Sunday, 8 November 2009

KLP - the journey so far!


How KLP is making a difference at Eureka…

Jacqui – lead teacher - “At Eureka we are constantly engaging with new initiatives or developments as they arise and are willing to ‘give anything a go!’ Having thought ‘out of the box’ and developed a creative curriculum since September 2007, when we were asked if we wished to be early adopters in Derbyshire with KLP we jumped at the chance! What an excellent decision it was too…”

Initially…early adopter training (without our site having been provisioned)…end of summer term 2008…

Head teacher – “As members of the teaching profession we are always looking for new and inspirational ways of engaging the young people of tomorrow. What better a way to do that, than via a tool which is resourceful and creative, an excellent way for our youngsters to become independent, life long learners; a space that can be personalized to the individual too. The learning platform is all those things with the added bonus that you don’t have to be a ‘tec nerd’ to use it!!!

Ecologists (Year 5 and 6 children), were the first children in the school to share the excitement of KLP (and the madness of their teacher) early in the autumn term of 2008. Their motivation to learn ‘how to’ amazed me as they went from strength to strength in developing their skills and wanted to explore every avenue in using the platform. ‘When can we…?’ ‘Can we just…?’ became quite the norm.

After this initial success, staff were introduced to KLP in October 2008, by myself (the lead teacher) and Sue Mould (DCC KLP consultant) at a staff meeting. Three Ecologists were invited along to the meeting to share with the staff the ease in which they accessed KLP; to share their enthusiasm and the skills they were so quickly mastering. This proved to be quite a challenge as some staff were a little sceptical –a big change was coming – and they were a little fearful initially. I quickly realised that small steps, regular visits to KLP, regular snippets of support and practise were needed to hook in the staff. The children played a big part…and continue to do so!
Michelle – teaching assistant: “It aids communication between staff. You are able to share good ideas and resources, engaging the children. It creates a thirst for the children to learn more.”

Governors were also shown around KLP at the first Governors meeting of the year, to see first hand how in the initial stages impact, was already being made with teachers and learners. They quickly saw the benefits that it would have.
Karen - Governor: “From a governors perspective the enthusiasm and success of the whole platform filters through to our meetings and I think the whole governing body is becoming more enthusiastic too. From the feedback we have had, it is having a big impact on the teaching and learning.”

By this time, Ecologists had mastered discussions, uploading images, uploading documents (school or home learning), being taught by myself from ‘teaching tools’ that I had uploaded into the VLE (they were amazed that I had created things at home and now they could see it at school) and collaborated with writing using a wiki. The initial wiki has now turned into a 12 chapter narrative where ‘level 5ness’ in writing spans throughout the text! Treasure Trove Trepidation was born! We now hope to put it into a presentation package with illustrations to make it into an e-book for all to share! This was our initial ‘quick win’ and later, Ecologists got the opportunity to share this with many visitors…Mr Richards from DCC and Jessica Dillon from the RM company!

KLP ‘fever’ was beginning to spread and other children wanted access, so myself and Ecologists ‘buddied’ up with Explorers (our Year 4 and 5 learning team) to share the space with them…they soon loved it. We made sure they had their details correct, discussed e-safety with them and off they went with their buddies!

I also got the opportunity to support Mini-beasts - the year 1 and 2 children, and their teacher - to develop their enjoyment and engagement with KLP so that their learning too, could be enhanced. We created a few discussions together, uploaded some photos and put on some news. This was just enough! After giving them their usernames, and previously altered passwords to make their lives easier, Miss Edwards and the team were off. The excitement after a child had logged on at home…unbelievable!
Time Traveller’s (year 3 and 4 children) didn’t need us; as soon as their NQT had left the staff meeting – she was off! One or two…’how do I ?’s’ later, and so were her learning team – they too were discussing away to their hearts content, creating and contributing to wikis and all manner of things connected to their ‘To Infinity…and Beyond!’ topic.

Kalley – Time Travellers teacher said: “KLP has stimulated and engaged the learning of all children in my learning team (regardless of ability). It has provided them with a purpose in accessing ICT for a range of activities to develop skills. The package also enhances teaching of a variety of subjects, through interactive discussions and wikis to provide children with ownership of their learning. KLP offers a safe environment through which the children can explore websites too. This has also supported professional development in creating resources, motivating children and organising sessions.”

