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Home >> News >> Becta Award Winner, Clunbury Primary School shows how its focus on creativity and online communities has inspired pupil collaboration and engagement

Becta Award Winner, Clunbury Primary School shows how its focus on creativity and online communities has inspired pupil collaboration and engagement

Becta Award Winner, Clunbury Primary School shows how its focus on creativity and online communities has inspired pupil collaboration and engagement

Edujam - 19th February 2008

Clunbury Church of England Primary is a small rural school with big educational vision. Based in Shropshire and with 65 pupils on role, the school is run by Head Andy Davis, a keen blogger with a creative approach to implementing ICT across the curriculum. In November 07, Clunbury School won the Becta ICT Excellence Award for the best whole primary school. With technology viewed as an important enabler of teaching and learning, the school not only has a thriving computer club for parents, children and the community, collaborates with other schools but also a highly developed website blog that features parent and staff forums.

The success of the school blog led Andy Davis to think about further developing the idea of a collaborative learning environment. He wanted a platform that would continue to encourage peer assessment but also enable the publication and sharing of all art forms, from writing through to animations, movies and podcasts. In June 2007 Clunbury Primary implemented Edujam, a learning platform where children’s creativity is king. Providing a personalised, safe and creative arena for pupils, teachers and parents, Edujam has enabled Clunbury School pupils to publish and share their work within the school community, building upon the Head’s vision of pupil inclusion, collaboration and enhanced learning experiences.
Andy Davis was initially attracted to Edujam by its professional look with its bright, clear colours and self explanatory lay out. He explains; “Today’s children are sophisticated ICT users who are comfortable with Microsoft Office and other ICT applications. If a system is too basic and simplistic it can feel patronising and turn them off. However equally, if systems are too complex, children cannot move forward without constant teacher intervention. Edujam succeeds in incorporating ease of use with a professional look – there are several options for publishing work but they are presented in a way that pupils can understand and work out themselves, encouraging independent learning.”

Using ICT to enhance learning through a wide range of mediums is integral to Clunbury School’s success. The school has found that using Edujam alongside its blog as a means of encouraging creativity has resulted in pupil engagement right across the curriculum. Within Edujam, online published content is led by the learners. Every learner has his or her own personalised space and can work individually or collaboratively to create a ‘jam session’. Learners can publish their work using a range of art forms such as Eduscribe for writing, Edugallery for visual art, Edusounds for audio, interviews and even musical performances and Edutheatre for video. The work is then assessed by a teacher before being published onto the school online stage.

Andy Davis commented; “Edujam has opened up a whole new world of learning and collaboration. Children always need a real reason and purpose to learn, no matter what the subject. Through publishing their work on the Edujam stage, our pupils are opening up their work for peer assessment and public display within the school community, giving them a real sense of pride and satisfaction. It makes what they do in the classroom real and offers them a sense of ownership and achievement. As well as their own resources, teachers can use pupils’ work as teaching tools which is a fantastic way of promoting good work. The publishing facility of Edujam has also brought about a particularly positive effect on our teaching assistants who have felt more empowered and included in both classes and homework.”

Within Edujam, pupils are encouraged to become creative producers – responsible not only for developing and publishing their own content but also for reviewing and commenting on their peers’ work. Peer assessment is at the heart of Clunbury School’s vision for empowering learners and creating a successful collaborative environment.
Andy commented’ ‘We have always encouraged peer assessment through our blog and are now able to take this a step further with Edujam. All pupils are encouraged to publish work, in whatever art form they prefer, and invite other pupils to mark it. We have developed a 3 star guideline which means that a child marking a piece of work must offer three comments of praise and one suggestion for improvement. As a result, the online stage environment becomes an arena for constructive, positive criticism and dialogue. And because it is only available within our school community and is moderated by our teachers, we know that this communication and dialogue is completely safe.”

Enabling this level of pupil interaction and collaboration within a safe environment was key to the development of Edujam. Clunbury School believes in embracing all kinds of new technology and this kind of social networking facility, when used in a safe environment can bring excellent educational benefits. Through Edujam, the school has been able to empower its learners to take responsibility for their own actions and comments, advancing their online citizenship skills.

Creating independent and motivated learners is important to Clunbury School. Using the Edujam portal, pupils have been able to take their learning and achievements into their home and see learning as an ongoing process – not just something that happened in the classroom. All their published work can be shared with their parents and homework can be uploaded from home rather than having to bring it physically into school the next day.
Andy Davis commented; “Edujam has enabled pupils to build up an online portfolio of their work – a portfolio that they can access anytime, anywhere and share with whomever they wish. In the past much of children’s work, for example art, has only been displayed on school walls – not really made available for general viewing. Now, through the Edujam portal, children can share it with their parents, grandparents, friends – anyone they wish, helping engender a real sense of pride in their work. It also means that parents can take a much more active role in their child’s learning and support that child’s achievements from home.”

For Clunbury School, one of the key benefits of Edujam is the way in which its creative approach has encouraged equal opportunities in learning. Every child learns differently and is good at expressing him or herself in different ways. Through the various art forms in Edujam, children who are less comfortable with writing can choose different media, such as imagery, pod casts or MP3 recordings to publish their work. Regardless of ability, age or style of learning, every child can feel like a creative producer and have the chance to demonstrate his or her achievement. Andy commented; “The rich art forms within Edujam are extremely popular with our pupils. Some children prefer to express ideas through writing whereas some may be far better at explaining them vocally. If we are to take scientific experiments for example, it is more important that a child is able to show his or her understanding of the concept rather than show his ability to write about it. Using MP3 recordings, children can talk through their ideas and express their understanding effectively in a way that is comfortable for them. Publishing these recordings within Edujam means that their work can be shared and celebrated, just as much as if it was a written piece of work.”

Since implementing Edujam in June 2007, Clunbury School has never looked back. Constantly embracing new technology and new possibilities, Andy Davis sees a huge amount of potential for the creative learning platform, from building a stronger school community to collaborating with other primary schools, not just within his local authority and a wider national scale. Andy commented; “Overall we have been really impressed with the new dimensions that Edujam has added to teaching and learning in Clunbury School. It has proved a valuable extension to our school website and blog and has been instrumental in our constant bid to involve the wider school community in our pupils’ achievements.”

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