Book your March 2017 Workshop place & boost parental engagement via social media

Blippit Social Bolton Workshops

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.

Bolton School Workshops


St Paul’s (Astley Bridge) CE Primary – Bolton St Catherine’s CE Primary – Horwich POSTPONED Eagley Junior School – Bolton
Eventbrite - Best Practice to Boost Your School's Parental Engagement via Social Media Eventbrite - Best Practice to Boost Your School's Parental Engagement via Social Media POSTPONED

Kearsley West Primary – Bolton
Eventbrite - Best Practice to Boost Your School's Parental Engagement via Social Media

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 🙂

Visit www.blippitsocial.co.uk  information on Blippit Social in general.

Infographic vector designed by Freepik

Supporting information for schools on Musical.ly

Musical.ly co-CEO Alex Zhu last year said:

“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.

Musical.ly has this for parents

 

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.

Why did some parents get sweaty about Christmas Sweater day?

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 rollercoastering 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?

They're only ever half listening anyway

 

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.

Wishing you all the best!

We are doing social media workshops for schools throughout 2017 starting in the north west of England. Email support@blippit.co.uk if you’d like to know more.

How difficult can it be to help an organisation with a possible safeguarding issue?

Today we picked up a public tweet on one of our social monitoring alerts from a female who tweeted that she was getting bullied at lunchtimes. Two clicks later and we pop a phone call in to the organisation to let someone in a pastoral role know in case this student, whose name we also gave based on their Twitter name, may need help. This isn’t a school we work with and it doesn’t happen often. From here on in I’ll write in first person as it happened.
.
I left my mobile number and details. I got a call back from a safeguarding person. Here’s how it went – slightly abridged but key phrases are accurate.
 
*start of call*
 
Them: Is this a sales pitch to get in to school?
Me: *blood simmers* Pardon? Goodness me. You must have had some very bad calls to say that. That’d be completely unethical and clearly you don’t know us or how we work with schools.
Them: Would you contact every school you come across about something like this even if you didn’t work with them?
Me: Well, we would certainly stop anyone crossing a road who hadn’t seen a car coming whether we knew them or not. All it took was two clicks to identify the organisation where this person said they attended. We have passed on a name and a public tweet for you to act on or ignore. It’s up to you really. We have no other agenda.
Them: I’m not confirming this student is one of ours. We take safeguarding very seriously and I’ve had the training so my guard is always up.
Me: I do understand safeguarding issues very well from our work with other schools.  Do you want the link to the tweet so you have that?
Them: No. We have our own team who do all that.
Me: Very good.
[professional pleasantries]
*end of call*
 
Obviously this stings particularly badly at my personal integrity and core values and I just have to acknowledge that.   Many things whirled in my head during and after this call though.  If I’d been a person of disrepute would I have contacted the organisation to first check the female was a student, left my cross-checkable details etc? I genuinely don’t know.  People can be cunning can’t they.
 .
What I do know though is that the tweet & it’s contents appeared to hold no interest (I’m sure it was checked out ultimately) and the notion of someone, particularly from a company, offering information with no other agenda than ‘to help’ just did not compute for the other person.  What that speaks worse of I’m again unsure.
 
I’ve never told anyone about this before but it’s relevant here so I will. I did once, I believe, stop a young lady from being killed on a zebra crossing by blasting my car horn to make her stop dead in her tracks as another car, that I’d seen approaching in my rear view mirror but she hadn’t, shot through on the inside lane. I still run this like a mini-movie years later with surprising frequency.  Today felt a bit like that, except that there seemed to be someone else there who instead believed the car horn was probably a wound down window or open door.
 
Safeguarding is important. It’s critical and you’re probably here reading this with a good understanding of the gravity of some scenarios schools face each week. However, today gave cause for some personal reflection.
  • Would I blast my car horn at a zebra crossing again?
    Yes. Though there’s no guarantee the person will stop.
  • Would I call a learning organisation to pass on some information that could affect the welfare of a student – even though they haven’t paid us to?
    Yes.  I believe so.
  • Do I need a brew and to get on with my paid work now?
    Yes. Definitely.

