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.
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.
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.
‘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.
The Social School Award was just launched on 11th May at the Lancashire Association of School Business Managers Conference.
The Social School Award is designed for schools who have embraced social media for connecting, promoting and engaging with others in lots of different ways.
A collaboration between John Bidder and David Mitchell over the last year has led to what is now such a wonderful opportunity for any school who has taken the initiative, led the way and come up with new & innovative ways to communicate.
If you want to get started and see whether your school could apply for this exciting Award that rewards your boldness in recent years you can start with the 5 step self assessment process today.
Book a place for this March & April 2017 at one of our face-to-face school-based afternoon workshops and amongst the latest good practice for schools, you’ll learn what hundreds of parents had to say about what it’s like to have children at a school where social media is proactively used.
These are unique insights that we’ve turned into actions that you can take away and use in your own setting.
We’ll not just be sharing this unique parental insight with you. As part of the workshop you’ll get the latest good practice for boosting meaningful engagement and advice on Facebook’s new focus on ‘video’.
It’ll be fun (yes that’s allowed) and we’re also going to introduce you to some new apps that’ll reinvigorate your timelines too!
All School Based
Online booking is now open for 4 Bolton school venues. More dates will follow in other areas too. These are half-day sessions that include resources and refreshments for £69 +vat Existing schools who have our Blippit Social service already can choose the free ticket option 🙂
“Today the very proposition of the app is not about creating music videos. It’s not about lip-syncing. It’s about a social network,” Zhu said. “It’s a community. People want to stay because there are other people. ” Full Article on UK Business Insider
The app is intended for teens not tweens but last year found itself in a social media whirlwind triggered by a Dad’s story who discovered his daughter had been receiving grooming messages from a user profile designed to deceive.
This week, one of the primary schools we support got in touch to say they were contacting parents in writing to advise on the inherent risks associated with the app for younger children. The age limit is 13+ BUT the trap here is that we all get overly focused on this age limit.
Seeing as it’s ‘you’ reading this post then the chances are we’re preaching to the converted and you know that this is as much about being aware what our children are using, open conversations and knowing how to manage privacy as much as any age limit.
Useful to watch
We quickly made this video to be shared with schools to help parents understand how to control just how visible and reachable they are on Musical.ly. This is all common sense stuff and applies to other networks too as you’ll already know.
Useful to read
Webwise is the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre which is co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills and the EU Safer Internet Programme.
If, in the name of science, you want to cause stress in the life of primary school parents there’s one sure fire way to do it. Just change what the children have to wear in school on one day and then stand well back.
To amplify the effect, the following would be recommended for consideration:
be slightly unclear about the date for this variation in uniform
pick a time when parents are already emotionally roller-coastering along on their own journey towards a critical event over which they have little control
e.g. religious festivals, transitions across key stage or school, national charity events like Sports or Comic relief
include the information at the foot of a newsletter as part of a much longer list
also, use Comic Sans pt size 10 or another any off-beat font to dissuade reading
if asked, tell parents you told them already in this month’s newsletter, text, radio broadcast or personal address by the Head
this reinforces their sense of powerlessness to control even the most trivial variations in their life
forget that parents are only half-listening anyway
What was that last one again?
In short, for ‘pre-stressed parents’, finding a Christmas sweater for their child has the potential to festively and royally de-rail their normally stable emotional centre.
How can a sweater have such an effect?
Well along with applying one or more of the above top 5 tips, it’s probably worth stepping back a bit and looking at these two graphs about why people think they were bullied in 2016. Take a look at the top reason.
Schools are so nurturing, so accommodating and probably unlike any other setting a child will ever experience, aside from their own family unit, when it comes to putting their needs first. Schools with the best intentions may quietly tell a parent;
“It doesn’t matter really – just something red would be fine!” or, “Just send them in with their usual one on and we can put some tinsel on it for them.”
In reality, most parents, having once been in primary school themselves, don’t hear these kind offers as intended. They want their child to ‘fit’ or if they’re going to stand out it’ll be for having the most awesome sweater ever made. Back in the day when primary parents were in school it is very possible that the top reason people thought they got bullied was no different to the 2016 survey. Judging by appearance in today’s society has arguably never been more shamelessly normalised by popular media and at some time probably everyone has been guilty of doing it. Even us perfect people.
The instinct to protect offspring is hard coded and seemingly trivial things like Christmas Sweater day can be a trigger for this instinct to kick in. People act out of character.
Should this kind of thing be kept out of school?
It’s a difficult question to answer but perhaps, in amongst everything else that school leaders and teachers bear in mind every second of every day for every child, by stepping back a bit and seeing where parents are journeying from and to we’ll all have an even more wonderful <insert religious festival or special event name here> time.