domingo, 27 de junho de 2010

Qualidade do uso dos ambientes virtuais de aprendizagem

Becta's Schools website publica uma interessante reflexão sobre a qualidade do uso dos ambientes virtuais de aprendizagem. Apresento um resumo das principais preocupações do site.

Make the best use of your learning platform

The following are some of the main areas you will need to consider when developing the use of your learning platform. Within these pages you will find video case studies, including commentaries by senior leaders about their approaches:

Learning platform challenges: Monitoring and Assessment

Learning platforms are ideal for monitoring and assessing the progress of individual pupils, or the whole class. Students can also use the learning platform for self-assessment. Teachers can use student feedback to review understanding and inform lesson planning.

Independent research has shown that where schools are making good use of institutional technologies, such as their learning platforms, they can provide more effective tutorial support between teacher and student. In this film we see how three very different schools have used their learning platforms to:

•support student self-assessment
•develop speaking and analytical skills
•extend teaching and learning opportunities.

Staff feedback

"With a forum everybody has to participate. It means that I can assess the quieter ones as well. Since I started using the forums their speaking and analytical skills have developed immensely."
Gail Jones, Faculty Leader Technology and E-learning, Broadgreen International school

"Some students who don’t feel confident enough to ask a teacher for help in class can use the self-assessment to say, 'Look, I’m really struggling with this,' without having actually to put their hand up."

"Teachers can see graphs and charts for the class. They can see when students are not confident. And they can give support to students where needed."
Simon Thompson, Assistant Headteacher, Monkseaton High School

"It’s more personalised learning because it’s the teacher and the pupil together, not really but virtually. So, it liberates the teacher to do other things with the precious time you have in the classroom, which is three hours a week only."
Christine Bodin, French teacher, Notre Dame Catholic High school

"Two big differences come about by using a learning platform in modern foreign languages. One is allowing the children to work at a time and place that suits them. Another is having the teacher on pause and rewind and play again."
Paul Haigh, Assistant Headteacher, Notre Dame Catholic High school

Taking comments to heart on homework

Broadgreen International School’s learning platform allows teachers to assign a lesson with homework attached. Teachers can see who has uploaded their work and then use the comment box for advice on any improvements. Teachers find that by giving feedback over the learning platform, students are more likely to resubmit improved work. They simply take the copy they’d saved and amend it according to the comments.

Improving MFL with MP3

Notre Dame Catholic High School has used its learning platform to revolutionise teaching and learning in modern foreign languages (MFL). For instance, pupils can write down a presentation which the French teacher records onto the learning platform. Students listen to the correct pronunciation and then record their own version. The teacher listens to this and can make another MP3 recording to help the student practise anything they’re having problems with.
Students can pause, rewind and listen as many times as they want until they get it right. Although it’s personalised, it doesn’t take long to do and liberates the teacher for the three hours of class contact time per week.

Students assess themselves

At Monkseaton High School, students can use the self assessment tool, which is integrated in with the learning platform. This helps students gauge what know before they start studying a topic. Afterwards, they do the same questions again and can see if there’s been an improvement.
Green means that you’ve improved a lot. Amber, a little bit and red means you’ve stayed the same. Students use this to aid revision. They know they are fine with greens and can concentrate on ambers and reds.
Only the student and subject teacher can see the colours. The student can ask the teacher for help on anything they’re struggling with. And the teacher can see if anyone needs any support.

Students rate their homework

When pupils at Broadgreen International School upload their work onto the learning platform, they get asked to colour code it to show how well they understood it. If one or two individuals didn’t understand a particular topic, the teacher can support them to catch up with the rest of the class. If the whole class, however, are indicating with the red button, the teacher knows they need to go back and review that topic.
Teachers can also get feedback using the forums on the learning platform. Everybody participates, including the quieter ones, and the picks up any misconceptions which they can clear up during lesson time too.

Learning platform challenges: Collaboration

Learning platforms are ideal for increasing and improving collaboration between pupils. Technology allows children to collaborate safely across their school and with partner schools – locally, regionally and internationally.

It has been shown that the safe use of collaboration tools, including social networking through the learning platform, can increase the student’s involvement in the school community, and promotes increased motivation and peer learning. This film highlights how a primary and secondary school have:

•supported learning as a social activity and encourage peer support
•extended learning opportunities through the use of experts
•enabled increased cross-school working.

