Last week, The Penrith Hub Frog Portal was recognised as one of the top 50 innovations from over 350 people, projects and products at the #edtech50 Awards held at Amazon HQ in London. Other well known organisations also recognised in the list include: Literacy Shed, Times Table Rock Stars, ClickView and fellow Cumbrian Carmel Bones.
The Penrith Hub brings together staff and resources from 9 schools across the Eden Valley. North Lakes School, who use the FrogLearn Virtual Learning Environment, came up with the idea of adapting Frog’s existing technology and approached them with the idea. The project is managed by Martyn Soulsby, Computing Lead & Leadership Team at North Lakes. He collaborated with Frog and adapted their Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) Intranet to produce a bespoke ‘Hub’ site for the 9 schools to help them in working together.
“Developing ‘The Penrith Hub’ has been both exciting and challenging. The ability to create a bespoke portal which meets the needs of our cluster, promotes collaboration and contributes to workload reduction means we can enhance teaching and learning across our schools and share good practice.” Martyn Soulsby, Frog Champion, North Lakes School
The original motivation for the Hub was to centralise information and to reduce workload, creating ‘one source of the truth’, ensuring there is no duplication of effort. The Hub enables staff to share information, collaborate, and reduce emails. They can add notices, and share in forums and polls. The Hub also contains subject specific areas (mini-hubs) so that subject leads across the schools can communicate, collaborate, share resources and moderate.
“The Frog Portal is a great way for our cluster to work collaboratively together in an effective and efficient way. The file sharing and calendar is certainly a good way of reducing teacher workload. It is easy to navigate, and Frog has been fantastic at listening and responding to our cluster’s needs.” Tom Armstrong, Head Teacher, Culgaith School
The Penrith Hub currently reaches 9 schools, 100 teachers and will soon welcome governors and support staff too. There are currently mini-hubs for the Headteachers, English, Maths, Early Years, Computing and Online Safety with plans for Science, Governors and other Foundation Subjects in the pipeline.
“It is so much easier to share information in one place, where it can be stored securely for future access and reference. In the past sending messages and attachments via email had security issues, difficulties in reaching the correct source and colleagues often reporting problems.” Sharon Sanderson. Head Teacher, Brunswick School.
The Edtech 50 is a celebration of the people, products and projects shaping this dynamic and growing sector across the UK. EdTech is growing across Britain and Northern Ireland – supportive for educators, learners, and, if implemented well helps improve education.
“The introduction of the Frog Portal for the Penrith Hub has been warmly welcomed by all schools involved. This now provides us with a secure, easy-to-access platform where we can share key information and documents. It’s a single information point for dates, documents and key contact details. The Hub also provides a vehicle for ongoing dialogue and discussion, which will add greatly to the way we collaborate.” Mike Pincombe, Head Teacher, North Lakes School
Previously, North Lakes school was recognised for its Best Use of Technology in the 2017 Golden Apple awards for its work with Frog Education and has recently shared their good practice, including the Penrith Hub site at the Leap of Knowledge Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
The Penrith Hub of Schools is: Appleby Primary, Beaconside Cof E Primary, Brunswick School, Clifton Primary, Culgaith CofE School, Lowther Endowed School, North Lakes School, Shap CofE School, St Catherine’s RC School
Edtech50 Publication http://www.ednfoundation.org/download-edtech-yearbook/
Penrith Hub Case Study https://www.frogeducation.com/community/inspiration/case-studies/ruralschools