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.
Say goodbye to a blank app project starting point! New features to support faster, smoother and easier lesson starts, assessment and collaborative working are now live for all schools.
Here’s what you can now do
Save a great project starter app as a project template and share it out directly within Blippit to target year groups/classes or individuals for any subject or colleague to use.
Save time year on year with planning and preparation
save, store and re-cycle templates
make templates to support different abilities and share to targeted students with differing levels of scaffolding in place within the app template
All users can now download an app at any stage of development. This is useful for assessment purposes in that you can have different versions of the app saved to show how it has developed over time
Download an app from Planet Blippit (see how in this video) and upload it to your own account for re-mixing before you share it out to targeted class groups
Teams of students working collaboratively can plan and develop an app project together then download the basic app and share an exact copy to each member of the team to develop different versions based on that design. This is done with the new app template upload/ download feature available to all users.
As you can see every app made by a student or teacher user now has an extra link so that others can download and remix the app if they want to using their own Blippit App Maker account. No other tool can open a Blippit App to remix and develop it further. All apps are teacher approved and all apps carry an audit trail in their About section to show the origins of the app project.
If, like us, you know that it’s ‘a bit challenging’ sometimes to get parents to fill in the mid-year Parent Survey that you’ve created based upon Ofsted’s Parent View form, this may be an innovative approach that will go down well.
FREE TO BLIPPIT SOCIAL SCHOOLS!
This is very low friction from a parent point of view because school is already engaging parents via Facebook so delivering and completing the survey actually ‘in’ Facebook makes the process nice and easy.
Data collection and collation is all taken care of too. The moment a parent hit’s SEND your data is saved and automatically presented for easy interpretation by SLT & Governors.
NOT A BLIPPIT SCHOOL?
Prices for non-Blippit Social schools are listed below.
We can include a compulsory question for people to enter their full family name so as not to rely on a Facebook profile names which may in the odd case be less helpful. Knowing who has responded and who hasn’t will be much simpler. Participation in surveys can also be incentivised via FB – i.e. we can use a prize draw feature to generate a random winner as a ‘thanks for participating’.
This is a free and ‘on demand’ service to all schools who use our Blippit Social service. Schools who don’t use our Blippit Social Service can buy in ti Social Surveys at the rates below. (Small school discount of 20% applies if you’re a Nursery, Infant or Juniors only school)
up to 10 questions £ 59
11-20 questions £ 69
21-30 questions £ 79
31-40 questions £ 89
Here’s how it would look on your school Facebook Page timeline except customised to your school
Below is one version of a survey which would normally just be seen in Facebook so that parents don’t get stressed moving off to another website but for this blog post we’ve placed it here as well. You’re welcome to fill it in to get a feel for it 🙂
When we added the feature of being able to upload animated gifs into Blippit App Maker Apps via the Image Widget we of course had to do some testing before releasing it to users. Just now we found a little surprise in one of the files we used to test with….
Some things are meant for sharing and some things aren’t. When your audience is parents it’s not unnatural to think once or twice about what you might share. However, an Alpaca in the Head’s Office? No brainer. It makes “dog in the playground” seem very pedestrian.
This Alpaca went on tour around the classes with the wonderfully Doolittle-esque Head Teacher Dave McPartlin and in terms of memories for the children you can only imagine them re-telling the day’s events when they saw their families later that day.
Isn’t it refreshing that in the prevailing climate of risk avoidance and health & safety we have an ‘Ofsedicially’ Outstanding school prepared to take in large South American mountain dwelling creatures in the name of enrichment & probably a few other things too…including fun?
On the face of it it’s slightly bonkers.
Conventional wisdom might say
do it, but don’t make too big a fuss as parents might not ‘get it’
do it and feature the visit in the next school newsletter at the end of the month
do it and pop a photo on the school website
Unconventional wisdom might say, do it then share it on Facebook the same day so that mums and dads might actually believe their children when they get home! Today that’s exactly what happened. Unconventional wisdom won and the response from parents at Heysham St Peter’s CE Primary was very good.
