Whatever next.. A Virtual Learning Platform

I’ve just come back from my son’s school having attended a meeting about Fronter, which is the school’s Virtual Learning Platform (VLP). Already rolled out in thousands of schools across the UK our school goes live properly on Monday.

Every child will have their own password and username, and their own “section” ie Reception, Year 1 etc and the information within each section so far looks great. Obviously there isn’t a huge amount of content yet but so far it ranges from website links to approved pages for work the class are currently tackling, to homework, maths and literacy help, news and more. There is also a social element to it where children can use stickies to leave messages. In additional to this work will be uploaded ie a particularly good poem or picture so a kind of portfolio will be there for us as parents to see and for the children to have as a record.

Everything is strictly monitored by the teachers/staff and children have already been made aware of the consequences of abusing the system.

I am ridiculously excited, sad mare that I am! Kieran is in Reception, so he will “grow” with the platform as it grows. He will be able to navigate a growing network of information, network with other children safely, show ME and Daddy what he is working on and what he is doing next…. the possibilities are endless.

There is also a parent section in which key information is available, forms will be downloadable (ie holiday requests etc), and a parent forum where we can discuss/organise etc anything we as parents wish to discuss with others.

Don’t get me wrong – I strongly believe that young children should be playing outside in mud, scraping their knees, tearing clothes, getting into “mild” mischief and overall just being children, not stuck in front of a computer. That said, IT is not going away – it has affected the way everything is run, from services to schools and the influence IT has on our children’s lives will be immense, regardless of what they choose to do workwise. I think it’s great that our children are being taught e-safety now, responsibility for their own actions (ie when posting messages), and great IT skills so early.

There was a lot of grumbling about lost passwords, swapped passwords, this and that but by and large the parents were very supportive and I look forward to seeing how the VLP pans out.

Does your school have a virtual learning platform, and if so , what do your kids think of it, how do you find it?

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  1. The school I teach in has one that is rarely used as most of our children cannot afford a home pc and the rest are simply not bothered. The school my daughter goes to has one but they forgot to share the passwords with parents and now its crashed or something, BUT I have seen it work really well at other schools. Some teachers have a weekly blog where they leave tasks for the children to complete at home and bring to school. Such a brill idea but will be a few years before its common practise.

    1. The “Head” today was very realistic about how long it would take to get going and said that some schools said it took as long as three years for the parents to really get on board with it and use it regularly, but that when it did it worked brilliantly. They have set up 2 ICT clubs, and homework club at our school where children without access can use Fronter, and also I believe one session a week later on for parents and kids to come into school and use it together.
      Hopefully it’ll take off and we’ll be one of the success stories,

  2. Hi Nicki

    Nathan’s school has fronter and I have also used it in the past when I got my management diploma, the college used the same system.

    Its very good and teaches the children in a fun way so they won’t even realise the benefit they are getting. As long as parents are supportive and on board I think it is an amazing platform. The children are really proud of what they can do and feel grown up and important. They also feel listened to which I believe is invaluable… how many of us can remember the teachers so full of their own self importance that really didn’t seem to take the time to listen to us children. There are so many benefits, I hope you really enjoy using it.

    Leanne x

    1. I think our parents on the whole will be very supportive and I can see it getting used regularly. The teachers are very hands-on with it, and apparently the kids who have already used it love it. The school council are already updating their section independently (year 5/6) which I think is brilliant!
      Thanks for replying x

  3. Yes, yes, yes, this is all good.

    The school that my children go to has had Fronter for about a year. it’s not made a big impact yet, but has a lot of potential. VLEs and VLPs are going to be with them right through to college and university so it’s right that it becomes a normal part of their education as early as possible.

    Teachers could load up copies of homework sheets or handouts to make up for lost ones. And think about snow days, or days when they’re a bit poorly. If the children are able to do some work they might be able to keep up, and could even submit some work to compare with the children in class.

    1. I’m very much in favour as you can and yes, the snow days were brought up tonight actually. I think it’ll take time to get going but will be hugely beneficial all round.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. I didn’t realise until this week but my children’s school has this too. It’s really good for homework projects that require them to go online anyway. Just wish the school had educated us parents about it a bit first….

    1. That sounds like a bit of a failing – especially if you are to support your kids on it at home etc. We are lucky in that they’ve run these meetings/sessions at school and are happy to run more/help kids AND parents with it as and when.
      Thanks for reading and replying.

  5. I am going in to school next week to learn all about our version which apparently is called Glow!!! I think it is a fab idea and am looking forward to learning more, but haven’t come to terms with the fact that my little netbook is probably going to be hijacked!!!!

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