This afternoon I was booked into a school to provide a half day CPD on the J2E suite that the school has purchased. As they use a Learning Platform, it was decided to access the software through that (although as I’ve said before, it runs outside of an LP). Anyway, whilst speaking to Danny, MD of J2E, he mentioned a new addition to the range, J2Webby. You can follow the link to see what it does, but simply, it makes it a doddle for pupils to publish their work online and allow others to comment on it. It’s a blog, but it blogs the JIT/J2E work, not just text.
They’ve ‘tweaked’ WordPress to remove most of the bits that’d cause confusion and provided a product that not only does the above, all with eSafety in mind, but allows a school to add its own pages and make a website. Now there are plenty of decent school website building tools out there, but I’ve not seen one that makes publishing pupils’ work so smooth. OK, it’s designed to provide an enhancement to JIT/J2E, and I’ve enthused about those products elsewhere on this blog but I have to say I was mightily impressed with the slickness of the whole process. I’m not surprised it won a BETT award, (for ICT tools in Teaching and Learning) and can see why use in the London Grid for Learning has taken off since the introduction of J2Webby.
I’d love to provide a link to the school site, but it was a teacher CPD session and you know what teachers are like. Some of the blog entries are good fun, but maybe not for publishing to a wider audience:) I’ll update this when the pupils post work and some of the entries done today are removed, mine included!
One thing that did cross my mind when I saw that LGfL had procured/purchased this for all their schools was that sometimes LA/RBC procurements meant schools didn’t engage with or use a product purchased on their behalf, for all sorts of reasons. However the financial benefits for ‘mass purchase’ are significant and the benefits of a core suite of software for the city’s pupils does have some advantages.
Could Hull adopt J2E/JIt/J2Webby as its core primary software suite? Well, it could….. but? Perhaps the nearest we’ll get in these days of altered funding streams, academies, free schools, etc is a group of schools taking an aggregated purchase.