Spotlight on a Trainee Teacher

As the halfway point of this current school year approaches, we thought we’d catch up with Skoolbo advocate and trainee teacher Melissa Jeeves.

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As anyone who has trained recently or who is training now will know, this is a very intense and demanding professional course and so we are very grateful that Melissa has spared the time to talk to us about her experiences.

Melissa began her career in education at a lower school in Bedfordshire approximately four years ago. Initially providing one-one support in FS2, she later worked in Year One as a Teaching Assistant before moving to KS2 where she has been for the last three years. We all sometimes need a little push in the right direction and we had to smile when we heard that Melissa was encouraged to become a teacher by the Head of the school who clearly spotted her potential by

“…affectionately dropping hints for 2 years or so by dropping course information into my drawer!”

Well it obviously worked as Melissa is now in her first year of a degree in Applied Education Studies (BA Hons) at Bedfordshire University. Melissa has been using Skoolbo with the children she is currently working with and decided to make Skoolbo and its impact on children’s learning across the school the focus of a recent course presentation on ICT in the classroom. Here’s what she had to say –

“Children are given access to Skoolbo during both numeracy and literacy lessons. They also have the availability to use their school logins to access Skoolbo at home.

I have noticed improvements with particular children in our class who may have additional learning needs or who have gaps in their learning. It has given them the confidence to use the programme. This is evident even with children who are new to Skoolbo, for example, our students in KS1 where it has only recently been introduced. The way in which Skoolbo assesses and sets itself to the childs ability, as well as the feature of the teacher being able to set tasks is especially effective in moving children on.

I would recommend Skoolbo to other Schools not only trainee teachers alone, it is a very effective and positive programme to which I have only seen positive results and attitudes. Skoolbo never sets tasks that are out of a child’s reach and the animation is also very entertaining and engaging.”

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Thank you Melissa for sharing your experiences with us!

Are you training to teach or perhaps you have recently qualified? Would you like to try Skoolbo in your classroom? Register now, it’s free and only takes a minute!

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Alternatively if you’d like a chat, please don’t hesitate to contact us as we’d love to hear from you!

        020 8133 5253

Meadowbrook Primary School – World Cup Super Learners!

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It has been a few weeks since the Skoolbo 2015 World Cup finished but we have not forgotten the tremendous performance of one Bristol school. Meadowbrook Primary School took our breath away with their sheer enthusiasm for learning!

Their energy and desire to win was contagious. These fabulous students logged on to Skoolbo at every available opportunity while their teachers and parents took to Twitter to rally support and keep everyone up to date with their progress. mb

 

Meadowbrook weren’t just competing with other countries and UK schools, they were also holding their own unofficial class-to-class challenge. When the challenge finished it was Voles class in first place with over 83,000 answers bringing their actual total to 237,861, so close to a quarter of a million answers! These are the World Cup scores for the top five Meadowbrook classes –

1st   Voles – 83,719

2nd   Otters – 62,472

3rd    Herons – 45,813

4th    Kingfishers – 34,889

5th    Fox – 19,166

We really thought that with dedicated schools like Meadowbrook on our team, the UK were going to claim the trophy. Sadly it was not to be…With only hours to go Team Australia swooped in, but the students of Meadowbrook had managed to finish top in the UK and 2nd in the World!

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Olympian and Skoolbo Ambassador Adrian Turner knows all about the thrills (and spills) of competitions and was keen to talk to these lovely children and their teacher Mr Rhodri Hopkins. They in turn had some questions for Adrian. You can watch their interview here –

And here is the full version –

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Meadowbrook Primary School is part of the Olympus Academy Trust. It is a two-form entry school based in Bradley Stoke, Bristol. Here’s what Headteacher Jon Barr had to say about the students –

Our children are a huge asset in our school and across their learning journey with us they take responsibility for many aspects of our school. The trust we have in them is a reflection of the relationships teachers have with their children. We have mutual respect and a shared view that all children can succeed and that it is our role to inspire them to that success. Our children’s behaviour for learning has been described as exemplary by visitors to the school.

Learning Maths and English is so much more fun at Bells Farm with Skoolbo!

“Learning Maths and English is so much more fun at Bells Farm with Skoolbo.” This was the fabulous message sent to us by the school’s IT Co-ordinator Mr Baddhan and these lovely students are certainly living up to their school motto –

Enjoying our learning…
…aiming for excellence.

Bells Farm was recently recognised for the great efforts of their students and staff when the school was named in the top 100 performing schools in the country, based on their sustained improvement in attainment at the end of KS2. We’d like to add our congratulations for this tremendous achievement.

Of course it came as no surprise to hear how well the school is doing as they were already on our radar for their committed contribution to the recent Skoolbo World Cup. Those of you on Twitter will have seen their regular Tweets commending their Skoolbo stars and offering encouragement to everyone taking part.  Now that the challenge is over, Bells Farm have dedicated a whole page on their school website to celebrating all the fun and learning that took place.

 

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We are delighted to share this photograph of the wonderful Daniel from Year 6 who achieved the highest score during the challenge. He was rewarded with this fabulous t-shirt created specially for him by the school.

