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Chris Chandler's Design Narrative: Introducing and promoting a VLE to school departments.
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4 April 2013
Title Introducing and promoting a VLE to school departments.
My role in this was to deliver the training session and to provide help and support to the teachers in setting up their own departmental VLE resources and pages.
Describe the physical, social and intentional factors that define the design space. E.g. where and when did this occur? In what kind of space? Who were the key actors, and what were the relations between them? What where the beliefs and desires which shaped their interaction?
The main objective of the training session was to give teachers at the school a basic overview of the Fronter VLE platform. This would then allow them to start to develop resources and departmental procedures for using Fronter in their lessons. The main measure of success would be to see more departmental pages appearing and the student use of those pages increasing.
The first step was to identify the teachers who would be most receptive to the training session. There was not enough time or capacity to deliver the training to every teacher so identifying a few ‘key’ people was an important step. It was hoped that these key people would then act as VLE champions in there department and internally promote the use of the vLE from within.
The second step was to agree a time an place for the training to be held. Due to staff commitments and unavailability senior management of the school were approached and they agreed to use part of the staff training day to deliver this session. This meant that we could be sure of people attending the session and to show that it was being taken seriously by the senior management of the school.
Step three was planning the session activities, identifying the key areas that staff would need to know about in order to use the Fronter VLE platform. Obviously there was no possibility to cover everything in a two hour session so the focus was put on features that allowed the teachers to create VLE pages, create student quizzes and student feedback folders, setting up work hand-in folders, and uploading lesson resources and materials.
The definition of the learning design for the day, what order to cover the various aspects, how to deliver the activities. Most of the staff selected were not IT specialists so we needed to make sure that the content was suitable and appropriate, and that it also included lots of relevant examples for their specific subjects and fields.
Liaising with the IT support team to make sure that everybody attending the session had been given a Fronter username and password, each personal staff area on Fronter was step up correctly and they were able to upload files and create rooms. Also, emails were sent to the selected staff to ask them to bring an overview of a lesson, and a couple of lesson presentations or worksheets that could be uploaded to the VLE during the session.
The last step was to provide some additional help files for staff for use after the session. These were created electronically and then emails were sent to all staff showing them where they could be found.
A month after the training session was held we had a look at the user statistics for Fronter and found that 73% of the teachers who attended the training had created at least one VLE page for their subject. We also found that other teachers within the departments who had not attended the training had also created pages for their classes so teachers were obviously sharing practice with each other.
From the student point of view we noticed a definite increase in students accessing department pages even if there was no page that had been created. Students had been using the Fronter VLE in other lessons and then seeing if their teachers were using it.
Not all teachers who set pages up used the VLE in the way that we had anticipated. Some followed our example of using it as a lesson by lesson resource that students could use (IT, Geography, PE). Others decided to use it for a subject overview (history, business studies, English) with indications of dates and key events occurring through the year. Others simply used it as a storage system for students work (music, art)
There were of course some departments who had not used it at all and as a result senior management asked us to set up another session for the next training day for these people and others who had wanted to attend the first session but could not.
Feedback from the session itself was good and some teachers commented that they were ‘a bit afraid’ of using the VLE but overcame this. From looking recently at the user statistics for Fronter, every department in the school now has a VLE page for their subject, there are still some departments where this is simply an overview of the subject but there is now a presence at least.
List the expected and unexpected outcomes of your actions. To what degree did you meet your objectives? What additional outcomes did you engender? Provide evidence to back your claims.
When introducing a new technology it is important to identify the people who will be enthusiastic and keen to use it. Allowing them to then pass this knowledge on was key to the VLE being successfully used in the school more widely.