In light of the GCSE results, are students reaching their potential?

The way that teachers traditionally measure their performance has been by comparison between teachers, departments, and schools based on how many children achieved 5 or more A* to C grades. However, the introduction on Progress 8 will turn this on its head.

Progress 8 is simply a point system based on value added.  It asks what value a school has given to a child’s education and compares the data from their predicted GCSE grade based on their achievements at Key Stage 2 and what they actually achieved at GCSE.

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Since this was proposed it has been optional for schools to take part in the Progress 8 measurement, but from this new academic year it will be mandatory for all schools.

For Frog, it’s imperative to help our schools track progress throughout to be aware of where students are failing and succeeding on a granular scale.  It’s imperative that teachers know where the gaps are in students’ knowledge so that it can be addressed. A negative Progress 8 school will not only highlight poor performance publically, but schools falling below the floor standard will automatically trigger an Ofsted inspection.

If you want to know more about FrogProgress click here, if you want to understand how Progress 8 and Attainment 8 work click here.

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What’s New in the Curie Update (part 2)

As promised, here’s the second instalment of the Curie Release videos. In this action packed segment, we have Graham Quince, our Engagement Consultant and Lucy Evans, Frog’s Chief Customer Officer discussing the updated features of Curie and the Frog Community site.

Graham discusses how your school can make better use of Frog’s features such as the Planner. He goes on to explain how to improve parental engagement, and even how students can choose their GCSE options using Frog. Graham continues to discuss how tutorials and guides have been made available to assist users on the community site.

Lucy talks about the Trump Cards that schools may remember from previous years and how they have been updated, and made available for schools digitally on the community site. The Trump Cards share hundreds of different ways you can use Frog.

As part of the Frog Product Roadshow which was on tour in Gosforth and Halifax in July, we’ve made some short videos for those who couldn’t make it. We’ll be publishing them on the blog throughout the summer break.  Don’t forget to take a look at the first Curie Update video from Ed Clemenston here!

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What’s New in the Curie Update

The first part of the Curie release tutorial video is now online. We have Edd Clemenston, one of our Implementation Consultants discussing the features in the update.   

Edd talks through a few of the new and useful features that Curie delivers, ranging from the calendar, forms, shared folders, and dashboard. The video covers how to give more meaningful and in depth feedback to students’ assignments and how the new feedback stickers are used. Edd also goes on to talk about the new widgets that are available in the Frog platform such as Blank Space and how to link text in the Text widget to files from your Frog Drive. Useful stuff!

To round off this video tutorial Edd shows you some shortcuts that we’ve added into the update to save you time. View the shortcuts on the Frog Community.

The Curie release has dropped and you should have it on your school system now (if not… check with your IT Technician as to why). We’ve had positive feedback about it so far and we’re already on with our next update Dickens, coming your way later this year.

This video is part of the Frog Product Roadshow that was on tour in Gosforth and Halifax in July. We’ve got some more videos from the day available for those who couldn’t make it. We’ll be publishing them on our blog so look out for them over the coming weeks!

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Are you ready for September?

Housekeeping-Banner

If the end of July is a glorious rush for freedom, sunshine and beer gardens, the beginning of September has traditionally been associated with a jarring return to the reality of school life. While it’s not true that teachers and schools shut down entirely over the summer break, much of the housekeeping for the new year will end up taking place in September as bigger technical jobs are prioritised in the summer.

Your list of jobs at the beginning of a school year will look very different depending on whether you are a technical member of staff or whether you are a teacher.

A guide for the Tech Teams

For the techies, the main job you will need to do is to make sure that all your new users and groups are on Frog, and that any existing users and groups have been correctly updated. If your school uses our Extractor then you’re in luck! This process should be as straightforward as waiting for the staff and students start date to arrive in your MIS, and then checking to make sure they have been correctly imported. If your school uses a manual update method then a little more elbow grease is required, and our End of Year site contains a complete guide to what you need to do in both situations.

A guide for FrogLearn Teachers

For teachers, the most important thing you will need to do in September depends on which of our products your school has:

If you’re a FrogLearn school, your main job is to make sure that your sites are ready for your new students and that any assignments from the previous year are tidy. Remember that you might have new students to entice into the wonderful world of Frog this year, and a scruffy platform can be a major obstacle! Can you share out any sites now so that when your students log in for the first time this year, they see the correct year or subject sites? Can you preemptively add some resources or content for your first topic to ignite their interest? Do you have old assignments to clear out or can you add some new assignments for the weeks ahead?

