I like this photo a lot. Head Teachers talking about social media parental engagement with Head Teachers and other school leaders at our Bippit Positive Head Teachers’ Event yesterday at the beautiful Brockholes Nature Reserve.
Yesterday schools from all over the north west come along to talk about the day-to-day challenges & successes of parental engagement. It’s safe to say I think that noone went back to school with questions unanswered because we’d also invited some experienced Head Teacher colleagues along to share what they’d learned over the last 4 years with us.
Themes talked about included
educating & supporting parents
nurturing & harnessing school values through parents
tips & tricks
what works better than something else
data on trends for engagement
data on topics of discussion
data on peak times for engagement
data on community demographics & much more
New! Blippit Social Reports
We introduced our new social reporting service for schools which goes beyond what regular Facebook Insights offer. This for me personally is ‘where it’s at’ for us and our schools when you need to prove your worth, demonstrate how school is managing to keep the focus of relationship with parents on track or the value of the activity to yourself or other powers that be. (Here’s an earlier article on just a small part of what we do.)
The event was filmed in lovely HD and we’ll be sharing the footage with delegates, speakers and other specially selected channels soon. We’ll be doing more of this due to demands on the day and from those who simply couldn’t make it.
BIG THANKS to
Acer Education UK for sponsoring the Chromebook prize which was won by a delegate from a school in Wigan
We find certain data that we gather (and the pretty graphs it can result in) quite interesting because it helps schools answer questions and see the patterns more quickly in the intricate field of parental engagement using Facebook.
Topics of conversation
Topics are derived from conversations that friends, fans, followers and connections are having. The two graphs here represent – top level general discussion topics categories and more specific sub categories. It’s just the tip of the iceberg and we can’t wait to dig deeper to help schools understand the impact of their engagement with parents.
Below I’ve only focused upon ‘topics & more detailed sub-topics of conversation’ across our schools. If you take a look at the graphs below we’ve created by sampling across schools we support it seems not unreasonable to say that things don’t look too bad! Have a peruse. You may feel that more information is needed to infer a degree of success on the schools’ behalf in engaging with parents and I’d probably agree.
Next week I’ll be talking about how we’re now able to more confidently support Heads demonstrate and evidence impact brought about by engaging positively with parents on Facebook. Of course data is only ever just a part of the picture like with anything, but it’s one that we believe is important.
This term we’ll be looking at different strands that open up the parental engagement picture a little to help us draw conclusions about, for example,
whether people are on or off topic & if not why not
how ‘life’ influences engagement levels
At our Blippit Social CPD event next week, “The Positive Head Teacher’s Guide to Parents & Social Media”, we’re filming the whole thing so at some point that’ll get released for general consumption here on the blog and more on the data conversation will appear then. In the meantime I hope you might find the graphs below interesting at the very least.
Children in Need is here again and if you’re looking to promote the fact on your blog or website like us you might want a nice transparent Pudsey Bear to add to your banner. So help yourself & have a successful time raising funds! 🙂
The LPPA is a nationally recognised Quality Award for schools committed to investing in parents for the achievement of pupils.
Blippit Social works with some schools who are already working with schools where LPPA Advisers have worked using the LPPA Framework. Heads can also use or the LPPA toolkit for schools to promote good practice in parental engagement.
If your school is working toward or has achieved the LPPA then you can can now save money on Blippit Social’s managed Parental Engagement service by quoting the code in the special flier downloadable below.
Last night I was handed an article from the latest copy of the SEN Magazine www.senmagazine.co.uk which we read at home with both a professional and personal interest to try to keep up.
The article is very short (scanned into this post below) but unusual in this magazine because the piece has an ICT focus and comment from both NAACE Chief Exec Mark Chambers & the British Education Suppliers Association BESA on a critical issue in schools.
Typically it’s another flavour of the ‘digital divide’ theme but critically it is absolutely right in saying, I paraphrase, that where technology is least loved & appreciated you’ll find poor infrastructure (cables & clever boxes) and little hope in ICT as an enabler at leadership level & I’d add, almost by default, class teacher level too.
This conjures up a rubbish Christmas tree in my mind.
This following scenario isn’t unheard of
A school buy a class pack of iPads and then try to hang these new ‘shinies’ onto their aged school network. It’s an unwelcome surprise when their investment appears to lack much impact over time as people get fed up with slow speeds online, wi-fi unavailability, time consuming app management, printing fever and more. Kit starts to go home and usage drops. School leaders begin to wonder; “What can we do to make people use this kit on a daily basis?”
Why might this happen?
Nice baubles-pity about the tree. The impact of the ‘boring cabley bits’ not being right is far reaching. We know cables & clever boxes are sometimes overlooked for understandable reasons like the fact they’re invisible and parent’s can’t see them like they can see a shiny iPad. Let’s be honest. “School Gets Latest Super Router 1.9” doesn’t exactly get parents’ juices going compared to “1-1 iPads in Year 6”.
Time for a reality check par’dner
There have been times when the education ICT Support/solutions industry has been like the wild west. Schools made decisions in good faith and were often guided by wider LA strategy that may have been a compromise for their setting. Where school leadership was more confident they’d go independent with ICT support and sometimes it’d work and sometimes it wouldn’t but either way the responsibility fell to the school to sort it with the service provider.
Schools who opted to stay with local authority infrastructure support did/do, I’m told by some Heads, still feel a level of reassurance that no matter what the Authority will always be there to be accountable. If things aren’t ideal in school then it’s because they’re with the Authority *rolleyes*. It’s a challenge to avoid inadvertently slipping into a semi-comfy position of learned helplessness as opposed to grabbing the thing by the baubles when you know deep down that change is needed root & stem.
Not being able to speak techie has always been a bug bear for many school leaders. It’s not what they joined up for. The answer to this is to communicate in scenarios. “I want all all our children to be able to easily keep evidence of….” A good provider can interpret, understand and also offer scenarios based on experience that maybe school has not arrived at yet. If they can’t speak so you can understand what they’re offering or bring ideas and innovations based on experience – find someone else who can.
TRUST. Some schools have had quite a run of having their trust, shall we say, abused? It’s a horrible word to have in the same sentence as ‘schools’. Trust is something that an official framework can’t magically create. It comes with people doing what they say they’ll do and maybe doing a bit more besides without soliciting a red carpet thank you for doing it. It’s a human thing in my mind and honestly you should get a good feeling from every point of contact with a supplier – not just a ‘front man’.
ICT and it’s boring invisible bits are only one part of a large, complex and pressured environment in school. However, done right it could really help everyone shine.
Who’s out there?
It’d be pretty crass to name names here but do email me if you like and I’ll pass you details of at least one thinking company doing, in my opinion, a class leading job in the north west and beyond. [Update 6/11/14: I’ve had a re-think & decided life’s too short & people are too busy so here’s a nugget for you: Virtue Technologies ]