All Posts By

Samantha Fisher

Staying safe online

wws online safety

Today is Safer Internet Day. The media is painting our world with online safety stories, hints and tips.

As we raise our first truly digital generation, parents and teachers not only face the stress of teaching their children how to deal with issues that arise in everyday life, but also the complexity of teaching online safety.  From text messaging and online video channels to social networking sites and the latest live streaming platforms, it is a minefield.

Parents and professionals face the constant questions; How do you teach your child or your pupils to interact online? Who should you they be talking to? What personal information should they be giving out? Do they understand the potential consequences? The answers to an adult are obvious, however managing it and keeping on top of it is not easy. It’s also not possible to expect complete success through a one off lesson. Safety, managing our digital footprint needs to be embedded into everyday life. Caution about what we share, who we connect with and taking ownership of the internet needs to become part of the education landscape.

At The Wonder Why Society, online safety sits at the heart of everything we do. Our learning community needs to be 100% safe. That’s why we moderate every single post and have rigid reporting mechanisms to deal with any safeguarding concerns.
When we received a post from a child about online grooming we flagged it with the school immediately. The Safeguarding Lead from the school, has since reported back to us that following our concern being raised, “It came to light that there had been potential incidents of grooming with one of our pupils in particular using an app (movie star planet) but two other girls were identified as frequent users on this app thus posing at risk. Police, parents and the local safeguarding board were all informed.”

“I would like to acknowledge the tight and rigorous moderation process you have set up at Wonder Why but also the effective way of informing schools.  Due to your quick response and identification, a situation was dealt with effectively with no serious outcome to the young children at risk.”

Online safety, following the rules, digital citizenship, questioning and thinking is woven into the fabric of The Wonder Why Society. Just by using it children naturally learn the rules and our teachers guide them, offering further help.

Our moderation service is a built in feature of the service we offer schools. The platform is free of charge to all state primaries.  A service that we wouldn’t be able to offer without the support of our partners Ryman and Birmingham Airport. So thanks goes to them too.

This post was difficult to write, but talking about online safety for children, posting about it and having that conversation must be done everyday. No matter how difficult that may be. Because we must keep our children safe online.

The Wonder Why Society is free to state primary schools.

 

Let’s work together

The UK has a major skills gap. It’s a problem that we are all aware of. Youth unemployment across Europe amongst 16-24 year olds is historically high and rising. As new types of jobs evolve the skills gap can only get bigger unless businesses and schools work together to change outcomes. Learners need more than ever to understand the purpose of why they need to learn certain things.

This issue starts at the root of learning. Education shouldn’t be just about gathering knowledge, it should be about understanding why we need it and then what we can do with it. Knowledge is power, but it needs to have purpose.

Every employer that I talk to wants employees to have creativity and to be able to think for themselves. However, everyone knows the curriculum has become so rigid and target focussed that it’s knocking the passion out of learning. Learning should be fun and engaging, because that passion is what drives innovation.

My plea to businesses is simple – you know where the shortfalls are, so it’s time to skill up our future work force and inspire learners. Experts should be influencing, be thought leaders, spreading their drive and passion to empower future generations.

It’s not just learners who need the support of businesses. School leaders are crying out for business people to act as governors, especially in the most deprived areas where uptake in these roles is low. We must work together to build a strong vibrant economy.

Collaboration is key. Let’s join the dots and bring learners, educators and businesses together.

 

We’re at Bett Show 2018!

PRESS RELEASE

Teachers at BETT invited to explore a new online world of innovative learning

Teachers visiting this year’s BETT Show can meet the team from The Wonder Why Society (stand P36), and discover the very latest in innovative online learning.

The Wonder Why Society is a revolutionary learning environment, providing children with safe, 100% moderated access to an online world of discovery and innovation. The Wonder Why Society is FREE to state schools and teachers can sign up immediately by visiting the team on stand P36.

The Wonder Why Society gives teachers;

  • a moderated learning environment
  • free lesson resources
  • opportunities to embed online safety and digital skills
  • the chance to encourage critical thinking amongst pupils and develop their natural curiosity of the world.

Young learners can access an inspirational online environment to learn in and accomplish activities linked to real-world industries, helping to raise aspirations and bridge the skills gap. Children can collaborate with classmates and virtual peers, whilst increasing their digital capability and confidence.

The Wonder Why Society also acts as a parental engagement tool, where work can be accesses and shared in the home setting.

For more information and to sign up visit www.thewonderwhysociety.com or visit our stand in BETT Futures P36.

