Online writing wall launched by Yorkshire teachers is now being used in 100 countries worldwide

AN ONLINE LITERACY initiative which was started by a group of Yorkshire teachers has now been launched internationally as a learning tool and is being used in more than 100 different countries.

The education platform was originally called LendMeYourLiteracy when it was started, in Harrogate by the group of friends, to help build pupils’ confidence in writing.

The founders Simon Blower, Henry Smith, Tom Garbutt and Jon Smith. developed an “online classroom wall” in 2012 to allow teachers to share and showcase children’s work beyond the confines of their schools.

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As more and more teachers started to share their students’ stories and pupils realised that they could become published authors, gaining comments and praise for their work, the site quickly gathered pace.

Today there are more than 30,000 pieces of written work on the site, with users in more than 100 countries. The site, which is now called Pobble has being launched globally. The entries vary from a love story by a 10-year-old boy from Afghanistan that has been viewed more than 9,000 times to the case of shy and dyslexic six-year-old called Fred, who used to hate written work until he won a LendMeYourLiteracy writing competition.

Schools have praised the impact that the site can have.

Tony Winfield, head teacher of Grove Road Community Primary School, in Harrogate, where the scheme first started said: “Pobble inspires children to write, to get stuff down on paper and see it broadcast to the world. We’ve seen a huge benefit of that for our pupils.

“I’m proud it started here and I’m so delighted for the team. The simple thing is that children produce stuff that is better than what they were producing before, because of Pobble.”

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Pobble co-founder and chief executive Jon Smith said: “From the first pieces of work that were shared by a class in Harrogate, to the new stories being added every few minutes around the world, the impact on children and teachers is the same. For children, they are getting that awesome piece of work they’ve just carefully written published and shared with the world, which could not be more exciting. And for teachers, we’re building a global library of ideas, content and resource.”

A number of high profile authors have given it their backing. Bestselling children’s author Michael Morpurgo said: “Publishing and celebrating children’s writing on Pobble shows children that their writing matters. It gives young writers a real audience and therefore a purpose and reason to be proud.”

Ian Whybrow, author of the Harry and the Dinosaurs series of children’s books and a former teacher, said: “Pobble offers fascinating ways to inspire them while giving the teacher plenty of food for thought, too. When I was teaching, we had to gather our own material for stimulating creative writing directly from books, plays and poems – but in the digital age here’s another opportunity for the hard-pressed: in a couple of clicks, you can pick the brains of other imaginative educators who have had the chance to order their thoughts carefully.

“And perhaps more importantly, the fact that the children’s work can be shared – in their own individual handwriting – with a worldwide audience is inspiring and motivating to both teachers and young writers.”