We are vschoolready.com

In March 2020 we had a call from a Head who was thinking ahead to longer term provision of learning for their children during the Covid-19 virus outbreak. She knew that much beyond Easter things would get less rewarding for learners & teachers alike unless the school acted.  The question was:

“Can you create us a virtual school?”

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Relevant contextual author history
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I’ve been involved with online learning for around 20 years.  I conceived and set up the first Virtual Teaching and Learning Centre in during my Bolton Local Authority adviser years in response to the National Grid for Learning.  Later I was blessed with the job of making the Harnessing Technology government agenda work across Bolton and even later, use these experiences to contribute to the government’s Building Schools of the Future programme.

So with all this pain and experience behind me of developing large scale CPD, change management programmes and liaising with more stakeholders than you should have to, I knew precisely what I and the school wouldn’t find useful.  Not to mention the massive reduction in scale for this solution making things like lightening to turn around, we had a working environment in under a week.

The cause of the pain over all those years ago was simply this. No one could actually articulate the critical need for a learning platform.  The only driver was government money.  That in itself was a massive weakness. If someone is providing you with the money to do something that you actually don’t really want to do, then it should be no surprise at all when the return on that investment is virtually zero. I still think that if people get things for free they don’t value it because they’ve got ‘no skin in the game’ as someone used to say to me.

John Bidder, MD, Blippit.

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The answer, after a day & late night of reflection, thinking & creating was “Yes”.

The 10 things we knew we wanted/didn’t want
  1. Massive support needs and time-consuming training programs could not determine the success of this
  2. Huge budgets are not available anymore so costs have to be keen, optional & even non-renewable where possible
  3. Skills need to be transferable for this to work. We use Google tools to weave vschool together
  4. Teachers and teaching staff should have a sense of familiarity where possible with the tools they are being asked to use
  5. It should not be a three page long feature rich platform where in reality people use half a dozen things with confidence and regularity
  6. Teacher should be able to start with baby steps yet still make big leaps
  7. The big needs at primary level are to do with re-establishing relationships and putting a face back on the school
  8. Support would need to be spot on with resources available at the point of need.
  9. Nothing should be fixed in stone.
  10. In the short to medium term children should not need logins and passwords to take part.

Like most projects, this one got its own nickname & just to be cool the first letter got itself italicised.  Blippit vschool was born! Take a look on the new website sometime if you’re feeling ‘vschool ready’ at vschoolready.com .  The paint is barely dry, but our official mission at Blippit is to help as many schools as possible address the challenge on the horizon of keeping learners & teachers engaged with each other.  We want the face of learning not to be that of a stressed mum, dad or carer trying to make head or tails of some resources plopped on the school website. We want the face of learning to be the professional, familiar, caring and happy face of every class teacher who knows each child as an individual & how they tick.

Visit VSchool at https://vschool.com
https://vschoolready.com

 

 

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