When I grow up I want to be

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? A police officer, a chef, a musician, a scientist? Or was it a ‘regurgitator’? A machine that takes information, retains it until it is redundant, and hurls it back out when prompted?

Bizarre as this concept may seem, this is what our school system is doing today creating people that can regurgitate. 65% of tomorrow’s workers will be in jobs that do not exist today, so why are we teaching them to simply recall information that is very likely to be redundant at that time, without them gaining any inherent value.

The current curriculum favours those who can simply retain information. Amanda Spielman, the Ofsted Chief Inspector, has claimed that too many schools in England are guilty of avoiding a curriculum of study with teaching to the test. So what about those not those who are free thinkers, manually talented, those who are witty and quick, and much, much more.

According to CBI/Pearson research, the majority of primary school children will be ‘turned off’ to key subjects like maths and science by the age of 10 and crucially this is leading to a skills gap. This is why change is needed, children need a place to be intuitive, to learn, to discover, to ask questions about the world they live in. Wonder rules.

This is the reason we created the Wonder Why Society, so young learners can do exactly this. They can create, debate and innovate, all whilst learning about ever evolving industries, straight from professionals, to set them up for a job that may not exist now.

Visit www.thewonderwhysociety.co.uk/sign-me-up/  free to state schools.

Pens at the ready for our new partnership

We are delighted to announce our partnership with Ryman, the high street stationery retailer with heaps more to offer.

Aiming to inspire disengaged children in an aspirational environment, our fully moderated online community safely connects children to learn all about the world. It gives teachers inspiring materials and makes it easy for businesses to work with children in an interactive and engaging environment.

Ryman’s new partnership means lots of exciting educational content housed on The Wonder Why Society website for children to interact with, learn from and engage with, including competitions where children can showcase their work, their talents and win cool prizes!

Ryman believe that working with young people and inspiring future generations is central to future innovation and enterprise and by working with a business like The Wonder Why Society, Ryman can make an investment in their future. “It’s important to consider the changes happening in education and how younger generations are learning today. This is a great opportunity for Ryman to help Wonder Why in delivering a richer learning experience related to the industry, a side some children will not get to learn about until they get their first job.” says Dean Morris, Marketing Director for Ryman.

Samantha Fisher our CEO, said, “We are delivering a really exciting new way for children to learn with each other and with industry experts. We are opening up a whole new world to learners and really looking forward to working with Ryman to engage children, motivate them to learn independently and introduce them to the world of work at an early age so they can aspire to be whatever they want to be.”

Be A Pioneer!

From Scott to Berners-Lee and Newton to Pankhurst, Britain is renowned for its ground breaking inventors and explorers. What did all these people have in common? They wondered. Without that curiosity they wouldn’t have started their journey of discovery and gone on to achieve something great and inspirational. Children love to be creative and through The Wonder Why Society they can stimulate their imaginations and feed their curiosity, the minds of children have no limits.

The Wonder Why Society is an online collaborative learning community that safely connects children, teachers and industry experts in one place. We add exciting content which inspires children and engages them in their learning. It can be used in any subject and by any child, regardless of their age or academic ability.

Our current wonderers are talking about about a pink lake, a duck with a 3D printed foot. They are also debating whether dabbing should be banned in schools and if it is ever ok to bully someone.

So put your learners on a top secret mission of discovery. Be the pioneers! It’s free to state primary schools.

Build A Meaningful Bridge Between Business and Education

Do you believe that your business has the capacity to bring about social change? Or at least, would you like to expand its potential to do such a thing? The next generation of engineers, scientists, writers, artists, are all currently learning about the world around them; getting ready to explore their full potential.

As a business, it is important that you can help to inspire these children to learn about the world of work by getting involved in their school and local community; all whilst helping young learners engage with your brand and teach them about your industry and corporate goals. Often, this is easier said than done; but we believe we may have the solution.

The Wonder Why Society is a fully moderated online teaching and learning community.

Why not work with us so we can help change the way that we work and learn together. We provide a seamless link between your workplace and the classroom, allowing you to inspire learners across the country no matter where you are based. It allows your company to take your expertise directly into the classroom.

Your individual business zone allows you to host curriculum resources and mentor and inspire learners virtually. Not got those resources? No problem! We can write them for you!

We can also write stories, create animations and interactive content that will make your business zone the talk of the classroom!

We moderate every post on the site so it’s completely safe for all users.  Everyone can freely explore our inspiring, engaging and aspirational environment. We help you add value to both children’s development and your organisational well being. The platform gives you a permanent presence that children and teachers can access in and out of the classroom, extending the reach of any work you currently do in schools.

Join us at The Wonder Why Society – where learning has no limits.

