Convey confidence & competence to school website visitors in just 3 letters – SSL

Here’s something that not a lot of people know.

There’s a goal in mind for the web and that is to enable every website address to begin with https:// instead of http:// so that the data that passes between site and sender/visitor is encrypted.  Google are big supporters of it amongst others.

Here’s something that not a lot of people know either.

This is the how the various web browsers that people use globally compare and yes, back there in the distance is Internet Explore & Edge with Chrome beating way out in front.

browser stats for dec2016

Source: https://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php

Why are these ‘pub trivia’ facts important?

Well, at the end of January this year, Google’s latest version of Chrome (v56) (the dead popular one) will ultimately start telling visitors to your school website whether it’s secure or not.

secure

What are the benefits of going secure?

  1. When you’re logging in to your school website to update it with new content, an encrypted secure connection (Secure Socket Layer Certificate) comes into it’s own.  SSL means that when you enter your username and password to update the site for example, the login information travels securely to it’s destination making access to your website even more secure.
  2. Noone wants Ofsted raising their eyebrows when they visit your site – life is hard enough complying with DfE information requirements – and every little helps. (there is no requirement for SSL from DfE or Ofsted as of 17/1/17)
  3. Your parent & carer community will see ‘SECURE’ being directly associated with the school which has to be good.
  4. In 2011 Google announced that they were making changes to help secure sites do better in searches and to date this has remained the same.

What can your school do about it?

Your web site host will have a very easy and quick method of applying a security certificate to your website thus making it secure for visitors and site managers.   It’s pretty rare that the school tech support would touch this job so unless they’re the person who built and hosted your website we suggest leaving them well alone.  This Google site has a technical guide for how to implement an SSL so if your tech is the person they may want this link.  Schools who have a Blippit Site are already compliant with SSL in place.

 

Our suggestion would be to get the ball rolling tomorrow with a quick email to your provider saying:

“Hi,

We’d like you to apply an SSL certificate to our school website please. We’d like to do this for 12 months initially and need this in place by February or March at the latest.  Can you let us know what we need to do on our part to do this e.g. forward an email from the certificate issuing authority to you when it comes?

Thanks,

<School Who Knows What They’re Talking About>”

What happens if we don’t get a security certificate applied to the school website?

Nothing!

You can carry on as you are and everything will stay the same. The main issue is that the world’s most widely used web browser will start telling visitors that your site is not secure and in this day and age that’s probably not what you want.

Good luck & support a more secure web!

Further Reading:
LetsEncrypt runs the certificate authority that issues free SSL certificates so cost is no longer a barrier to using HTTPS and both Google and Mozilla to actively promote and recommend the use of HTTPS as standard.

Blippit IO – New Browser Based Version LIVE!

Schools have been asking for a browser-based version of Blippit IO so today we launched one.

You only need Google’s Chrome browser to use the new version of Blippit (UK Log In blippit.io) (AU Log In au.blippit.io) which hopefully means less hassle for you and your students.

(The downloadable Windows and Mac versions are still available via the website)

Blippit IO New Look and Feel

Blippit has also had a face lift designed to help you move nimbly around the screen while you’re making apps, block programming, coding or having a video call.

We’ve added

  • a full screen feature (top right)
  • clean and simple arrow screen management (side panel tops)

See the new look and feel for yourself by logging in or if you’re in a rush checkout the gallery below.

The gallery was not found!

How to Update your Blippit IO Chrome App Extension

Updating the Chrome Extension version Blippit IO sometimes needs a bit of encouragement.

Many teachers have said

I don’t have a Chromebook

But to use this popular version of Blippit you only need the Chrome Browser not a Chromebook.

At time of writing we’re currently on version 2.2.4.  The quickest way to check if you’re on vers. 2.2.4 at a glance is that the tool bar looks like this.

Blippit_IO

If you’re not on 2.2.4 then follow the steps below.

First

updating chrome ext

Last

Update Extensions Now

Not Installed a Chrome Extension Before?

You can get it here directly  or watch the video first.

Want the Chrome Version of Blippit IO?

In the USA, the Chromebook is the number one selling device into education from K-12.  Globally, well take a look for yourself at how the Chrome Browser is doing.  It’s pretty incredible.

browsers map stats

We love Chrome and Chromebooks but amazingly so few people in the UK and beyond have got to grips with how simple it is to speed up access to applications in the classroom.
So we decided, after a bit of a prompt from @TomSale (it was on the to do list Tom), to make a quick video to show you and your students exactly what to do and how to do it.  Enjoy!

Music: http://www.bensound.com

Tips for Upgrading Blippit IO

Upgrading software can be simple sometimes and trickier others.  Thankfully because Blippit IO is largely a Cloud based service you don’t have to worry about how to upgrade it ‘just happens’.

The only extra things we recommend you doing when we roll out the latest upgrades are as follows and they vary because of the different platforms that we’ve written Blippit IO to run on.

Chrome App Users

  • Chrome is a fantastic browser as Chromebooks are fantastic bits of hardware.  We recommend the Chrome Web App version of Blippit IO as the easiest and fastest version to use.  When an upgrade has been made that you log out of your Google Account and then back in again to make sure Chrome goes and gets the update for you.

Mac OSX Desktop App

  • If you’re a Mac user of the Blippit IO desktop application then we’ve made a little utility for you to keep on your device that clears out previous files that your Mac will be hanging on to from the older Blippit IO.  Just download and install Clear Blippit then run it and you’re ready to go again.

Windows Desktop App

  • If you’re a Windows user of the Blippit IO desktop application then we’ve made a little utility for you to keep on your device that clears out previous files that your PC will be hanging on to from the older Blippit IO.  Just download and install Clear Blippit then run it and you’re ready to go again.  If you’re an RM Unify school using a CC4 network your Network Administrator will download and install this for you via the RM Support Portal.
  • iPad Users

    • You don’t have to do anything extra.  All changes are instant in Safari when you’re in either the App Maker ,  Blippit Blocks or you’re bravely coding using Blippit IO Purecode Python (not really ideal on a laptop with all those characters!!).  The most you should ever have to do is reload the page if after an upgrade there seems to be something not quite in the right place