Linking the real world with the classroom just got easier with Blippit

We are starting to talk with organisations outside of school to explore collaborative projects that unlock knowledge and skills in the work place to build bridges with schools.

The projects that we’re most keen on just now have a clear learning legacy in the form of reusable digital app & code project templates that will continue to benefit schools after a project formally comes to an end.

We see a big opportunity for willing organisations to create, amongst other things, their own collection of project app templates that would be downloaded/uploaded & remixed/developed by students from the company website, Planet Blippit or wherever works best.

Wrapped around these projects are some other nice ideas such as beaming expertise into the classroom using Blippit’s school network friendly secure video conferencing tool ‘Spotlight’.  We want to put learning truly in the Spotlight and let children benefit from having a professional and critical audience from beyond their usual environment.

If your organisation would like to talk about an education project idea do get in touch with us via support@blippit.co.uk with initial ideas/questions.

Face-to-Face with New Blippit IO Spotlight

It’s time to put learning literally in the Spotlight.  Meaningful, authentic and unique experiences with high expectations are where Blippit IO Spotlight is aiming to help out.

Historically face-to-face communications using technology has been thwarted in school because of

  • technical barriers i.e. Skype is blocked or Google meant a lot of account setup and wider thought
  • lack of service support
  • stranger danger worries
  • memories of megabucks needed to achieve anything worthwhile

Blippit-Spotlight-LOGO

So what have we done?

We’ve created Blippit IO Spotlight & the plan is that it’ll be exclusively available to all our Blippit IO School users as part of the Blippit IO suite whether you use the App Maker or PureCode Python or both.  Here’s a quick introduction:

What does Spotlight do and how is it different?

We have given the teacher full control over everything with no need for tech support.  The teacher chooses

  • who can use video to communicate
  • when it’s available and therefore when it isn’t by default
  • when ‘rooms’ for links are available

We’ve made Blippit IO Spotlight so that teachers can

  1. create exciting and unique opportunities for communicating and collaborating with others
  2. connect simply to another Blippit IO member or invited ‘other’ from outside of Blippit IO
  3. use text chat to share comments or links with others
  4. make best use of our quick file sender to share resources with others in project chat
  5. collaborate and communicate via Blippit IO Spotlight safely any time and anywhere

We’d like to thank all our users, past and present, for coming along with us on this change-filled time in education.  Let’s face it – change became the norm many years ago so why not try to have some fun along the way?  😉

Green Park Primary School – Change for all the right reasons

Yesterday, thanks to a random tweet about Chromebooks by Green Park Primary computing lead Pete Rafferty (@Raff31), I had the great pleasure of spending a morning there with the children, teachers & Head Teacher Mrs Hains.

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One of the areas I’m always really interested in is how schools make things happen, why they happened in the first place and what’s the outcome at the end of it all.  The time spent in year 3 & 6 was so interesting that many things, though not necessarily in this order, shot through my mind
  • if Ofsted walked in now, unannounced, where would they put themselves & how would they begin to understand what was happening
  • technology is often seen as an isolator of children; a shutting down of a child to those around them. Not so particularly in the Year 3 lesson. The level of conversation leading to division of labour and ongoing review of improvements was really quite special.
  • the children can choose the right tool for them; they use a white board to jot down the essence of information from a web page then the Chromebooks to edit and add it into their work. Less & less copy & paste
  • distributing leadership across the class is a much-hammered phrase down the years but when the teacher ‘believes’ and hands over the reigns it’s a powerful thing in a one-to-one situation
  • shift happens; peer review/AfL is non-threatening here and being shared to the big screen is no biggie
    • children invite others to collaborate on their work including the teacher
  • risk taking is a gradual process but clearly the Head has, with teachers, nurtured a culture with Pete that mistakes happen but that’s life and so long as they’re learned from that’s fine.  The lesson is not to not take risks again.
  • they’ve done it the right way round; network wireless infrastructure is bolstered to take the demands of busy children & teachers
  • lives are touched by tech where it’s advantageous for it to be so e.g. Google Drive enabling job shares to work seamlessly on report moderation

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Miss Lewis-Brown (Yr 3) was the guide and the side not the sage on the stage.  Capturing notes on her iPad during the lesson and I believe filing them away using Evernote it was pretty inspiring that though the technology was so conspicuous it wasn’t the star.

On tech note, I’m a big fan of Chromebooks in schools for some practical reasons to do with reducing

  • technical support burden on ICT people i.e. you can forget about updates & antivirus
  • waiting time when people log in to the Chromebooks i.e. you’re talking about seconds
  • cost overheads and worries about ratios e.g. you’re looking at around £160 ex vat per Chromebook
  • the digital divide i.e. some of these children asked for a Chromebook instead of an iPad this Christmas

class-2

Managing ongoing change that leads to the kind of images you see here takes nerve and leadership but it’s definitely achievable.  With the support of the Head, Pete has gently guided his colleagues along a path driven by need and potential which I could imagine influencing the secondary school provision.  One of the feeder schools has in fact recognised this already and is laying the ground with Office 365 where the children’s collaborative working skills will be transferrable.  Just some of the challenges will be in
  • exploiting the opportunities Office 365 this has to offer
  • nurturing digital leadership as a desirable attribute in students
  • ramping up the network infrastructure services in a larger setting (££)

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By coincidence the BBC published a story today about a campaign by employers that puts a value of £88 Bn on soft skills.  Food for thought.

New Blippit Makewav.es widget goes live today

From today if you’re a school using Makewav.es your students can now publish their stories, in part or in entirety, as discrete apps using Blippit!

We’ve designed this to be super easy as you’d expect and the end result is that

  • video
  • audio
  • slideshows & text can now be added in seamlessly amongst the other Blippit widgets.

Not a Makewav.es user?
You can register for free if you like with Makewav.es and get 30 mins of recording time free.

  • This  widget is our very first optional upgrade pack
    • Equivalent cost of £3 month Primary   £6 month Secondary  (unlimited p.a.)
  • We’re giving the widget to everyone free for three weeks from 1/9/13 so you can see what it does for yourselves.