A guide for FrogPlay Teachers

If you’re a FrogPlay school, assignments are your priority. Make sure you’ve closed off any old assignments so you can start the year with a nice, fresh Assignment Manager. You might want to review the quizzes you used last year. Do you still need any you have made? Do any need an update for curriculum changes? Can you assign any quizzes out now and save yourself some time later? Remember that our quizzes are self-marking so you don’t need to log in to mark them, just to check the marks! If you are a FrogPlay standalone school you can now set an assignment to be set again in a few days or weeks, so if you want to test your student’s knowledge right at the start of term, then again in a few weeks’ time, this is possible using our assignment system. This functionality will be available for FrogPlay embed schools in future releases.

A guide for FrogProgress Teachers

If you’re a FrogProgress school, then your tasks are split between your staff members depending on their responsibilities. We recommend that schools review their curriculum every year to find out what worked, what didn’t work, and to make sure that the curriculum is a constantly evolving and relevant beast. If you are responsible for the curriculum in your school, use our new report “Export Curriculum Data by Subject” to make reviewing your existing curriculum super easy. Class teachers will need to set up their new trackers for the new academic year, and more detail on what to expect around year rollover in FrogProgress can be found on our End of Year site.

September can be a really exciting time, and being prepared in Frog will definitely save you time and energy in the brand new term!

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From The Classroom to the Workplace: Sir Robert Pattinson

Sir Robert Pattinson students find out how what they learn at school translates to the workplace!

48 Students from Sir Robert Pattinson Academy in Lincoln descended upon the Frog offices in Halifax on Thursday 7 July to learn about Frog and how what they learn in the classroom is relevant in a real workplace.

The pupils started off with a welcome from Gareth Davies, the Managing Director of Frog, leading to a grilling Q&A session with the students asking about everything Frog and everything Gareth. They also got a chance to meet a range of different members of the team to find out about the varied jobs available in the tech industry.

Sir Robert pic 1Students from Sir Robert Pattinson learning to code

“The day gave me confidence to improve my
use of FROG and I can’t wait to tell the
rest of my form about the day we had”

Year 8 pupil from Sir Robert Pattinson Academy

There were three workshops throughout the day, the first was based around the software design process where the pupils worked with our Product Development Team to design a homework tool. The second workshop focused on the execution of software design where the students learnt and implemented code in HTML and Java Script. Finally, the last workshop was one where ideas on how to improve the platform were discussed, particularly the games and features in FrogPlay.

Sir Rober Pat Pic 2Students from Sir Robert Pattinson mid Q&A session

“I think we should do more talking
about Frog so we can make Frog
better for our Academy”

Year 10 pupil from Sir Robert Pattinson Academy

Rachel Rogers, Head of School Partnerships for Frog said “It was a fantastic opportunity for the pupils to have their say about the developments they would like to see in Frog. It gave us some real insight from the kid’s perspective as to how we can improve solutions to meet their needs. It’s also wonderful to work with so many enthusiastic young people and teach them about working in tech.”

 

Sir Robert Pat Pic 3 Students designing their homework app

“It felt like our voice
mattered and was going
to make a difference”

Year 9 Pupil from Sir Robert Pattinson Academy

The students finished of their day with a Q&A with a selection of the Frog Team where they got to ask about their jobs. Questions ranged from day to day responsibilities, to what education and training people need for their roles, and even why they chose their particular field.

John Lavelle, FROG technical lead for Sir Robert Pattinson Academy said “I was involved in the coding sessions all day and I’ll be honest, they enjoyed every minute of it! We are organising a coding club in September to code in Frog because of this! After speaking with my other colleagues on the journey back they too said the students enjoyed it all and had wished some of the activities lasted longer! The students left Frog feeling they had made a difference to the platform and this has made them get into Frog even more!”

“On the Tuesday following the event we had an open evening for Year 5 parents.  Two students who attended Frog helped me show what Frog can offer students and parents if they joined our school. The pupils were explaining how they had attended this trip and the activities they covered whilst they were there. It really helped the Year 5’s and their parents see what this platform has to offer!”

The Frog team had a brilliant day working with so many intelligent and enthusiastic young people. Some of the ideas that came from the day will certainly be used to make our product better, and we hope all the students found the day as rewarding as we did.

If you want to see what really went on, click here to see our short video of the day.

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International collaboration using Frog!

ChildrenCourtesy of Press Association

The 1st July 2016 saw the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and 12 UK schools partnered with schools in France, the British Council, DCMS and the Cumbria Museum of Military Life to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. North Lakes School in Penrith were one of the 12 UK schools to participate and saw how technology could be a key enabler for this international collaboration, and issued Frog logins to all schools and contributors so they could easily create and share resources and work together.

The visit was broadcast by ITV and the BBC, you can see the coverage here.

