinar

Events page