Staff feedback

"Learning is a social activity. Sometimes the best lessons in class are when students learn off each other, not just off the teacher."

"The collaborative tool starts in the lesson but goes beyond that."
Simon Thompson, Assistant Headteacher, Monkseaton High School

"One of the really interesting angles about the learning platform is how we can work together across schools, which is something we couldn’t do before."
Wendy Carter, Outreach Co-ordinator, Myton School

Asking for help

New Invention Junior School has a ‘homework help’ discussion forum on its learning platform. Children use this to ask each other questions if they get stuck on their homework.
It’s a peer tutoring tool, so children take sole responsibility for asking and answering each other’s questions. ‘Homework Help’ has increased pupils confidence to have a go at tasks because they know there’s a support mechanism if they’re unsure.
“It’s a bit like having your friends at home and you can just ask them things and they can help you,” says Megan, a New Invention pupil.

Sharing the secrets of success in using wikis

St Anthony’s Junior School linked up with a partner school several miles away to create a virtual guide to their region. For eight weeks, the teachers taught as if they were secret agents trying to find out information. They set up a ‘Spy kids’ area on their learning platform so children could communicate safely with each other.
The schools used Google Earth to locate their partner school and used the learning platform to ask each other questions about their local area. They did surveys, produced graphs of the answers and used these for maths. They produced wikis with five things they did in their class and compared these. They posted digital photos from local walks and eventually produced a virtual guidebook for their areas.
“We were all enjoying it and we found it more fun because you can interact with other people and make new friends,” says Declan, a pupil at St Anthony’s.

Learning about learning in China

Clinton Primary School pupils are learning Mandarin, from reception to Year 3. They also have a good understanding of the culture and learning in one of China’s fastest growing regions, Shenzhen. All thanks to the ‘Warwickshire Global Community’ space on the local authority learning platform.
Clinton Primary School partners with Liyuan Primary school and with a little help from the county council’s e-learning advisor, they have worked collaboratively in groups to populate the shared interest space.
Using blogs, wikis, email, messaging and discussion forums, the children have created online diaries commenting on what they’ve done each day. They’ve created videos and reports covering different aspects of school life. And they’ve used the site’s translation software and video clips to learn basic Mandarin vocabulary.

Learning platform challenges: Communication

Learning platforms are ideal for increasing and improving communications between:
schools and students
schools and

Integrated technologies provide new, fast ways of communicating to a wide range of stakeholders including, staff, pupils and parents enabling a greater insight to the work and ethos of the school. In this film three schools have used communication tools in the learning platform to:

•ensure continuity of learning for pupils unable to attend school
•strengthen links between teachers and parents
•encourage pupil voice and involve the whole school community
•increase the possibilities for one-to-one feedback between pupils and staff.

Staff feedback

"The main benefits that we find of having the learning platform is the, literally, anytime, anywhere learning."
Gail Jones, Faculty Leader Technology and E-learning, Broadgreen International School

The learning platform, actually, has revolutionised the way we communicate with one another across the school. There's much more one-to-one feedback between student and teacher on a forum or through e-mail."

"If there's something that we're really keen to get the student voice feedback on, we can put a quick questionnaire at the front of the VLE."
Rachel Jones, Head of Teaching and Learning, Halifax High School

"The link between teachers and parents has been strengthened by the learning platform because when we phone home or when they come in for parents' evening they’ve got a greater understanding of what their child’s been doing."
Julia Pollard, Head of E-learning, Halifax High School

Reaching every student in a large school

Halifax High School is too big to get all students together for assembly. It uses its learning platform to set the agenda instead. When they want students to engage with an issue, they put it on the front page of their VLE (virtual learning environment). Students can only get to other resources once they’ve used what’s on the homepage. This may be a questionnaire to complete, a video to watch or a podcast to download.
The students see this as a powerful tool for their communications on a topic, e.g. globalisation. They are always keen to raise awareness and inform their peers by posting pictures and videos.

Keeping absent pupils up-to-speed

Broadgreen International School uses its learning platform to help students stay up-to-date with schoolwork when they can’t make it into school. Jessica, a Year 11 pupil, was off school with a broken hip, but could follow lessons and complete homework using the learning platform. If she had a problem, she could message her teachers.
Boris used it to prepare for his exams when he went back home to Slovakia during the holidays. Instead of playing catch-up, the learning platform allows absent pupils to carry on as normal when they come back to school.

Reintegrating excluded students

Springhill High School uses its learning platform to reintroduce excluded students gradually back into lessons and homework before physically returning to school. They can log on at the community centre, or at home, and do the same work as others in the classroom. Teachers can see the work they’ve saved in their files.
Parents can see their work and know that their child isn’t missing out on their education. When the students are up- to-speed with numeracy and literacy skills, the school starts to reintegrate them. There are very few excluded children in the school now.

Pictures lead to better conversations with parents

Halifax High School has also strengthened its relationships with parents by communicating with them over the learning platform. They regularly upload pictures and videos to the VLE and students are always keen to share these with parents. Parents who can’t attend sports days, for example, can see and talk about what’s been happening and still feel part of it.
When the school phones home or parents come in for parents’ evening, they have a greater understanding of what their child’s been doing.

Increased efficiency for staff and governors

Staff at Invicta use their learning platform for keeping documents e.g. edited versions of letter to parents, in one central point. It saves a lot of duplication. They’ve also enhanced their school management and administration with live data on timetabling. An online room booking system is also available and updating data on the portal is easy, with individuals responsible for doing different parts.
Similarly, the governors’ portal on the school’s learning platform keeps school policies and documents in one place. Governors can also monitor school work more easily, making it easier for them in their role as critical friends.

Learning platform challenges: Engaging parents

It has been shown that engaging parents in their child’s learning has contributed to reducing unauthorised absence and increasing motivation for learning. The secure communication of information through the learning platform to parents/carers is enabling schools and families to work closer together. These three examples show how schools in different phases have used technology to build on existing school practice by:

•sharing learning and data with parents in a safe and secure way so they have a greater understanding of their child’s progress
•providing opportunities for extending learning outside the classroom with extension and consolidation activities
•developing parents as partners in their child’s education.

Staff feedback

"The learning platform is a way of showing them what their children are learning and giving them ideas of ways to extend or consolidate what the children are doing."
Darren Gamble, Deputy Headteacher, Lingfield Primary School

"Starting school is such a big thing and every parent is always anxious because when they go home, the children will say they’ve done nothing all day and they’ve played with no-one. Now, they can go on to the learning platform. So it just reassures them and if parents are happy, children are happy and learning then really takes place."
Becky Greenhalgh, Headteacher, Horndean Infant School

"Our parents can access the learning platform here at Broadgreen. There are areas to the learning platform which anybody can see and then we have the real secure data that is only for them to see and on that they can access their children’s results, progress grades, attendance data, including punctuality, and so on."
Peter Banks, Assistant Headteacher, Broadgreen International School

"This online reporting system is particularly attractive to the parents of our pupils from overseas, who might be a little nervous about meeting teachers. Being able to have a picture of how their child has settled down in school means that when they do come up to the school, they already are in possession of information which will give them the confidence to engage in discussion with teachers and to ask the appropriate questions."
John McCann, EAL Co-ordinator, Broadgreen International School

Learning platform challenges: Organisation and development

The more staff use learning platforms, the more confident they will become. Here are some ideas to give staff a good reason to experiment with your learning platform.

Research shows that the effective integration of learning platform and management information technologies support the efficient use of staff time in their day-to-day work. It also enhances the leadership and management of schools and in this film you can see how some schools are using their learning platforms for this purpose by:

•using a virtual staffroom to communicate with all the staff
•helping teachers to share work, resources and avoid duplication of effort
•improving the monitoring and accountability.

Staff feedback

"Our virtual staffroom is a secure part of our learning platform where our teachers can store and share resources. Our school calendar is on there. They share information about courses that they’ve been on. They can report technical faults to our ICT technician. It’s a place that they can access anytime, anywhere."

