At Tailhan school in Palaiseau, practically all the teachers (six out of seven classes) have been using ONE since the start of the school year. We looked back over this year of use with Mr. Nicoleau, a year 4 and 5 teacher and the school’s VLE advisor.
Blogging in all its forms
Since the start of the year, the school’s use of ONE has been driven by the blog.
- The class blog, all the teachers are doing it!
In each class, the teachers have set up a blog to inform families about pupils’ activities and illustrate the text with photos. “For the lower year levels, it’s mainly the teachers who write accounts of what goes on in class. The older the pupils, the more they write and create content themselves.” In Mr. Nicoleau’s class, the pupils publish most of the posts. Every week, a different pupil is appointed class journalist, whose task is to write an account of what was done in class or on outings. Pupils can use the school’s computer room or one of the classroom’s two computers to write their posts.
- A blog for school camp
A school trip to Normandy was an ideal opportunity for Mr. Nicoleau to set up a blog for the two year 4 and 5 classes. As the school had eight tablets on loan from the Ministry of Education, the pupils were able to write some of the posts straight away. “A great advantage with the tablets was that we could write about our activities practically in real time and keep parents updated, which was much appreciated.”
- The pupil’s page
On the “pupil’s page” blog, the children submit articles they write at home as and when they choose. As long as they respect the publication charter (adequate spelling, a subject relevant to the class and lessons), Mr. Nicoleau posts them online.
The mailbox as a means of communication between classes
In Mr. Nicoleau’s class, an original game has been instituted through the VLE. A pupil sends a message – a riddle for example – to all the pupils and teachers in the school. Pupils are then able to reply. Some of them log in to ONE and play the game very often. Setting up this exercise was a great way to teach pupils how to reply to one person or to a whole group (reply all).
The school has several composite (multi-age) classes. Classmates might be separated from one year to the next, but they are often keen to keep in contact, which the riddles game allows them to do. This makes the mailbox very popular with pupils. “The children use the mailbox a lot independently,” says Mr. Nicoleau.
For their part, the teachers have mainly been using the mailbox to communicate with parents and keep them informed about school administration and organisation. For example, the mailbox was used to provide families with a brochure about the school camp (a document made available in the ONE filespace) and to send out reminders about important meetings and appointments.
Other uses are planned for next year, such as sending out invitations to performances or kicking off mathematics or technology challenges.
Plans abound for developing the educational uses of ONE over the next school year
Beyond keeping families informed, what Mr. Nicoleau finds most worthwhile with ONE is its power to get pupils working on their writing and to build their independence with the various features available.
The first goal for next year is for the children to work with the multimedia notebook, particularly for preparing presentations. Pupils will be able to create and organise their multimedia notebook at home or in the school computer room, and present the results of their research to their classmates by projecting the notebook on the interactive whiteboard (IWB) in the classroom. With the multimedia library on hand in the filespace, the teacher will be able make photos or pictures available to students to illustrate their books.
Mr. Nicoleau would like to encourage the children to make more “active” use of the various apps. In the filespace, for example, the aim is to teach pupils to upload a document, share a document with other users, organise folders and browse through available content.
The whole school really took to the VLE this year. The goal now is to develop a more extensive use of ONE next year, both in terms of pupils’ work and of systematic contact with families. As Mr. Nicoleau points out, it’s a question of habit. If parents are sent information regularly, if the school raises awareness about how easy ONE makes it to find out what’s going on at school, the VLE will become a familiar tool for parents and pupils alike.