Wizards…now that was another matter! Sue and I spent time together creating a model KS1 Interest space to try and engage both the staff and the children. They had been learning all about Red Riding Hood that term, and so we thought ‘Traditional Tales’ might be the hook. We created a page… found and uploaded some wonderfully engaging images from the story; found 2 versions that were completely different and so created hyperlinks to them; created a set of wikis in which the children could write about the main characters; uploaded a link to a fun game involving words from the story; put on links to other traditional tales; a space for pictures…published! Phew! Sue and I were quite impressed with ourselves and I awaited my next staff meeting to share with the team…they loved it! Yipee!

A hook! All round! At last! At the Staff meeting I used the Traditional Tales page as a model for all staff, we then had a workshop meeting where I expected them to create a new interest space of their own, in line with our creative curriculum and the topic area they were using for learning and teaching that term…every member of staff left 1 ½ hours later having published what was becoming an enticing space to engage, enhance and allow children to thoroughly enjoy learning about their topic. Had I won? That remained to be seen!
Ecologists meanwhile had progressed in leaps and bounds…blogging, discussing, helping Goldie (the school mascot) with his spelling, uploading images, wiki-ing (is there such a verb?), accessing their ‘work due’ for home learning and uploading it into their document library, buddying with KS1 on a regular basis to engage and support them, earning their V-me parts and generally running away with everything they had learnt. They were and still are so engaged. What next….

They were desperate to create their own interest spaces…so they did. After 2 teaching and learning sessions with me demoing my own creation – my Gary Numan space (that’s enough comments thank you) – that became their home learning challenge….Who can create the best interest space?…they are still developing them. I need to give them a dead line now so that I can choose the ‘champion spaces!’


At a following cluster meeting, myself and one of the secondary schools that we feed to, wondered if a transition space would be worthwhile. Speaking as a year 6 teacher, I know that anything to make that giant step from ‘little’ to ‘big’ school would be so helpful. Therefore, we decided to give it a go…we had no idea at that stage if it would work…but this new development is about taking risks, thinking out of the box, being adventurous…isn’t it?! Next step, create the transition page (kindly done by the chief technician at William Allitt (an equally enthusiastic chap), give access to another school (Eureka) – easy – urls and permissions set; other school create a link to the url and ‘bob’s your uncle!’ as it were. Year 6 were given access, year 7 buddy volunteers from school council were given access and they have been blogging and discussing together ever since. A ‘where’s Basil’ blog was also set up for the children to help them find their way around the secondary school. Basil (a cuddly rat – a la Faulty Towers), gives clues to the children as to which room he is hiding in. Children read the clues, search around the hyperlinks on a plan of the school site and then further delve into the room. If they find him, they get a praise…they love it! One rather reluctant child in my learning team has really found this a hook for her – brilliant! A relationship cross-phase, in a safe environment with children they don’t know has been created, their confidence building, their fear of secondary school subsiding. What we now hope is…once the current year 6’s, are year 7, that they too become buddies!

Glyn – technician at William Allitt said: “The Learning Platform gives us the opportunity to reach out to our Partner Primary Schools and engage our future students long before they set foot in the school.”

It was at this point that news spread…Our lead ICT consultant in Derbyshire came to school to see KLP in action. We showed him everything we had done…from the beginnings in Wizards and how peer tutoring was going on, to some learning teams engaging with wikis independently in their learning teams, to my children ‘showing off’ if you like, their engagement and total involvement with the whole platform. At the time we were also developing our new Splash Landings Page together for our new creative curriculum topic. I am pleased to say that he was thoroughly impressed with everything we are doing, the school and the knowledge, skills and understanding of the children across all age groups – all accessing KLP at their level.

After winning a competition by RM to say what KLP had done for us…another visit ensued. This prompted this case study, launched recently…

Currently…very pleasingly, developments are happening all the time…I have been asked by DCC to support in the development of KLP in schools in the south of the county…I have had an initial meeting with a small group of Eureka’s parents with a view to them becoming parent champions and populating the parent interest space with things that they want to see there…

Quotes from 2 parents at my initial meeting – “ Even though I’ve been on nights…it seems interesting!” – “ A wow factor for parents!”

…staff are now thinking of the creative curriculum topics for the next academic year and are beginning to develop pages or resources to follow our E.E.E. vision (enjoy-engage-enhance)…from now and in the autumn, I shall be developing the VLE use with all teaching staff…and so on…and so on. I don’t think the journey will ever end, it will evolve as we, as teachers and learners evolve. But one thing I do know is…it’s a very exciting journey!

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