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.

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.

App Maker Templates for Literacy

Last week we pruned Blippit Academy right back to basics. What we’ve got now is a stripped back site that we’re aiming to build up again with the help of teachers using particularly Blippit App Maker.

We’re really excited what’s happening in literacy via our App Maker templates.  We’ve a couple of case studies under way in Year 6 & Year 2 that we’ll be sharing soon so that you can find your bearings a little more quickly when you’re teaching.

Can you help?
Have you made a scaffolded app for the children to use?  Would you like to to share it with a growing community of other teachers via Blippit Academy with full credit given?  Visit Blippit Academy to check out what’s involved and to also try existing ready-to-go app templates which are ready to be uploaded into your Blippit account.

Blippit Academy

21 New free Python Template Projects for Years 7-9

21 new Python Project Templates have just been added to Blippit’s PureCode Python for secondary schools.

The templates have been created by an Industry Project Team of final year computer science students at Griffith University on the Gold Coast in Australia who have been working with Blippit Australia to bring their subject expertise to schools learning to code in the cloud with Blippit.

 

Bubble Algorithm
This sorts a list using a bubble sort algorithm, can you figure out how it works?
PureCode Python Project Templates

These new project templates are progressive with the concepts they present and of course being templates they are completely editable by the teacher if schools wants to make their own version of the project.

If you’re not using Blippit already you can register for a free account in the UK here and in AU here

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Get this ready-to-import Heart Fitness Blippit App Project Template

We’re aiming to help with scaffolding learning in the classroom using app making as the vehicle across any area of the curriculum.  Children love making and publishing apps so why not?

Below you’ll see a screenshot of Planet Blippit where we’ve published a template project app for children to adapt and make their own. Here’s how YOU can do this for any topic and any subject.

To get the Heart Fitness App Project Template

  1. download it from Planet BlippitBlippit Academy or directly here
  2. follow this video of how to download then upload a template into Blippit App Maker.

.app template heart fitness

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.

New App Maker Templates – make, share, remix, download & upload apps

faster, smoother starts
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
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.

Here’s one video about how the teacher can now really easily share their own project in the app maker as a template for other children to work with and learn from.  More videos on this topic are in the Blippit Knowledge Base.

 

Planet Blippit

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.

Planet Blippit Downloadable Apps