One of the sub sites of the Staff Gateway is the Media Library. Over the course of three and a half years the Twynham Systems Team have digitised over 5,000 video and audio clips and these are made available to staff both within the school and at home via password protection. The use of the Media Library is now widespread with televisions and DVD players a thing of the past across the site. Teachers access the media simply by clicking on the asx files shown below which brings up a media player.
Video can also be directly embedded into pages on the Gateway so that these can be directly accessed by students through an in-house built SharePoint Media Player.
Staff Alerts- cover and lessons not registered
One of the key quick wins when launching the Staff Gateway was the ability for staff to gain access to crucial information. Every morning by 8.15 a.m. any cover requirements are entered into the MIS system and instantly appear on the Staff Gateway. If a member of staff has cover on the day this will be shown both within their timetable in the correct period and below this in a separate ‘Cover’ web part with full details.
In addition to this when teachers forget to complete lesson registers the ‘Lessons not registered’ web part will flag these up at the end of the lesson. Both cover and missed lessons are the only items that appear red on the Staff Gateway to signify urgency and ensure they are easily seen as alerts when they appear. A further element of the page which teachers find to very useful is the ability to search for any teacher or student through the ‘People Search’ web part.
In addition to the ‘Cover’ web part all staff can look at the ‘Full Cover Sheet’ sub site to see which colleagues are absent and who will be covering for them.
Accessing timetable and class data
Below the quick links, icon and data bars teachers are directly displayed their timetable which shows the current teaching day which can be expanded to show a two week view.
From here the teacher can access class data in one click and individual student data in two. Clicking on the class name instantly brings up the following page with core data about the students in the class. Again student names have been removed.
Individual Student Data
Clicking on the data link next to any individual student name brings up their key information. This includes: parent contact details; student timetable; attendance in both tutor time and lessons; achievement and attitude to learning grades across a key stage. The design of the page was created by both students, who can also access the information through their ‘My Progress’ page and parents, who get to the data through their ‘My Child’ link. Students particularly wanted all the key data to be viewable in one page with traffic lighting so that green shows positive progress and orange and red showing factors which might hinder progress.
The timetable, tutor time attendance and lesson by lesson attendance all show a collapsed view which can be expanded to show full view within one click.
For further details on how to license the Online Reporting Web Parts for SharePoint you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Staff Gateway is built with functionality and efficiency in mind. One of the key pieces of feedback from teachers is frustration at the time it takes to get access to data and confusion at the number of systems they have to use. As a result we have built a simple and intuitive interface where access to data and resources is always available within 3 clicks.
Where possible icons are used to create a more visual interface and the icon bar allows staff to get to their most used resources instantly. Above the icon bar are quick links to related sites where staff have free access dependant on permissions.
To the right of the icon bar is the ‘My Data’ toolbar. This contains four drop downs to data which teachers will use on a daily basis. The most frequent feedback we get from teachers about using data is if they could use one system less than the currently do (and ideally not at all) it is the MIS (Management Information System). ‘My data’ allows teachers to: check the latest attendance of students in their classes; identify and target for action students falling below 90% in their tutor groups; examine which students in their classes are under performing compared to their targets; look retrospectively at results data for performance management purposes. We will show examples of My Tracker/My Results later. Examples of My Registers and My Tutor Group are shown below with student names removed.
Firstly, I hope you dont mind indulging me this morning but a little context is needed.
Twynham School is about to reach its three year anniversary of working on e-learning in education with a Learning Platform. Lots of things were already happening when I arrived in September 2006 on the e-learning front: the school had SharePoint for staff and student gateways; podcasting was very well developed especially in languages; streaming media was in place; a wide range of web technologies were being trialled through our Leading Edge work. In October 2006 one particularly innovative Psychology teacher pioneered a ‘Gateway’ as he called it for his 6th Formers to use as a communication tool and resource area. Mr Brown was even innovating with a Psychology blog before I knew what blogging was!
All of this was the precursor to our first whole school work with a Learning Platform which began on March 22nd 2007 when we launched our Revision Gateway. Within a year the tech guys working on this development had produced a 30 page guide to our work which simply became know as ‘The PDF” in internal circles. This led to our excellent (at the time!) but now outdated showcase site know as supporting learning. In the last two years a lot of development has taken place and as I looked back at ‘The PDF’ I realised it was time for a serious update!
As a result I have put together an e-book called ‘Twynham School Learning Gateway 2007-10′ which is currently 28 pages and 5 chapters long. By the time it is finished it should be around 35-40 pages and 8-10 chapters long and will be made available both through this blog and our new showcase site as a complete e-book on Monday March 22nd. During the next 3 weeks I will be blogging 2-4 pages of the e-book a day as a serialisation here on SharePoint in Education.
What the e-book is and is not.
The main aim of the book is to give an overview of the development of our Learning Gateway over the last three years. It is not intended to give a detailed account of how and why we did everything- that is the purpose of this blog and the many presentations we give at events. A version with all the detail in would be over 100 pages and is perhaps a proposition for another time. The e-book is also not very text heavy but contains over 50 screenshots so far and will only be about 5,000 words when finished. Hopefully the main idea is to share our practice and maybe even inspire?! Well lets not hope for too much…. Chapter 1 will start today.
Does the Learning Gateway support staff working when the school is closed.
Of course the Learning Gateways are used by both students and staff and so one of the other questions is did staff find it helpful on the snow day? The Gateway contains a separate area for all our staff including support staff to get key notices, look at their timetable, search for a student and access relevant data about them and whole classes and access key school documents. As well as this they have staff only subject areas for department documents and resources. Walking around the school site on Friday a number of staff commented on using the time during a snow day to update a learning area or adding schemes of work. This is supported by the statistics below with the snow day the second bar from the end.
Twynham Learning Gateway Staff visitor numbers
Again I have taken the two week trend which shows around 170-190 staff (120 teachers plus support staff) a day access the staff section of the Gateway during the 9 school days shown above. On the snow day this was impressively high with over 150 staff choosing to login and complete work online.
Twynham School Staff Gateway
From the usage analysis during the recent snow day it seems clear that the TwynhamLearning Gateways are an embedded aspect of both student and staff use. Both groups clearly use it to support both learning and teaching beyond the classroom. Its impact was further made clear to a member of staff at The Year 14 presentation evening held on Wednesday 6thJanuary. A student now studying Sociology at LSE asked if she could have access to the Learning Gateways for her first year at University. When asked what the reason for this was she said she missed the quality and ease of availability of resources that she could get from Twynham School’s Learning Gateway.