The Cranford Common Room
The Cranford Common Room is a shared space for all members of the school community, including staff, students, parents/guardians and the Governing body. A hub of activity, the room was handed over to a group of students to look after and manage, giving them the chance to decide what was relevant for their teachers and peers to discuss and learn about together.
Barbara Lodge, eLearning Director
Handing over the Cranford Common Room to the students
Barbara Lodge, Cranford's eLearning Director and VLE Administrator, identified a small group of high achieving year 11s who were using Fronter on a daily basis and often contributing to the discussion forums. She approached the students to discuss the idea of forming a small student body to become responsible for the shared space of the Cranford Common Room. All of the students approached were excited about the idea of taking on more responsibility, learning to use Fronter and driving development and usage forward. They had lots of ideas for content and design and were eager to start.
The Student Moderator Group is born
A training session was arranged and the students were shown how to use the room tools in Fronter. At the same time a Moderator's Room was set up for the students to use to discuss ideas and design. Students were quick to set up their own forums and also enjoyed using the whiteboard tool to exchange their ideas in the evenings. Once the group had decided on a vision the students were given Owner level access to the Common Room area and started work!
What happens in the Cranford Common Room?
The students regularly publish news and also create forums for discussion. Some of the topics the community have been talking about include file sharing, the use of Facebook and the ethics of stem cell research. Cranford hosted their own version of the London Mayoral elections. Students could click on the candidates and read about them before using the Voting tool to cast their own votes.
The impact has been significant. Visits to the Common Room have more than tripled since the students took over. It has also provided a new way for students and staff to communicate. It's a great way for the school to bring current affairs to the students and to encourage students to put across their opinions in a safe and secure environment. An unforeseen but welcome development has been expanding the students' responsibilities. Some of the student moderators are now also working with departments to help them create and design their own subject rooms. The room really has become a 'first stop' when visiting Fronter and is a gateway into the learning environment for many students, leading them on to explore other rooms.
Fast Facts - Cranford Community College
- Type of School: Secondary school, Specialist Language College
- Fronter users since 2007
- No. Students: 1394
- No. Staff: 105 teaching, 64 support staff
- Up to 700 visitors to the Cranford Common room per day