The new United Arab Emirates Design & Technology Curriculum is well under way with STEM themed app making projects and fabulous learning happening in schools such as this leading girls’ school.
The attention to detail in these apps is very noticeable, as is the thought that has gone into the preparation for the learning, supported and emphasised in the new MoE created teacher & student handbooks.
Here are some images of the girls’ activity and work from the classroom where students are seen presenting to peers the key features, content and design considerations. It’s good to also see the creative use of Google Forms in a number of the apps – you can see this in a screenshot of one of the apps lower down this article.
Considering that the UAE only began using Blippit in mid-January 2018 we’re impressed with the rate of progress. Congratulations to everyone involved.
The curriculum for schools in the United Arab Emirates is changing rapidly in response to the UAE Vision 2021. Critically the UAE wants to be among the best countries in the world by 2021 and for us its been a pleasure to work colleagues at the Ministry of Education to make Blippit part of the new Design & Technology curriculum. The pace has been remarkable.
[rule style=”rule-thin” ]”…the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda emphasises the development of a first-rate education system, which will require a complete transformation of the current education system and teaching methods. The National Agenda aims for all schools, universities and students to be equipped with Smart systems and devices as a basis for all teaching methods, projects and research.” Read: First-Rate Education System. [rule style=”rule-thin” ]
The MoE has an Office 365 integrated sign in for their schools to use with Blippit to make life easier. Uniquely, theirs is a bespoke Blippit App Maker cloud that’s only accessible to schools in the UAE to bring performance enhancements and meet their data requirements.
A new publication has been created thanks to teachers in the UAE supported by colleagues from the Ministry of Education. Teachers are now using this publication thanks to their in-country training in 2018.
As the schools in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates get to grips with the App Maker and begin their learning, we looking forward to seeing how they progress with their new digital skills, explorations of app making, coding and creativity.
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.
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
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.
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.
What are the benefits of going secure?
- 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.
- 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)
- Your parent & carer community will see ‘SECURE’ being directly associated with the school which has to be good.
- 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:
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?
<School Who Knows What They’re Talking About>”
What happens if we don’t get a security certificate applied to the school website?
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!
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.
Refer-to-Pharmacy allows hospital pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to refer people directly to their community pharmacist for free NHS services such as the New Medicine Service or a Discharge Medication Review.
We’ve been working with Alistair Gray, Clinical Services Lead Pharmacist at East Lancashire Health Trust, on an idea to help spread of the word about Refer-to-Pharmacy. After an initial chat, Alistair quickly saw the potential of having an app, that he had complete control over, to aggregate sources of news, project updates, video, talks/events and so on for anyone wanting to know more about the project.
With an hour’s training he very quickly made a really convincing job of the first ever ‘Refer to Pharmacy’ app and incredibly within 24 hours a QR Code and link were added to the latest print run design of the new R2P brochure. We feel confident that having an eye for detail, Alistair’s app will continue to evolve – in fact it’s at version 11 at time of writing!
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Blippit is really happy and proud to support awareness raising of such a great project with it’s roots firmly in the NHS. The fact that Refer-To-Pharmacy is being picked up internationally now too is a really positive sign.
Refer-to-Pharmacy is a Patient Safety Award winning initiative; being the recipient of the Best Emerging Technology or IT award at the 2016 Patient Safety Congress.
Does your organisation have a project?
[panel-content]We’re in talks about a few other projects supporting the strategic goals of large organisations just now and we’ll hopefully be able to share more in time. If you are from a large organisation, such as the NHS, and have strategic goals that could be supported in a similar way please contact us via email@example.com with your idea. If your organisation has established links to education already and would like to discuss an app making project or competition concept for schools we’d be happy to talk.
Our improvements today are all about usability & accessibility on the App Maker. These will be arriving late in the day (Friday 23rd Sept) for most schools in all countries 🙂
- New platform wide Font for easier reading (pic)
- Trimmed and simplified language in Widgets descriptions
- Icons added to improve interface & familiarity with widgets (pic)
- Widget Tips made easier to read for IWB and laptop users (pic)
- More space to write your feedback to children in app feedback
- More feedback when moving a widget in the Drop zone
- LITE gets the Switch Control Panel removed to make life simpler for Office 365 Education and Google Apps for Education & RM Unify schools
- You no longer get logged out when you change your password
- Teachers choose what happens to a .blip project template (pic)
- Blippit arrives faster on screens now via HTTP/2 (tech)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with initial ideas/questions.