This December has been a big one at Flakefleet Primary School where, hot on the heals of winning the UK Happiest School Award, the seed of a dream was sewn in an assembly. That seed has now become a full-on raging express train of a mission to do the seemingly impossible: To be No. 1 this Christmas 2018 with their single ‘Light Up’ with all proceeds going to Alzheimer’s UK.
As part of our School in the Fast Lane Podcast, we wanted to share the power of what can happen when a community gets heart and soul engaged in a common goal using social media, particularly Facebook, as a platform.
John Bidder (Blippit Social founder whose services support Flakefleet) interviewed Dave McPartlin (Headteacher) in early December 2018 about the part played by social media in this school community-wide mission that also raises money for Alzheimer’s.
The Blippit App Maker has just become an even more flexible, creative tool for curious minds!
With a renewed focus on coding using HTML we’ve done our utmost to retain the App Maker’s simplicity, keeping the drag and drop principle to make light work of complex tasks, while boosting more advanced features.
Every widget now has it’s own unique Widget Code so that you can now link to anything from within a Writer widget
Linking can be now done using text and images
Writer widget has a new colour-coded Source view for coding
Images are now managed for each app project in a gallery that collates all images uploaded across all widgets for ease of use
Images can now be uploaded directly into a Writer widget
Widgets can now be hidden from view in an app so that they can be worked on & included when ready or hidden to help users follow a set navigation path
Here are some new videos to support you if you’re looking to take advantage of the new features.
In this new series we’ve called ‘School in the fast lane’, Blippit Social’s John Bidder talks about the reality for schools of being in the fast lane & having the mindset/tools to engage with parents through social media.
The new United Arab Emirates Design & Technology Curriculum is well under way with STEM themed app making projects and fabulous learning happening in schools such as this leading girls’ school.
The attention to detail in these apps is very noticeable, as is the thought that has gone into the preparation for the learning, supported and emphasised in the new MoE created teacher & student handbooks.
Here are some images of the girls’ activity and work from the classroom where students are seen presenting to peers the key features, content and design considerations. It’s good to also see the creative use of Google Forms in a number of the apps – you can see this in a screenshot of one of the apps lower down this article.
Considering that the UAE only began using Blippit in mid-January 2018 we’re impressed with the rate of progress. Congratulations to everyone involved.
One of the major criticisms of social media is that it’s disconnecting us, as individuals, from society and from real physical interactions.
But if a key element of ‘tribe’ is communication and connectivity then the digital world arguably holds unlimited bounds for tribes.
If the internet has heralded the death of distance, what do these new kind of tribes look like? And do we relate to each other in different ways now that so much of our lives are lived online?
[panel-header] Tribe: Listen to the broadcast (30 mins)
In this episode of The Digital Human (BBC Radio 4.), Aleks Krotoski asks if rather than separating us, the digital world is helping us revive old tribal connections. It’s a fascinating way to look at schools and their parental communities for many reasons so do have a listen.
The curriculum for schools in the United Arab Emirates is changing rapidly in response to the UAE Vision 2021. Critically the UAE wants to be among the best countries in the world by 2021 and for us its been a pleasure to work colleagues at the Ministry of Education to make Blippit part of the new Design & Technology curriculum. The pace has been remarkable.
[rule style=”rule-thin” ]”…the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda emphasises the development of a first-rate education system, which will require a complete transformation of the current education system and teaching methods. The National Agenda aims for all schools, universities and students to be equipped with Smart systems and devices as a basis for all teaching methods, projects and research.” Read: First-Rate Education System. [rule style=”rule-thin” ]
The MoE has an Office 365 integrated sign in for their schools to use with Blippit to make life easier. Uniquely, theirs is a bespoke Blippit App Maker cloud that’s only accessible to schools in the UAE to bring performance enhancements and meet their data requirements.
A new publication has been created thanks to teachers in the UAE supported by colleagues from the Ministry of Education. Teachers are now using this publication thanks to their in-country training in 2018.
As the schools in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates get to grips with the App Maker and begin their learning, we looking forward to seeing how they progress with their new digital skills, explorations of app making, coding and creativity.
‘Guided Access’ is not new but just speaking to parents & teachers it seems to me that not enough of them know they can temporarily restrict their iOS device to a single app – perfect for those occasions where their children may ‘borrow’ their phone/iPad or even just be on their own device if they’re lucky to have one.
Apple describe Guided Access as “helping you to stay focused on a task while using your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Guided Access limits your device to a single app and lets you control which app features are available.”
Disable areas of the screen that aren’t relevant to a task, or areas where an accidental gesture might cause a distraction
Disable the hardware buttons
Here’s how you do it in a video I shared recently with schools we support via our Blippit Social services on Facebook.
Double tap this video on a mobile device to fill your screen.
If you want a more generous option that gives a user more rope, take a look at apps like Our Pact.
For years we’ve kept the app writer as a completely open ended tool so that people aren’t immediately channeled in to predictable and boring pathways like trying to create a restaurant app.
The result is has been that teachers are able to, for example, focus on their own curriculum subject areas like vikings to extend, consolidate and publish the children’s learning to the whole world with a literacy focus.
A few weeks ago one teacher we worked with (year 4 & 5) told us about a reluctant writer of hers and the impact that writing in Blippit’s App Maker had on him. You can listen to her here…
Here’s a quick view of the apps once they were published to our App Store on Planet Blippit.