Visit www.thewonderwhysociety.com/industry to find out how you can work with us.

Birmingham Airport takes children’s learning to the skies

Here at The Wonder Why Society, we are really excited to announce our official partnership with Birmingham International Airport. By inspiring children to enjoy learning, The Wonder Why Society is tackling two social problems, disengaged learners and the skills gap; a goal that Birmingham International Airport also upholds. By working together, we hope to improve economic, social and environmental well-being.

Through the platform children will be able to interact in Birmingham Airport’s Zone, connecting with exciting information about everyday life at Birmingham International Airport.

We believe that to make long-lasting social change we need to engage young learners, inform them about the world they live in, and the role they have to play so they grow into motivated purposeful adults. Being involved makes a huge difference to learning outcomes, confidence, and helps shape children to be responsible global citizens.

Jo Lloyd, Commercial Director said, “We have always believed that supporting the education of young people is one of the most effective ways in which we can invest in our region’s future. The Wonder Why Society is an innovative way for us to take our education programme forward in an exciting and dynamic direction.”

The Wonder Why Society helps its partners to meet the core aims of their skills gap and CSR strategies by creating social impact and communicating core business strategies, to involve and inspire young people; so why not get in contact today? Visit our website www.thewonderwhysociety.co.uk, or email hello@thewonderwhysociety.co.uk

“Do think about getting involved; you’ll wonder why it has never been done before…”

Starting a business is really hard, yes you are driven by pure passion and yes, you are doing it because you want to, because you want to make a difference. No-one is making you do anything. But that doesn’t make it easy. Along the way, you meet lots of people who offer kind words of support, make referrals and generally keep you going. That support to keep you focussed and on track is absolutely key. It gets you through the bumps in the road.

Every so often you meet a gem, and last week I had the absolute honour of meeting Professor Mick Waters, a man described as a “children’s champion” and a “hero”. I would describe him as a true gentleman, he was running a few minutes late but came out of his conference to apologise.

We then talked, philosophised and he simply asked how he could help.

I am really happy to announce that he has endorsed the work of The Wonder Why Society and our mission to put the wonder back into learning.

I’d like to share with you what he said because it would be rude to keep it all to myself.

“Children are already in The Wonder Why Society. They wonder why leaves are green but hardly any of them are the same colour. They wonder why plants grow upwards and where flowers come from and why bees spend time around them. They wonder why frogs spawn and they wonder why tummies rumble.

As they grow older they wonder why grown-ups struggle with the easy new technology and then moan about it because young people find it easy and deduce that it must be trite. Young people wonder why grown-ups often seem to break their own rules.

Sometimes, when young people suddenly understand something, they wonder why they didn’t understand it already.

The Wonder Why Society is an open invitation to children and young people to engage with big ideas, philosophy, the seemingly insoluble problem and the puzzling conundrum. For the school, The Wonder Why Society is one of those resources that offers opportunities whilst making few demands. Somewhere on the web platform is another person with the expertise to address the questions that children ask and that leave many of us lost for a response.

Do think about getting involved; you’ll wonder why it has never been done before…”

So, if Professor Mick Waters says you should be doing it, then really you should! Remember its free to state schools until 18th July 2017.

Learning Together!

We are proud to announce our partnership with the Independent Schools Portal helping children and schools to learn collaboratively powered by technology.

Here at The Wonder Why Society our purpose is purely to allow children to benefit from the power of digital collaboration – to think and ask and learn together. When we are born, we are all naturally curious. Children learn by being playful, by working together and developing thoughts and problem solving. What is more, we learn best when we are able to drill down into the subjects we love whether that’s knitting or skyscrapers it really doesn’t matter.

Since we launched in January we have been buoyed not only by the educational benefits of working together but also by the social ones. Through the platform children from all types of backgrounds and cultures are interacting. At The Wonder Why Society everyone is anonymous and so blissfully free of any labels – they simply are like-minded ‘wonderers’ – working together, giving mutual support and believe me the feedback they have given each other is marvellous and heart-warming. We have heard stories from teachers heralding the absolute surprise when the quietest child in the class is suddenly motivated to take part online; the platform simply empowers them and peer to peer learning takes on a whole new level merely by taking down the walls of the classroom.

​Add to that the guidance from our teachers who use blooms taxonomy to stretch the learning sprinkle on a response from an industry expert who can contextualise the whole process and the result is motivated, purposeful learning. A shared world of learning and creativity, no matter who you are or what you are good at.
We would like to add you to the mix. To take your learners on a top-secret mission of discovery where wonder has no bounds. Come join us on our mission to put the wonder back into learning.