"One of the advantages of having an online file store is accountability. Our literacy subject leader can look at planning and assessment data across the school. And everybody has access to the materials that they need, when they need it."
Darren Gamble, Deputy Headteacher, Lingfield Primary School

"Each meeting generates lots of paperwork and the beauty of this system is that we can have a permanent online record, print it off only when we need it and it’s always there to refer to if we ever mislay things."
Malcolm Carling, Chair of Governors, Lingfield Primary School

"There is a whole range of material on the ‘Learning Lounge’. We’ve got links to other websites that might be appropriate, case studies. If we’re having a particular focus on one piece of pedagogy then we can have a forum that’s active for a month, say, and that enables quite a vibrant discussion across the teaching staff. "
Rachel Jones, Head of Teaching and Learning, Halifax High School

"Teachers in primary schools don’t have an extensive knowledge of the methodology behind language teaching as they are not trained specialists. So the resources that we produce, we then locate on the platform for them to use and there’s a forum that they can access, either to ask us questions or to share problems between themselves."
Tony Kirby, Modern Foreign Languages Teacher, Halifax High School

Essential processes online only

Halifax High School launched its learning platform to staff with training that focused on ten easy things you can do with a learning platform, like email. They also made some essential processes in school go through the learning platform. For instance, to book the minibus, book the library, or report an IT fault, staff had to do it online. Having a reason to use the learning platform got them using it really quickly. After that, there was no stopping them.

Learning from your peers

Myton School trained one person in every department. They would go back to their departments and talk about what they wanted in terms of resources. The technical side of it was done by somebody outside of the department. Once the areas started getting populated and they got really interested, they would say, “Well can you show me how to do this part?” or “Can I do that bit myself?” Now half of all departments create major parts of the learning platform themselves.
Similarly, Monkseaton High School started by telling staff just to have ‘a little play with it’. A lot of staff found new tools and there was a buzz around the staff room. They say, “Guess what I’ve found” and then share that. Some staff didn’t want to be left behind so would ask colleagues to show them how to do things. Again, it wasn’t ‘You must do this’, rather ‘Here’s a great tool, use it’. And staff did.

Encouraging pester power

A handful of staff were really enthusiastic about using Springhill High School’s new learning platform. They quickly started using it and children then started pestering staff who didn’t. They’d say Mr so-and-so…or Miss so-and-so is doing this, that and the other. How come you’re not doing it? Curiosity kicked in - if the kids thought a lesson was so good, other teachers thought they’d take a look at the learning platform. A number of other people came on board fairly quickly that way.

Cash incentives and intuitive learning

To get the foundations right, Notre Dame Catholic High School appointed five curriculum innovator posts and offered each a bursary of £1500. They developed some new practice for the learning platform and at the end of the year shared it with all the staff through a workshop presented on an INSET day. Their good practice laid the foundations for the strength they’ve now got right across the school with learning platforms.
The school also believes in making sure the learning platform is as intuitive as using an online airline system. If a tool is too difficult for someone to get their head round in a few minutes use, it’s the wrong tool. They also recommend having a non-teaching post for giving teachers peer-to-peer support on the learning platform functions.

Virtual professional development

Halifax High School has a ‘Learning Lounge’ on its learning platform. There’s a whole range of materials, with links to other websites and case studies. If they’re having a particular focus on one piece of pedagogy, they might have a forum that’s active for a month. The forums enable vibrant discussion across the teaching staff.
They’ve also had students leading teacher training in the area of e-learning. The training’s filmed with video clips that staff can access even if they weren’t in the session. They also use the learning platform to pass on knowledge, particularly in language teaching, to teachers in primary schools in their wider community.

Learning platform challenges: Personalisation

Learning platforms are ideal for personalising learning, and for being personalised to suit your learners.

Learning platform technologies are being used to increase opportunities for independent and personalised learning. The technology in each school is used to support teachers and learners to access resources in ways that best fit their needs, leading to:

•increased student choice of learning materials they felt best suited their interests and needs
•an enhanced range of options available to students, in terms of engaging with and completing their school work
•increased student control of learning, enabling them to work at their own pace.

Staff feedback

"All of our children have grown up in a very media-rich environment. We can’t afford to have children being given a very dull diet. We need a way of delivering something that engages the kids and gets them wanting to learn."

"When we took another look at the learning platform about twelve months ago I thought, well, the real problem with this is there’s nothing really that would make a child want to visit the website. So we brought in a number of students and we got them to look at a complete rebuild of the platform."

"They wanted an area of the platform where children were able to communicate with each other to help each other with things like homework. They were talking about being able to showcase their work to other students, to parents and prospective employers. They wanted forums. They wanted social networks. So, we’re talking about personalisation in terms of the children being able to create a website that works for them."
John Buchanan, Deputy Headteacher, Springhill High School

"Each child, at the end of that lesson, gets an individual target set by the teacher based on work they’ve done. That points out certain areas where children need development."

