Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Oaks Park High School use VC to Promote Reading for Pleasure

Oaks Park High School (OPHS) in the London Borough of Redbridge have been using video conferencing to host children's author events via video conference to allow their local primary and secondary schools to take part and promote reading for pleasure. OPHS are a National Janet(UK) Award winning school (2012) for their exemplar use of VC in teaching and learning .

Linda Hayes, Learning Resource Centre Manager at OPHS, has been organising authors to attend her school.  She has used a secure and interoperable VC connection, using the JVCS booking service, and AVer ClassHD. This has enabled the school to connect to other local schools all using VC hardware and share author costs.

Conrad Mason, children's author who took part in his first multipoint VC on November 13th, quotes:  The quality of audio and video was excellent  and it was good for me to experience this because I was able to speak and interact with five schools at once without having to travel to each of them. It saved me a lot of time. This is something I would definitely like to do again.

 Year 8 pupils at OPHS school who have taken part in VC sessions meeting a number of authors including Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Horowitz, Anne Cassidy and Sally Gardner said:
"Video conferencing is a great way to meet the authors of books you read and find out about why they wrote the book and ask them questions".
"Meeting the authors by video conference lets you meet other schools too and hear what other pupils from other schools think".

 Authors can cost up to £350.00 per half day to visit a school. (some do offer promotional sessions through their publishers which are at lower cost or free).

OPHS were able to share the cost of one author with four other schools.  Manford Primary School, Redbridge Primary, Ilford County High School, and Highlands Primary were all able to meet Conrad Mason and ask him questions about writing, his books and his career. OPHS have connected with over 10 authors over the past year and each time they have been able to share costs with 3- 4 other schools. What an excellent way to save money and bring experts into multiple classrooms.

Linda Hayes quotes: Reading for pleasure is proven to raise a child's reading level far quicker than just reading to learn. This is why the Redbridge VC Network was established and we are aiming to bring authors into our classrooms through secure multipoint conference calls on a regular basis using AVer ClassHD. At OPHS we have used a number of different VC hardware products and have found AVer ClassHD to be a comparable system to other more expensive units.

Benefits to the Curriculum:

Encouraging reading for pleasure:
What are the benefits of reading for pleasure?

  • Children who say they enjoy reading for pleasure are more likely to score well on reading assessments compared to pupils who said they enjoyed reading less
  • There is some evidence to show that reading for pleasure is a more important determinant of children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status
  • It can have a positive impact on pupils’ emotional and social behaviour
  • It can have a positive impact on text comprehension and grammar.

What OPHS did to connect to share authors with local schools:

The school wanted to video conference using a secure, interoperable, high quality video link, one that they could use regularly and reliably to connect with schools locally to bring experts (authors) into classrooms.   The solution had to meet safeguarding regulations and offer high quality audio and video for speaking and listening.

1. They used an affordable VC codec (for the cost of only 3 ipads) the AVer ClassHD
2. With installation support from Aver and their Schools IT unit. The school installed the hardware onto their network.
3. With support from VCfL the school registered with Janet VC services and booked conferences to local schools via  JVCS booking system.
4. OPHS contacted publishers and arranged for authors to attend their school.
5. OPHS were able to share costs of authors with any participating schools.

What your school needs to connect securely to other schools via video conference:

1. VC hardware - affordable, secure and providing a high quality, reliable connection.
see. AVer ClassHD
2. A broadband connection that supports VC - see DfE guidelines here
3. Registration on JVCS

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