 

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Mr Baddhan, who organised the event at Bells Farm said;

“Our passionate and enthusiastic children took part in the challenge during their lesson times, breakfast and after school clubs and break times to help Team GB try and beat the other countries however they fell short just behind Team Australia.

 The children have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the tournament. They came in everyday to see how Team GB were performing and were determined to do well for Bells Farm and their country. The enthusiasm and dedication to learn and win was a pleasure to see! Well done Bells Farm!”

We’d like to add our own ‘well done’ to Bells Farm. It’s inspiring to hear how much these children are enjoying their learning with Skoolbo.

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Bells Farm is a one-form entry primary school situated in Druid’s Heath in Birmingham.  Headteacher, Barbara Butterworth has this to say about the school;

“We are a happy, friendly and caring school in which every child is encouraged to be their best and do their best. We offer a rich curriculum underpinned by education in values for life, and use every opportunity we can to celebrate all of our children’s achievements: academic, sporting, creative and social.”

6 Essential Components of Great eLearning

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You’ve probably heard the term “eLearning” thrown about over the last number of years, but do you really know what it is? In short, eLearning is learning that is conducted using electronic media such as the internet or an application. It comes in many forms including, but not limited to:

  • Research tools
  • Class management resources
  • Creativity enablers
  • Shared learning tools

Skoolbo is an eLearning programme based on skill-building and below we take a quick look at some of the components that make an effective eLearning programme:

 

1. Fun and engaging, but not distracting

What better way to engage people in something than by making it fun? This is especially true for children, where fun is pretty much the number one thing on their minds! There’s a delicate balancing act between making an eLearning programme fun and keeping learning to the forefront, as the programme could potentially turn into a full-blown game with some learning thrown in. With this in mind, it’s imperative that the “fun” element engages the child but doesn’t distract from the overall goal of learning!

2. Simple to use

Don’t overcomplicate it, nobody wants to spend hours trying to understand something and children are even more susceptible to this! Think about the last time you bought some flat-packed furniture, did you really enjoy going through the pages of instructions to put it together? No? Us neither! The same principle applies to eLearning in that it should be easy to pick up and use, but deliver a powerful end result (like a nice bedside table!). Apple are a great example of this, in that their devices are super-easy to work with but bring enormous satisfaction!

3. Motivating reward systems

What’s the point in putting time and effort into something if you have nothing to show for it at the end? A rewards system is a great way to motivate a child to use the programme in short bursts over a long period of time, where the key here is to make sure the child doesn’t become either addicted to, or sick of it! Any genuine effort should be rewarded, but the reward must also be something that the child wants!

4. Opportunity to make mistakes

At Skoolbo we believe in the old adage of “learning from your mistakes”, so we try to create an environment where the child feels comfortable with making mistakes but ultimately wants to rectify them so they can learn and move forward. At least 50% of eLearning programmes have no opportunity to make mistakes, which often causes the child to click randomly through answers and is counter-productive to actually learning what the right one is!

5. Learn by doing

An old Chinese proverb says “tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand”. Letting a child become more hands-on and actually attempt a task rather than simply explaining it to them helps keep them engaged and interested, as they are being encouraged to think and interact. Nobody likes to sit there being told what to do and we believe that practice absolutely makes perfect when it comes to eLearning.

6. Teachable moments – Immediate feedback and support

Every parent and teacher knows that there are certain moments when a child is most receptive to feedback and support, and a good eLearning programme will get involved at exactly those moments! Immediate feedback and support facilitates self-learning, the most effective type of learning there is. It also helps when the support system is designed in such a way that it becomes less apparent as the child grows less reliant on it!

 

We’ve only touched on some of the key components that promote effective eLearning with this post and we’d love to hear what works best for you, so feel free to drop us a mail on info@skoolbo.co.uk

 New to Skoolbo? Register your class or child now to join the Skoolbo Movement!

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Meet Mihai – our newest Skoolbo presenter!

 

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Mihai, a true Skoolbo superstar! You can just about see him on the left of this photograph. Recently he did something very special and (we think) quite brave. Seven year-old Mihai stood up in front of lots of adults to talk about Skoolbo as part of a formal presentation organised by his father Nick Negoita. The event was the Kirklees CAS (Computing at School) Hub Meeting and Nick, an ICT Learning Mentor from Withinfields Primary School in Calderdale, was there to provide ICT leaders from the local area with an overview of Skoolbo and how it can be successfully integrated into the curriculum.

Nick has been a wonderful supporter of Skoolbo since the beginning and we have enjoyed hearing about the response of his colleagues and students –

“We love Skoolbo here at Withinfields. There is such a buzz going on  – OH MY…”

We heard from Nick that Mihai was a marvellous ‘Assistant Presenter’ and we were delighted to present him with some special stickers and a certificate as a ‘thank you’.

We’ll leave you with a close up of Mihai – Skoolbo Presenter Extraordinaire!

Nick Negoita has recently moved to Lee Mount Primary School in Halifax to take up a post as ICT Teacher. We’d like to wish him ‘good luck’ and we look forward to seeing his new school on the leaderboards very soon. He will be spreading the word about Skoolbo again at the Calderdale CAS Hub on January 21st.