Monthly Archives

March 2018

Let’s talk – safely

Working with children, young people and schools around the ‘difficult issues’ of extremism, exploitation and violence is often framed as negative and scary. Technology is seen as both the problem and the solution – a vehicle through which young people may be exploited or radicalised or a cure-all through which to reach large numbers of people, especially youth, to create counter narratives or anti-extremism content. While both of these perspectives hold validity, the bridging of the online and offline worlds – both of which young people and adults inhabit – is minimal. Large social media platforms cannot tell exactly who is engaging through their platforms, while schools remain a predominantly face to face experience.

Through an exciting new partnership, The Wonder Why Society and ConnectFutures will bridge these worlds to enhance learning and build resilience to negative influence. The Wonder Why Society is a 100% moderated, online learning space, created to help primary school children to develop the skills and digital know-how required to succeed post education. This is technology that enhances rather than replaces face to face contact and learning. At The Wonder Why Society we use our bespoke online platform as a youth-friendly, wide reaching and flexible medium that allows content developed by ConnectFutures to enable young people and teachers to approach these subjects in engaging, positive, and practical ways. Through stories, missions and debates with Wonder Why ‘characters’ – from fake news to resilience to recruitment techniques – young people can participate in activities designed to tackle the tough issues in fun, constructive ways. The platform, which is carefully moderated by The Wonder Why team, enables teachers to monitor and evaluative activities, embedding them in classroom activities and the wider curriculum. When issues arise that require more intense offline engagement, the system allows us to identify a young person and the relevant teacher. This is the creation of a safe, moderated online space, with direct connection to real world learning, to address the issues young people and schools can find most challenging.

So if your school is currently tackling the issue of how to embed Prevent and British values into your curriculum look no further. The solution is here and it’s free to state schools.

How can The Wonder Why Society help you to complete your Ofsted checklist?

According to TES, 75%of teachers say that Ofsted Inspections cause them “anxiety and depression”* The pressure teachers feel to meet expectations  placed on them is immeasurable. We want to help. Here at The Wonder Why society, we provide a safe online space which allows children, teachers and industry experts to learn together. By setting challenges and introducing new topics, the society connects children and schools from all over the UK. It takes down the walls of your classroom to bring a whole new dimension to learning.

We supply education providers with inspiring and original materials mapped to the curriculum, with topics covering key Ofsted requirements such as SMSC, British values and the prevent strategy. The projects and topics shared throughout the site encourage children to develop critical and higher order thinking skills.

Ofsted requires the teaching of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. These are big topics, inviting challenging questions and responses. Teaching them can seem like a daunting task. However, at the Wonder Why Society, we want to lessen this challenge for educators, by providing easily accessible resources, that aide the facilitation of high quality topic provision and learning.

The same goes for the teaching of the Prevent Strategy, which involves safeguarding vulnerable young people from radicalisation. The Wonder Why Society encourages students to voice different views, demonstrating that opinions are different to facts and ideas should be supported with an informed evidence base. We give children the opportunity to develop a voice and discuss the issues concerning them, in a safe and controlled environment. This space also allows for the open discussion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Every school in England needs to promote, and be able to show pupil progress in SMSC. The ability to openly discuss these topics, paired with the resources we provide, makes for a meaningful and effective learning experience.

Not only this, but The Wonder Why Society platform acts as a safeguarding tool. Ofsted requires children to understand how to keep themselves safe from relevant risks such as abuse, sexual exploitation and extremism, including when using the internet and social media. Also, children are required to be personally prepared to respect others and contribute to wider society and life in Britain. Through interaction with other students online, in our environment, children are simultaneously discovering how to treat others online whilst also learning how to embrace a safe online place.

The tool offered by The Wonder Why Society is immensely flexible and easy to use. To see if you can lift a weight of your shoulders during inspection, why not visit www.thewonderwhysociety.co.uk and give it a try?

To wonder or not to wonder…..

The Wonder Why Society are delighted to announce our new partnership with arts and education charity Shakespeare Schools Foundation (SSF), who run the world’s largest youth drama project.
We are excited to be working with SSF on our shared goals of giving young people across the UK the confidence to succeed in life.
Through their annual Festival, which reaches approximately 1000 schools and 30,000 young people every year, SSF empower children from all backgrounds to bolster aspirations and improve life chances.
By partnering with The Wonder Why Society, children taking part in the Festival from all over the country will be able to collaborate, share stories and support each other via the platform.
Schools using The Wonder Why Society will also be able to access exciting Shakespeare resources via the platform, helping teachers to make teaching Shakespeare exciting and fun to teach!

Education is more than knowledge alone

The headline that is music to our ears. Ahead of his speech to the Association of School and College Leaders CBI President Paul Drechsler CBE will call on policymakers to make education in England about more than results and knowledge recall and to prioritise teaching that encourages thoughts, questions, creativity and teamworking.

He continues, emphasising the need to improve education so that we develop “rounded”  work-ready individuals.

In addition, The World Economic Forum* reports that 65% of tomorrow’s workers will be in jobs that do not exist today. Introducing digital skills, increasing online awareness and improving industry know-how are essential in ensuring young learners can leave school prepared and ready to succeed in life.

The Wonder Why Society and Bridgr our 100% moderated online learning spaces, create connections between teachers, primary school children and industry experts, allowing them to collaborate, innovate and learn together. Breaking down the barriers of the traditional classroom, the spaces are changing the way children learn by providing them with essential digital skills and valuable insight into the world of work.

Sam Fisher, CEO explains; “In school, the focus on passing tests and regurgitating information can be at the expense of encouraging wonder and inspiring innovative thinking. We know that creativity and innovation are essential skills in our emerging digital world and this is the reason we created the Wonder Why Society and why we are launching Bridgr in Spring 2018.

“We are providing a safe space where children can learn, discover, and ask questions about the world they live in. Our online environment allows learners to create, debate and innovate, children can learn about ever-evolving industries, straight from professionals, to set them up for a job in the future.”

We are currently inviting industry partners to be part of this exciting new development so that we can continue to offer this service free of charge to state schools.

Both The Wonder Why Society and Bridgr provide organisations and companies with an opportunity to work with young people and teachers in a completely new way. Benefits for industry partners include;

  • A unique opportunity to collaborate with schools of all types across the UK
  • Address the skills gap and create real social change
  • Have a permanent place in the classroom
  • Inspire young children to learn about the world of work
  • Opportunity to measure all activity and assess impact
  • Create and empower an effective future workforce

For more information on our work in primary schools visit www.thewonderwhysociety.com or bridgr.co.uk to see our secondary school site launching soon.