By coincidence in the news two days ago another large furry mammal was spotted in London – specifically a Polar Bear. Wait. A massive polar bear in London down in the Tube (and later other places too) with small children? What could possibly go wrong?
For me, social media engagement is about stories and in my talks round and about the place with groups of Heads that’s what I delve in to in more detail. Whether it’s stories about an Alpaca in the Head Teacher’s office or Polar Bears on the London Underground it doesn’t matter too much. Every person and place has a story to tell so why not share it? You’ll might be surprised at the reaction.
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.
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
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
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 (££)
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.
Going live since September have been a great mix of schools who are each harnessing Facebook for their own reasons. You’d be forgiven for thinking that to use the world’s biggest social media platform your school would have to be at the frontier for innovation or at the very least have maverick-like leadership. Not true. Far from it.
The Heads I’ve worked with all know the value of parental engagement. From new-to-the-school through to very well established Heads it really doesn’t matter and for them it’s just a matter of how to get traction.
Where a school ‘is’ in Ofsted’s eyes is proving not to be a factor in whether a Head chooses to use engage with parents or not using social media. For example you might think that a school with a notice to improve has better things to be doing? Surely it’s inviting trouble from disgruntled parents but in our experience it appears not.
Safeguarding: key features of outstanding practice
In speaking with Children Safeguarding Boards about their priorities it feels like safeguarding has begun to usurp e-safety in many people’s minds. The tide is turning on the ‘everything social is bad’ camp and that’s why we say ‘harnessing Facebook for good’. Experience shows that parents want to be active participants in safeguarding and actively be included and party to the school’s success having invested their most precious things into the school – their children. This video (made by year 3) was a direct result of children and parents being together in a joint ‘talk’ about how to keep safe.
(Firefox may not show the video below – switch to any other browser to view)
“Ofsted does not require schools to build walls around play areas; it does not expect schools to seek Criminal Records Bureau checks on casual visitors to schools, including parents; it does not judge a school to be inadequate because of minor administrative errors, or because an inspector’s ID was not checked.”
“a curriculum that is flexible, relevant and engages pupils’ interest; that is used to promote safeguarding, not least through teaching pupils how to stay safe, how to protect themselves from harm and how to take responsibility for their own and others’ safety”
Keeping children safe is everyone’s job and we believe that for children to be safer social citizens they need better equipped parents who can actively & passively learn via school as an excellent role model.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to get down to BETT this year then we’d love to see you on stand B100 thanks to our friends at Acer .
We’ll be around on Thursday afternoon from @2.30 pm for chats and Friday morning for a couple of talks to larger groups about Facebook and ‘fishing where the parents are‘. John Bidder will be the person to look out for; he will answer any questions on parental engagement with Facebook for schools. Have a great week if you’re at BETT (& even if you don’t get there have a super week too!)
Also, we just came across this issue of photos in Facebook and interestingly it’s one issue we seem to have cracked by collaborating with schools so if you want to see how come have a chat at BETT.
It’s been a great year of learning and collaboration for us as SocialSchoolMedia and I’d like to say thank you to all the local authority & CLC colleagues we’ve met over the last few months.
With more schools launching in the new year its going to be busy and very exciting see how each one harnesses social media for good in their communities, building parental engagement with Facebook for schools.
Also happening in the new year will be emerging research from Salford University with whom we’re working to evidence the impact of our joint work using social media for all the good reasons you know already. As an aside I came across this great article from the US which adds more to why successful leaders use social media – recommended.
“Bringing down invisible walls is so satisfying.”
Sounds like something Marcel Marceau would have said, or more likely mimed, but if you’re the kind of person who’s constantly striving to bring your school community in closer you’ll get where I’m coming from.
If you’re looking for a party trick this Christmas then here’s how to mime a wall as shown by an expert! Very best wishes for the festive season & New Year.