"There’s a certain group of children who don’t necessarily contribute very often in class but do contribute online. So things like the learning videos recap the main teaching points. The children can then look at it again at their own pace, in their own time."

"You’re setting targets for the children to make them better writers or readers or mathematicians. So there’s a wiki set up, with each of their names underneath it and we ask them to find a key target then find a website that helps them achieve their target and then paste that web address into their wiki. So over time, you’ll have a bank of websites that really address the things that they keep getting wrong. Generally, children pick websites that they find motivating or fun and if they can learn that whilst having fun then even better."
Matthew Bradbury, Deputy Headteacher, St. Anthony’s Junior School

"We’ve just moved into this fantastic new school and it took a week to move everything across. So, although the school was actually closed for a week, their learning was not interrupted at all. Students worked all week from the learning platform."

"At Monkseaton it’s not just about the academic progress. We’ve invested in a fitness machine so we can personalise the fitness or health programme within that for each student."
Simon Thompson, Assistant Headteacher, Monkseaton High School

No age restrictions

Students at Invicta can take their exams when they are ready. Students study in vertical groups. So some students will take their AS-levels in Year 11 but study alongside Year 12 and 13s.
When students go to the learning gateway, they access appropriate learning for them at that level. Material isn’t restricted by year group. Providing resources, homework, class presentations and other materials on the learning platform enables learners to select resources that suit their learning style, and develop ownership of their learning path.
Likewise, students at Monkseaton High School can use their learning platform to study for exams years early. Their maths website, for instance, is broken down into weeks, with all the resources online. Gifted pupils can work ahead of their peers and contact the teacher if they don’t understand anything.

Not restricted to academic work

At Monkseaton, it’s not just academic progress that’s supported by the learning platform. The school’s invested in a fitness machine so they can personalise the fitness or health programme for each student.
The fitness machine tests and tells pupils what they need to improve. It provides a personal training programme which staff use to set personalised targets. Each child can access their own data and can track and compare their results. Using the technology to improve fitness, gives them a bit of an edge over teams at the same level. This is very important for competitiveness.

Letting students personalise the learning platform

The deputy head at Springhill High School wanted to make their learning platform more interactive and appealing to students. He wanted pupils to be able to work at their own pace.
So, he brought in a number of students and got them to look at a complete rebuild. He wanted the children to create a website that would work for them. They wanted an area of the platform where they could communicate with each other and help each other with things like homework. They wanted to be able to showcase their work to other students, to parents and prospective employers. They wanted forums. They wanted social networks.
The school has worked with a professional website designer to personalise the learning platform, in line with the children’s wishes and after talking with each department head.

Learning platform challenges: Pupil voice

Learning platforms are ideal for engaging and motivating students:
- at school and at times when they can’t get into school
- for individual and whole school benefit.

Integrated technologies provide opportunities for increased pupil involvement in the school community. It also raises the quality of engagement for most pupils regardless of their age or phase. This film demonstrates new ways of engaging with pupils using the learning platform for:

•whole school involvement in developments
•increased confidence of pupils
•developing greater ownership and team work within the school.

Staff feedback

"It’s really important, even though I’m in an infant school, that we listen to what children feel is important and that they have a voice."

"The school council have set up a forum on the learning platform.At the moment they’ve got the courtyard issue - it’s boring and they want to make it much better. They’ve taken part in an assembly to ask children to put in their views - what was wrong with it and what they would have liked to have seen in there. And the school council will then collate all of those and then come to me."

"That’s the real power of the learning platform. It gives everybody the opportunity to make a contribution. So those children who are normally quieter have an opportunity to share their thoughts. It’s getting all the children involved."
Becky Greenhalgh, Headteacher, HorndeanInfant School

"Unless we listen to our children, we can’t enable them to learn properly. The learning platform provides a medium that they feel comfortable with."

"We’d always provided opportunities for children to share their worries with worry boxes in classrooms but staff had noticed that some children had not put notes in the worry box because they were scared of what their peers might say. So some staff came up with the idea of having a private discussion forum where, at any time, either at home or in school, they could share their worries."

