Making leaps and bounds with our Frog Primary learning platform
When our school first began looking for a new learning platform, two of the main things on the wish list were that it would be easy for staff to use, and that it would engage the children and make them want to use it.
From previous experience with learning platforms I knew that, unless it was easy to use, the teachers wouldn’t use it. The engagement and interest from the children will never be there unless the teacher is able to use and update the learning platform to fit in with teaching.
When I first saw Frog I could see that it would get the interest of the children straight away with the different themes and simple eye catching menus that made it easy to find your way around.
Keeping children engaged
My worry was that these would only sustain the childrens’ interest for a short while and that the teachers would need to put things onto Frog in order to keep the children engaged. After a 20 minute demonstration my worries were put to rest.
I was introduced to the Widget Tray where all manner of different features can be added to the page by simply dragging it onto the page and arranging it how you wanted to. Videos, photos, sections of text, announcements, you name it and it was there ready to use.
Easy to use
The simplicity of the widgets and the way the pages were constructed fitted perfectly into the idea I had for a learning platform that all staff could use. If staff were skilled ICT users then there were ways of making the page even more impressive, but equally, the staff who feel they are not so skilled can make a simple yet effective page for their class to use.
We began at the beginning of this year and the feedback and response from staff has been very positive. All forms of communication in school are now done on Frog. The staff room displays a news and diary page from Frog on two separate monitors so that staff can keep up to date with everything easily.
The feedback from this alone has made me realise I have made the right choice. Classroom support staff have told me that at first they didn’t understand why we needed a change but now they feel more informed and that it is more effective than before. Visiting staff who teach music and PE have told me that they like being able to come in and easily see if there is anything that might affect their lessons happening in school and that of all the schools they visited it was the best system they had seen.
Making learning more exciting
The pupil engagement on Frog came pretty easily thanks to some really enthusiastic staff. The teachers in school are always eager to find ways of getting children engaged in school and Frog allowed them to do this. There are some really exciting things happening on the class sites that have the children logging on to find out more.
One of our Year 5 teachers has added a ‘Top Ten’ section where he posts the top ten spellers and mental maths pupils each week. In the first half term of him doing this his class site had received over 800 views. The children can then comment on their progress or ask the teacher for more support so that they can get higher on the leader board.
In Year 6 I have worked with children to produce videos and sound recordings that have easily been posted on Frog. Using the widgets this is a short and painless task that when done once, becomes quite addictive and I found myself adding different videos and sound clips weekly to showcase their work.
In a recent survey I did with the children I found that 90 percent of them go home and show their family the work they have done on Frog and that they love being able comment on each others’ work. I have recently started a new feature on our Frog site called FrogTube. This is a place where videos can be added and shared with the entire school community. One example is a class rap that a group of children wrote and videoed. We put it on FrogTube and so far have had a great response from the children.
The most exciting thing for me is the ideas the children have for Frog and how it keeps growing. For a while I felt that it was getting too big but I now have a team of Frog Champions made up of Year 5 and 6 children who help to train and support other children in school. Their ideas are amazing and I can’t see any limits to where Frog can go in the school. I am sure that other learning platforms could create the same buzz and excitement but the ease of use and simplicity to Frog make me believe I made the right choice.