 

Note:
Vague descriptions of entities and individuals only used to protect identity

Photo use under: Open Government Licence v3.0

Schools, Trains and Change Management

Today I was travelling back by train from a meeting in Manchester. Hot choc in hand I arrived at the platform and found that the train I was to catch had been cancelled.  No worries. Trainline App to hand (I wasn’t alone – another guy also had this) I worked out what I needed in no time. No worries.

In front of me was a chap who looked confused.  He asked another guy what was happening with the trains and he replied to say he had an app that said the next train was due shortly, quick change then onward no worries.  Chap was pleased to help and confused guy glad of the info and he hung around phone app guy in some sort of subconscious thankyou mode.

The platform soon filled with lots of other people.  One threesome couldn’t see their train on the departure board so they went off to seek a train person to ask.  There was shoulder shrugging and frowning in equal measure.

Finally the train arrived, we all piled in for one stop then piled out again at the next station to change.  The app people, including myself, stepped straight onto the connecting train on platform 3 quite confidently.  Elsewhere other voices could be heard asking the same question.

Is this the train for Preston?  Is it?  You think so?  Yeh I’m pretty sure it is.  According to this app it is yes.  Noone seems to know for sure.  You’d think they’d put someone on here to ask wouldn’t you?

Complete strangers reaching out for the right information and reassurance but sadly both were in short supply.  People were resigned to their fate now.  Doors shut and necks continued to crane looking for signs and confirmation that they were headed in the right direction.  Like a slightly smug individual I opened my laptop on a free table and got working.

Why the train story?  For me it illustrates what happens when there’s an enforced change and people have to divert from their usual trajectory.  Some people are in the know and can crack on.  Some people are good at finding out the answers and seek either authority or peers.  Passengers with access to the latest info at the point where it’s needed are able to cope with the change and even become useful to those who are less connected.

When social media is used proactively, responsively and strategically by schools to the benefit of their community it’s magical and empowering and it’s precisely why we do it; we’ve called it ‘improving the parent journey’.

For more visit Blippit Social

Part 2: Learning with Year 2 about the Vikings, non-chronological reports and app making

The last literacy-focused app publishing lesson with Year 2 happened last week. Both during and after the lesson we learned a lot about how the writing process was affected, even in more reluctant writers, by the addition of app publishing.

Though the focus was so clearly writing improvement, when the children were asked, the prospect of Mummy or Daddy having the app on their phones was also featuring large in their minds.

You can get the Viking App Template from Blippit Academy and get The Year 2 Project app from Planet Blippit.

Listen now to part 2 with Assistant Head & Literacy Leader Mrs Emma Smallshaw, from Salesbury Primary in Lancashire, in action with her Year 2 class and reflecting afterwards with John Bidder from Blippit about the process as a whole and next steps.

You can also read and listen to Part 1 of this project and if you prefer YouTube you can catch the project playlist here.

Part 1: Learning with Year 2 about the Vikings, non-chronological reports and app making

We’ve been focusing on how the process of improving non-chronological report writing could combine with publishing a mobile app using Blippit’s App Maker.

One of the most striking factors was the effect of telling the children that their app would be seen by the world; this would include mum & dad on their mobile phones too.  We’ve always believed in the positive effect of having an authentic audience and what was clear was that these children, at such a young age, were highly motivated at the thought.

What you’ll get a sense of in the video is the absolute focus on literacy and writing improvement.  What was less easy to capture was the willingness of the children to ‘fix’ their writing to make it better.  This is the ‘norm’ for these children it seems and dealing with being told that there’s ‘a problem with’ some part of their writing was not a problem for them.  You can get the Viking App Template from Blippit Academy.

Listen to Assistant Head & Literacy Leader Mrs Emma Smallshaw, from Salesbury Primary in Lancashire, in action with her class and reflecting afterwards about the process so far.

You can also read and listen to Part 2 of this project and if you prefer YouTube you can catch the project playlist here.