"We’re now trying to take pupil voice one stage further by allowing children to take digital footage in the home, download it on to the platform and share that information as part of their home page. In this way, we can build on the learning that children have got outside school."
Anne Tyler, Headteacher, New Invention Junior School

"We have a ‘Sorry Box’ on our class area. If pupils had said or done something that they regretted, they could post a ‘sorry’ on there. Whereas the pupils might not necessarily have gone face-to-face to admit it, they felt that there was that barrier taken down if they could just write it."
Kathryn Taylor, Teacher, New Invention Junior School

"When pupil voice is successful, actually, what happens is the students start to come up with the ideas themselves and they start to lead the initiatives themselves, which is really what’s happened with the learning platform. The students arenow running some of the elements of the learning platform."
Rachel Jones, Head of Teaching and Learning, Halifax High School

"The greatest impact of all of our students getting involved is the confidence that it gives them, the leadership skills that develop and their sense of teamwork and responsibility for things."
Julia Pollard, Head of E-learning, Halifax High School

Boosting morale with bricks

Halifax High School was suffering a sense of low morale after some relatively negative press. They decided to increase student voice with ‘bricks’. Every time students logged onto the learning platform, they were greeted with a comments box with ‘Halifax High is a school to be proud of because..’ Students had to complete the sentence before going through to the learning platform.
They had over a thousand entries. All the bricks were printed off and displayed around the school. It really changed the atmosphere of the school, and the whole positivity came back. The school extended that feeling by filming students reading out their own bricks. The videos are on the learning platform and have been used in staff training and assemblies to bring the community together.

Learning when school is forced to close

When Monkseaton High School moved into a new school, they knew it would take a week to move everything across. They had to cancel lessons for a week, but were fully prepared for it. Months in advance, they set things up on the learning platform.
They told parents and students they’d be working from home that week. Each student had all the links to all the learning resources and work they had to complete and submit. They knew they could still communicate with their teachers if they were really stuck, or email each other.
Most students worked from home or went to each other’s house. They accessed the learning platform and did all the work they needed to do for that week. Their learning was not interrupted by the school’s closure.

Learning platform challenges: Transformation

Learning platform technologies encourage improvement through curriculum innovation. Working online allows staff to work together to enhance each others resources and make learning relevant to the pupils. In this film you will see innovative ways of working that:

•increase student interest in subjects extending learning beyond the classroom
•use shared spaces where subjects and activities can be showcased
•extend the quality, range and relevance of teaching and learning resources.

Staff feedback

"The learning platform has made a huge impact the way we teach throughout the curriculum. We’ve been able to put up a variety of resources - videos and sound files - which engage the children both in school and out of school. We’ve made it more interactive."
Hannah Knight, Teacher, Horndean Infant School

"What we’re seeing more and more, as a result of the development of the learning platform, is that teachers and students are beginning to change the way in which they interact with one another."
John Buchanan, Deputy Headteacher, Springhill High School

"You can make things more entertaining. So one of the things I did was start to make short videos, podcasts I suppose, video podcasts looking at the basics of music. One of the things I came up with was a game where the pupils would have to find the right place to put notes on the stave. And I found out they were playing it from home. And their learning has just shot through the roof."
Carl Eden, Teacher, Springhill High School

"We can share live data and give access to archives of data and it’s not just spreadsheets of temperature and rainfall, it’s banks of video and photographs. Children can access learning platform for anytime, anywhere learning."
Paul Haigh, Assistant Headteacher, Notre Dame Catholic High School

Learning platform challenges: Transition

Learning platforms are ideal for easing the transition between schools. Instead of being an issue, it can become a much more positive experience.

Transition of pupils is a major issue for any school. This film demonstrates how schools are using technology to provide support for pupils as they move between establishments. The film covers the transition between infant to junior as well as from junior to secondary school. The learning platform provides opportunities to make sure the pupils feel:

•more confident and reassured when going to a new school
•there are increased opportunities, continuity of learning and sharing of information.

Staff feedback

"New Invention is a stand-alone junior school, so transition is a major issue for us, not merely for Year 6, but also between Year 2 and 3. The learning platform has provided us with ways for children to start communicating before they transfer."

