Review by Phil Timmins, IT Coordinator at Blackheath Primary School:
“There are certain points in the year we all look forward to, and for me one of those points is the Bett show. For me it is a real highlight, an opportunity to talk to like-minded people and to see what the future holds for technology in education.
This year I was focused on how the existing resources we had in school would be updated and how they would look and work in the future. With this in mind, it was difficult to not be drawn towards the Frog stand. I’m not sure whether it was the constant flow of Frog bags going past, the promise of a hopper stress ball or just the fact that you couldn’t miss the signs for stand D100, but we ended up in a very crowded battle to peek at FrogOS. Once the crowds subsided you could see why.
I knew I was going to get a look at the secondary platform which I was interested in even though I am a primary school teacher. The inner geek in me was curious to see the changes and to find out more about what we may get in the future. It wasn’t until I looked at the page properly that I realised that I wasn’t playing with the secondary platform at all, it was FrogOS for Primary!
First of all I was just pleased that we are able to keep up with secondary…and after that I was just plain pleased. The look and feel of FrogOS is better than expected with professional looking themes and backgrounds with some fun ones thrown in too. I only got to have a short play but I thought I would share my list of things you’ll love and things to think about.
Things you’ll love
- Smooth transition between pages
- Pinpoint multimedia resources from Google images, Flickr, Youtube and Vimeo
- Quick launch your calendar, documents, email and loads more
- Changes to widgets make it easier to edit pages
- Booking timetables
- Compatible with most (if not all) browsers! No more Internet Explorer!
- Compatible with tablets
- Professional and fun looking themes to cater for all users.
Things to consider
- The structure has completely changed. There are no longer Me, Classes and School areas which means that you can work how ever you want to within Frog. If these areas worked for you then you can create the same kind of structure in the school dashboard. If you wanted to organize your platform to suit you and your setting then that is now possible with the simplified structure which offers more versatility.
- Frog will support your current primary platform for the next 3 years so that you can develop FrogOS while still using Frog 3.0. This gives you loads of time to develop your new platform and to make sure it is just how you want it before you launch.
- If you are anything like me, you will want to dive right in and get started. Think carefully about how you can use the new features and flexibility to create new areas, join areas together from your existing platform or simply add the whole area to the school dashboard so that it can’t be missed. Some areas may no longer be needed as the new features, such as booking calendars and quizzes and polls, may eliminate the need for them.
The familiar widget tray has been replaced by a new one which pops out from the side and looks clean, simple and easy to use. Adding widgets is just as easy and adding media has been made so simple with Pinpoint that it leaves no excuses for not adding some more exciting features and interactivity to your pages. The quick launch makes it simple to get to your personal files, calendar and email quickly and again, looks good and is simple to use.
Our primary aim in all of this is to have a positive effect on teaching and learning. As a full time teacher who uses Frog in the classroom everyday, the changes are exciting and I’m already thinking of ways to set up and use FrogOS with my class. The flexibility with devices and browsers alone is a change the children will be excited about, as the variety of devices they use to access Frog grows and more and more families are investing in tablets as a cheap alternative to a home computer or laptop.
I’m a Frog fan, I’ve never tried to hide or deny it. This whole update only makes me love it even more. It isn’t just that it looks new and shiny, it’s more about the possibilities and flexibility it offers. It doesn’t matter if you are fantastic at ICT or not, it’s simplicity and ease of use means that anyone can make something really creative that looks amazing.
Our walkthrough video of FrogOS: