Lawthorn Primary School is situated in Irvine, North Ayrshire and opened in the year 2000. There are 14 classes plus an Early Years Class. There are over 400 children in the school.
One of the ways in which we give all the children in the school a voice, is Community Groups. Every child in the school is part of a community group. Each of the groups has a unique purpose, but all contribute to the wider school. Examples of these groups include: the Pupil Council, the Eco-Committee, Buddies and Play Leaders and Promoting other languages.
Communication is an important aspect of these groups as they all want to share the work they are doing with the other pupils and staff in the school, we do this using sites in O365. Within the group, two or three children are allocated the role of ‘Reporters’. It is their responsibility to record the progress and any decisions that have been made in their community sites. Within our school site every group has their own sub-site that is dedicated to them and can be visited by everyone in the school community.
Community Groups Page
Prior to our use of O365, we used scrapbooks to record what was happening in each community group. This presented challenges when it came to sharing the progress of each group with the rest of the school. The huge advantage of using O365 is that each site can be accessed at any time by anyone in the school. Teachers can share the sites with their own classes after community group times and pupils can visit them in their own time, and can also comment on the work of others.
The format for each group is very simple and each group contains four apps: Newsfeed, Picture Gallery, Documents Library and Task Manager and groups are able to chose how and if they use each one. Each group also personalise their own page – no two pages are the same.
Newsfeeds are very well used by each of the groups and give the children the opportunity to express themselves, communicate and report in their own words.
The reporters in the groups update the Newsfeeds each time there is a community group meeting. They can also add photos on to their site’s Photo Gallery, add files in to their Document Library and use the Task Manager App to create a ‘to do’ list which they can use to create a visual time line.
The Various Apps from the groups
As well as the obvious advantages in communication there are also many opportunities for the promotion of Internet Safety. The sites, the Newsfeeds in particular, give children the opportunity to practise social networking in a controlled environment and this is used as a stimulus to discuss what is appropriate to post and who the audience is.
In conclusion using community sites within O365, gives learners a platform for online dialogue and makes them active participants in their own learning. Glow as a whole is an excellent vehicle in which to take forward digital learning, not just through O365 sites but also in many other ways such as blogs, apps and email. The capabilities of what can be achieved through Glow are always broadening and never static, just like the world of technology, allowing teachers to continue to stretch and challenge their children.