The Frog Blog

Recent events have caused schools around the world to find changes in the way they work.


For many Frog schools, moving to a virtual school model of operation is nothing new. Frog works with schools around the world and our community has encountered closure through everything from natural disasters, to severe weather patterns and even social upheaval.

Business continuity planning means not just finding new ways to facilitate learning but finding ways to keep the whole school running. Here we are sharing some of the ways in which schools use Frog to carry on with business when the world closes down...

 

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Home Learning - North Lakes
May 14, 2020, 7:45 AM

It is strange how the summer term has started yet schools remain closed. However, at North Lakes School, like so many others, we are continuing to work hard to ensure that all of our children receive the learning they need at home.  

Teachers have been providing daily online learning resources via our “Frog” Virtual Learning Environment.  There are numerous activities to help keep everyone engaged and motivated, from setting daily assignments to uploading fun pictures to class timelines.  Activities are developing and embedding skills taught throughout the year and encouraging children to be inquisitive.  Both children and staff are busy monitoring progress and interacting with the children in their class.

Pupil feedback...


Noah, in Year 5, wrote:


“Home learning has been a massive change for my daily life. At first, I struggled with the change and missed school massively. Now that I am in the routine of logging into Frog every day, I can keep in touch with what everyone is doing, and it is not so bad really. I have just received a Bronze Froggies award for my Online Learning!

All my teachers must be working very, very hard to get all our assignments organised, and keeping in touch with us on our timelines – it’s great to be able to keep in touch with my classmates and friends throughout the school”

The children are enjoying logging on to “Frog” daily, earning team points for their school team and checking the daily Froggie awards and certificates. The staff at North Lakes understand that this change in conditions is a very difficult time for all children. Teachers are setting creative activities, fun photo challenges as well as exercise challenges on their timelines. They are encouraging the children to look after their sunflowers linked to the school campaign #NLSSTANDTOGETHER.

Lola, in Year 5, who is a member of Elterwater class, would agree that even though she is finding it difficult to learn from home, she is enjoying the use of the timeline throughout the different classrooms. She also believes that many children would agree that the assignments and online activities like Charanga YuMu are really helping them keep on track.

At North Lakes, we enjoy learning together, whether it is online or at school. We aim to achieve our best and continue to support our children the best we can.

 

North Lakes School has also produced a free Home Learning Links site for families which is available free to any reader.  It contains free, safe links to help promote home learning and also includes advice and tips for Online Safety for parents and children.

It is available from this link:

Home Learning



Virtually Open
May 4, 2020, 3:53 PM

The Edron Academy, Mexico City

Three years ago, Mexico City suffered a massive earthquake and schools were closed for several weeks. Frog Education gave The Edron Academy its virtual school, a powerful platform for teachers, students and parents called Edron Home Learning.

In building this platform, three elements were vital for effective, extended learning:

  • Focus on blended learning;
  • Integration of extra-curricular activities;
  • Emphasis on wellbeing.

Blended Solutions Work Best

Pedagogically, Frog is a self-contained virtual sphere and a link to other platforms, enabling a mix of live and recorded lessons, with links to interactive subject software. This keeps learning engaging and varied. Teachers can focus on individual needs by timetabling small group support sessions, using linked video communications software, such as Zoom or Google Meet. Parents can oversee their children’s work without the burdens that home schooling often brings. Online learning must be engaging and effective so as to counter parental perceptions that it is an inferior substitute to traditional schooling.

Keep it moving

Away from school, children become more physically inactive: longer screen time, irregular sleep, and less favourable diets. Without activities and the interaction with friends, the negative effects on health are greater. Isolation breeds frustration and boredom. Lack of contact with classmates and teachers has enduring effects on mood and attitude. And the normal separation of spheres, school and home, suddenly abandoned, invades a child's personal space and sense of freedom.

Frog has helped to construct social solutions of a virtual nature. Edron activity providers give home based exercise which all the family can do. Regular live lessons give Edron children a friendly face and some semblance of school. Duke of Edinburgh has moved online.