"We feed to many, many different secondary schools. Primary schools who also feed to these schools share a similar learning platform. So there was a medium to get discussion going between children in different schools before they transferred, to establish friendshipsbetween children who may be moving with only one or two friends to a new school."
Anne Tyler, Headteacher, New Invention Junior School

"It became obvious that we should use the expertise from our Year 7s to inform our Year 6s. The learning platform is helping them to understand exactly what goes on in secondary school."
Darren Gamble, Deputy Headteacher, Lingfield Primary School

"By developing the transition site on the learning platform, we’re trying to give them a flavour of the school before they get here, so it doesn’t seem quite so frightening."
Wendy Carter, Outreach Co-ordinator, Myton School

From infants to junior

New Invention is a stand-alone junior school and uses a blog on its learning platform to help create a link between staff and new pupils. Children can log into the website, view the work that Year 3 do and communicate with their new teacher via the blog.
One pupil, Simran, used the blog to ask questions about the lessons and says, “Mr Biddlestone answered my questions and it made me feel much better. I felt like I’m gonna be OK and it’s not gonna be a problem anymore.”

Finding secondary friends at junior school

New Invention Junior School and other local primaries also feed into many different secondary schools. They all have the same learning platform and are using it to prepare pupils for the move up to secondary school.
New Invention pupils can find other children who are going to the same secondary school. They can make contact over the learning platform, asks each other questions and establish friendships before they start the new school. It’s especially helpful if only one or two children are going on to a particular school.

Peer support from Year 7s

Year 7 pupils who’ve moved to different secondary schools from Lingfield Primary School are now helping Year 6 Lingfield pupils make their move. The school has set up a blog on its learning platform where the Year 6s can ask Year 7s what it’s like in their new school.
Year 6s get a good understanding of what it’s like in the new school – from their peers’ point of view. This is something they really appreciate and value. The children feel confident about the transition and also know they will have a buddy when they get there.

Collaborative learning to help transition

Hurley Primary School has good links with Kingsbury School and used maths as part of its transition process. The secondary children devised maths challenges for the Year 6 children. Hurley pupils linked up with Kingsbury Year 7s using discussion groups on the learning platform. As well as sampling secondary maths, they were able to ask about their new school and what to expect.

Welcoming juniors into secondary

Myton School has developed a transition site on its learning platform to give new pupils a flavour of the school before they get there. New pupils can access the area up until they arrive, and for the first few weeks after starting.
The site features all sorts of information, including advice on making friends and avoiding bullies. The plan is to enable Year 6s to communicate with Year 7s and their new teachers via the learning platform.

Learning platform challenges: Extending the classroom

Learning platforms are ideal for extending learning beyond the classroom and for:
-using external expertise
-learning anywhere anytime
- involving the wider school community.

A poet in each school

Myton School is a secondary school that reaches out to primary schools using its learning platform. They introduced the concept of working together by inviting a local poet into school. They made a video of her giving tips on how to write a good poem. They posted this on the learning platform and started a ‘Write your own poetry blog’.
Children from different schools now use this to read poems, comment on them and post their own poetry. The poet can also access the learning platform from home and give pupils guidance on their writing.

Preparing for SATs down under

Eastlands Primary School has an area on its learning platform to help pupils revising for SATs. Children work in pairs. The first child sets work and uploads it to the learning platform. The second child completes this online and the first child marks their work. Children can also add comments and tips they think will be helpful to their peers.
Using the learning platform for revision was particularly useful for one pupil travelling to Australia prior to the tests. She could receive her work and do it online. And, keep in touch with her classmates by logging on, seeing their messages and updating her travel diary.

Learning at home

Lingfield Primary School uses its learning platform to engage parents in learning. Every teacher places materials, photos, resources or video clips on the class page so parents can see what their children have been doing. The school also gives parents ideas of ways to consolidate or extend this learning out of school.
Parents log in with a password and can see class work and their child’s individual portfolio. By talking with their child about schoolwork, parents are reinforcing communication skills, too.

Involving the whole school community

All Saints C of E Junior School invited parents, local authority representatives and other schools along to its open day. The children acted as guides around the system and enthusiastically demonstrated their confidence and proficiency in using it.
Knowing it’s safe, parents are happy with their children working on the learning platform during the school holidays. Parents and the PTA are being trained to use the learning platform to support their children with homework. The school has set up a cluster portal to share information with other schools. They are also using the learning platform to support transition – for pupils and parents - to secondary school.

Postado em 27 de junho de 2010 por Joao Jose Saraiva da Fonseca

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