“Frog…ideal platform”

Martyn Soulsby a Computing at School Master Teacher and member of the Leadership Team at North Lakes School said “Frog has played a central role in our Somme Centenary work this term.  It has been an ideal platform for us to create our own learning resource tailor made for this special project.  It has enabled the children to share their own WW1 stories and explore specific links to other learning resources, organisations, and schools taking part in the project in the UK. “

Schools, partners and contributors shared updates on their projects about the battle through FrogLearn platform.  In one example of the international collaboration, UK children would start an art project, upload their partially finished result to Frog for everyone to see, then post the work to their counterparts in France.   The French students would finish the art piece and post pictures to Frog where everyone involved could see them.

cumbriaJules Wooding from the Cumbria Museum of Military Life (a collaborator on the project) said “The immediacy of the technology through the school’s FrogLearn platform has enabled the children to connect with the Museum and school through the Centenary project and share real life stories from the children and their families as well as sharing information from the Museum’s archives – a superb resource.”

Support.urlOne of North Lakes School project pages

Martyn Soulsby continues….

“Another benefit has been the ability to set specific closed group areas for the children taking part in the Somme visit.  We have also twinned with Ecole Rene Gerard in France and created logins for them so the children could communicate and get to know each other prior to the visit.  As a SAPERE Philosophy for Children Gold Award School we have also used the discussion forums to explore philosophical concepts related to the project.  Frog has really helped to bring our project alive and play a pivotal role.”

plantingStudents placed crossed on the graves of relatives at the Lonsdale Cemetery.

The project culminated in a trip for North Lakes students to the Somme war memorial in France.  All 600 students involved in the project from both France and the UK were brought together at the residential trip.

We want to say a huge well done to the schools involved, it’s a wonderful project and the team at Frog is honoured to have been involved in making this project work.

#Somme100

 

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Frog’s First Girls Coding Event!

On Monday 27 June the Frog team excitedly gathered in a car park to travel to Whalley Range High School in Manchester to lead a Girls Coding Event to show young women what a career in coding involves and of course to have a bit of fun!

survey of developers from Stack Overflow conducted in 2015 showed that 92.1% of developers are male. What’s particularly interesting is that research conducted in the US showed that women on average have higher approval ratings on the code they write compared to their male equivalent. The tech industry is
growing all the time and encouraging our women into these kinds of positions is really important.

Girls coding 2

Year 9 Students from Levelshulme High School and Saint Paul’s were invited to participate in the coding event, adding another level of competition to the day. We split the event into two parts to focus on creativity and technical coding. The first part allowed students to work together in teams to design their own app for the education industry which they presented to our panel of expert Frog’s. We were so impressed with how eloquently and enthusiastically they did this. The ideas were better than some we’ve heard in our boardroom! The second part of the day was a coding competition where we led the students through the basics of HTML and CSS and then gave them the task of designing their own website in Frog. We were genuinely impressed by the pupils and they all achieved so much in a matter of hours. After some prolonged discussions we chose winners and presented prizes of vouchers and Frog goodies.  It was a brilliant day, and we are so honoured to have been part of it.

Girls coding 1

If you want to see what Whalley Range High School’s thoughts on the day were, you can read their blog post on the event.

We want to say a huge thank you to the team at Whalley Range High School for organising and hosting the event as well as the teams of Levelshulme and Saint Paul’s for arranging for your pupils to participate.  Lastly a huge thank you and well done to all of the students for being involved in the first girl’s coding event!

 

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Frog conference London: Summary

The #Frog16 London conference was on Thursday 23 June and people from across the country attended The Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden despite the near apocalyptic weather!

After our attendees arrived and dried off, our Managing Director, Gareth Davies welcomed everyone, reflected on the past year and outlined our focus and direction for the future.

The Keynote, Mick Walker gave a brilliant and insightful presentation on ‘The Future of Assessment’. Mick presented highlights of Tim Oates’ presentation from the Birmingham Frog Conference on 7 June.

Following Mick, Ramsey Al-Chalaby discussed ‘Effective Tracking of Progress’ with a live demonstration of Frog’s answer to Life After Levels, Frog Progress.

To round off the morning, delegates split into groups for our interactive sessions, ‘Overcoming the Challenge’ where school leaders discussed the challenge of delivering more teaching and learning in a world of reduced school budgets. Our ‘Discover Frog Tech’ session for technical staff introduced delegates to FrogCode, giving more creative control to schools. It was brilliant to see so many of our users sharing how they use Frog to enhance teaching and learning.