Well-being is the way

Whilst the academic and pastoral welfare of children has been the first focus of schools, the needs of parents, teachers and wider staff must not be overlooked. Mindful of the needs of all staff and parents, Frog is used to stage online activities, share useful articles and bring the community together, in parallel with zoned Whats App groups to check on staff wellbeing. All staff have access to professional counselling and full coverage of medical costs. In turn, teachers are stepping forward with sessions, such as Edron Master-Chef and Yoga for staff.

 

Written by,

International Educator

 

Who is Simon O'Grady?
Simon O’Grady is an experienced international school leader. He has worked in five schools on four continents and has led three outstanding British international schools in Egypt, Malaysia and Mexico. He holds three academic degrees, including an MSc in Educational Leadership. He has served as a governor of two UK state schools and is a school inspector with the Independent Schools Inspectorate. He has been a Board Member of COBIS since 2008, with eight years as its treasurer, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

View profile on LinkedIn

Positive changes seen in tech engagement for high school in Greater Manchester
Apr 28, 2020, 8:15 AM

Bedford High School had been using Frog for over 6 years, with mixed success in terms of getting the whole school community to engage with the Virtual Learning Environment. When the closures were announced, they realised the one infrastructure that would remain stable during the challenging times ahead was technology. With a focus on providing  home learning support for their students, Bedford High worked with Frog on a design update of their Parent and Student portals to make them more appealing and user-friendly. 

Preparation and training

The school took fast action ahead of enforced school closures, creating a clear and coherent contingency plan for how their home learning process would work. They placed Frog at the centre of this, with all assigned work to be put through their platform.

All students received refresher training to ensure they knew how to use Frog and guidance was provided for the new virtual home learning process.

The process included the use of FrogSnap as a feedback tool for teachers, enabling them to provide whole-class feedback rather than every student individually.

To ensure parents were well-informed and engaged in the process, Frog Messaging was used to keep them updated.

The impact

"The analytics were showing we had captured the school community's attention as we were seeing a six-fold increase in users."

"We have found that our users have become more accustomed and accomplished with their use of Frog and we are dealing with significantly less technical issues."

Gabriel Calwell Assistant Headteacher

The school is also using Frog to help subject leaders (SL's) to build their refined curricula. A Bedford High School Curriculum site has been devised to ensure SL's upload key resources to support their subject curriculum. This ensures all subject resources are in one place.

Summary of approach

  • Agreed process and roll-out
  • Guidance and support provided
  • Central place for all subject resources
  • Use of communication tool - Frog Messaging - to keep parents informed
  • Curriculum site on Frog for subject leaders to upload key resources

North Lakes School launches The Froggies to boost engagement.
Apr 22, 2020, 7:45 AM

After schools had closed and home learning activities commenced, North Lakes were looking at a way to encourage engagement in addition to the existing school reward system.

The solution needed to be inspiring and visible to all children on their Frog timelines. An idea was surfaced to create an 'Oscars' themed awards which would become known as "The Froggies".

Creating a buzz

In the lead up to Easter, the Frog timelines were adorned with 'coming soon' messages so children and parents became intrigued.

 

Froggies-Tweet

 

The concept

Everyone can be awarded Froggies with 5 different types to collect:

Frog of the Day

Teachers are to recommend a child they believe deserves 'Frog of the Day' through their online learning activity. These are sent to the Online Lead via the messaging system.


Froggies-Awards

Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Froggies

Children can earn these certificates by completing their online activity on Frog. Each week the Online Lead looks at everyone's login information and awards the certificates accordingly.

The Froggies are posted to the child's personal timeline, so it appears as a notification that they can look out for. Their achievement is also posted to the class timeline and the children are encouraged to make a comment on their award.

A dedicated site called The Froggies is a place to view all of the awards that have been issued, like a 'hall of fame'. Children and staff can also share comments here and interact with one another.

Awards are also celebrated on the school's social media channels which is helping to create a real sense of excitement about who can earn a Froggie next. 

In the second week post launch, the school had received 8,000 logins which shows really positive engagement as the idea starts to take off.

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Frog schools are doing amazing things already, which is why we will be asking you to help us help the schools that need it. If you’ve got something useful to pass on then please send it to us so that we can include it on here for others.


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