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After lunch, delegates attended workshops on ‘Whole School Improvement’ and ‘The Future of Assessment’ with amazing insights from school leaders;

Nick House, Head Teacher, Greenshaw High School,
Clare Powlesland, Deputy Head Teacher, St Columbia’s College,
Sean Quinn, eLearning Manager, Rugby High School,
Matthew Hewitt, Deputy Head Teacher, Noadswood School,
and Simon Smith, Head Teacher, East Whitby Primary School.

We rounded off the day with a Q&A unlocking the secrets to great learning with less, hosted by Roger Brodie from NAACE with panellists from our school workshop speakers.

We will be uploading all the videos and presentations from #Frog16 to our website, but if you can’t wait until then, you can find the videos on our YouTube channel.

 

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Tim Oates on Assessment

Tim Oates on Assessment

Tim Oates, of Cambridge Assessment was a keynote speaker at Frog16 this year, providing delegates with his insight into the best of teaching and learning, specifically the best of assessment from around the world, and helping to dispel the myth that we are the most tested nation in the world. That said, he laid down the challenge we have in a life after levels and addressed key issues such as teacher workload.

A confusing change

Many of those in attendance commented that the focus on assessment after levels has been a confusing change, but Tim’s explanation aided understanding in how flawed the level system was whilst highlighting the benefits of regular assessments for learners.

You can read more about what Tim had to say at the Frog conference in his thought provoking article Cant’s Stand the Heat? Look for the Light, published earlier this week on the Cambridge Assessment Blog.

“Frog are doing great work”

In Tim’s article he remarks “Mick Walker…and Frog are doing great work in supporting schools to put granular, analytic assessment in place, which – rather than being fixated on progress in ‘levels’ – helps teachers better identify gaps and misconceptions, allowing immediate support to be deployed.”

You can see his whole presentation from the Birmingham Conference here. Alternatively you can watch Mick Walker presenting Tim Oates and discussing assessment at our London Conference here.

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GUEST BLOG: From cost-savings to BYOD; the developing use of Frog at Rugby High School, Sean Quinn, Rugby High School

Teachers at the Birmingham Frog Conference told us that a high priority in their schools is teachers collaborating to structure lessons online and assemble resources. At the London Frog Conference on the 23rd June, schools are going to be elaborating on how to do this.

The need to support home learning better is leading to teachers developing sites that support class lessons too. Rugby High School even involved the pupils in doing this!

To give you a flavour of what you will hear at the conference, this is Sean Quinn’s description of what is happening in Rugby High School.

Developing use of Frog at Rugby High School.

The starting point for the use of Frog at Rugby High School was to establish it as a safe area to which the teachers can post learning resources. Though some teachers were initially worried and sceptical they soon realised how intuitive and easy to use Frog is. This got rid of the fear of change and failure; many of those who were worried are now doing transformational things with Frog.

The students have been a great help. The teachers have realised that they do not always need to be in charge of making sites and that they can get students to do it for them. Teachers tend to nominate students to create sites for them and the students are very quick, it only takes a lunchtime to create a site for a topic and to get resources into it. We are developing co-construction of the curriculum.

This enabled us to reduce department budgets

This has led to a saving of 20% in printing costs, by reducing printer credits for staff and students as they can now see resources through FROG. This enabled us to reduce department budgets, which we had to do anyway because of national budget cuts. We scan a lot of documents now and get them on Frog including assessment and notices. Teachers putting up answers on Frog which enables the pupils to self-assess their answers, and if they have not grasped the problem properly to work backwards from the answer to see how they should have gone about it.

Homework has improved as a result of all homework on FROG, because students now all have clear instructions and for complex homework a writing frame or a model example could be used. Lots of resources came from FrogStore which has been really helpful. Students will also logon at home to prepare for the next lesson. There is also a good impact on cover lessons which have become much higher quality lessons with much less wasted time. The SLT can supervise these lessons and save the cover-teacher costs too.

Alongside implementing Frog we started piloting a BYOD approach with year 7. BYOD was so successful in this pilot that it has accelerated rapidly in the school, so that it is now whole-school. We have a multi-platform approach which means that all pupils can afford this, even if they just have a £40 tablet. This has also led to savings as we do not need to invest in generic school computers and we have not refreshed a classroom of 30 computers. Launching BYOD has allowed us to release the hardware refresh budget and divert it to other areas.

We now have an aim to be a paperless school by using FROG. We have drastically reduced printing costs and we now have a printer credit system in place due to all stakeholders needing to print less, due to FROG and BYOD. Many students have stopped printing things as they can access them digitally.

Our next steps are to get a parent portal in place and to make more use of forums for student voice.

You can hear more from Sean Quinn at our Frog Conference on the 23rd June in London.

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