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.

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

Office 365, Google Apps for Education & AirHead may keep you cool under pressure

passwordFor many people, logging in to multiple web based services is a real pain in the backside.  In schools, when you add in the pressured pace of life and dynamic nature of the environment, the pain can really stack up.

It’d be very cool to just have one log in that spoke to every other system as access was needed aka a ‘single sign-on’.  But as Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker in Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.”   Logging out of systems suddenly becomes very important.

How could Office 365 or Google Apps for Education help life in school?

Lots of schools now choose to adopt one or the other platform (& sometimes bits of each) because it means they’re in a good position to get one step closer to the dream of single sign-on.  One unique username (often an email address) and password will not only get each person into Office 365/Google but even better is that they can use these same credentials to log in to other systems too.

Take Blippit as an example

Schools using Office 365 or Google Apps for Education can now use their school details to log in and get busy making apps, code projects and so on.  We make a simple change on the school’s Blippit account and then that’s it.  There’s no more extra account creation, management or delayed lesson starts while someone sorts out their password.  Any password changes that happen are triggered through Office 365 or Google and when this happens it doesn’t affect any other system, including Blippit.

If your school uses Blippit IO and wants to reduce the number of tech admin jobs for colleagues as well as the number of usernames and passwords children/teachers have to remember then visit these two ‘how to’ articles for Office 365 or Google Apps.  Start saving time, energy & blood vessels today.

AirHead

Blippit IO is also available on AirHead which, when you first have a go with the free version, allows you to enter your Blippit IO username & password then securely remember it for wherever you are and whichever computer you’re using.  It’s a superb way to begin to experience the convenience of simplified sign on.  Dig deeper and you’ll also find that AirHead can offer your school a different way of making children’s and teacher’s lives a lot easier because it also integrates with Office 365 and Google Apps for Education among other things.

  • Find out more about having AirHead in your school

Improve response rates mid year on Ofsted Parent View Questions & other surveys too!

FlierIf, 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.


FAQs

No. This was just an example of a survey that we created.  You can survey parents on any topic you need to at any time
Yes. You can have unlimited space for comments.
Easily done – give out a school code/password to each family by text or letter and make entering that code a part of the survey.
A survey can be set up to cater for either.
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

  1. Here’s how it would look on your school Facebook Page timeline except customised to your school
    Parental Survey on Facebook
  2. 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 🙂

Latest Updates on Blippit: April 2016

Here’s what we’ve updated, added, fixed or just improved on Blippit IO.

There are a couple more major updates coming this month but for now here’s what’s live in April.

All Blippit Users
  • Plain English name changes.
    • Old name: Comms -> New name: Inbox
  • A Quick Tour of Blippit now launches at log in for everyone
  • The Button to the Blippit Knowledge Base is now bright orange for better visibility (top right)
  • Knowledge Base articles expanded and improved
  • Bug that prevented Blippit re-sizing and displaying properly in some screen sizes fixed
Teachers/Admins CPD
  • Blippit Academy is now live with the first App Maker course available now free
    • course materials also use resources on the Knowledge Base without the need to log in
App Maker
  • Plain English name changes.
    • Old name:  Widget Pallette -> New name: Drop Zone
Blocks & Purecode Python
  • Speedier Turtle draw area to cope with longer & more complex programs
  • Background Scene Gallery added
    • Admin upload own images for themselves & share to all students
    • Students upload own images for themselves & share
  • Capture Cam feature added for users to grab the drawing area for evidence of achievement.  This is in addition to the ability to Download the code used in a project.
Admins Only – New & Live
  • A Notification pop-up tells you how many apps you have waiting to approve/decline at log in
  • Blippit (HQ & Support) can System Message all Admins via the new Inbox.
    • Our Messages will be marked with an orange dot
      • Feedback message from Admins to students will be marked with a green dot
    • Messages will be few and of the type that directly affects Blippit use as opposed to “hey how are you?”
    • This is a pre-emptive step to enabling the same capability for School Blippit Admin’s to be able to message users proactively via the inbox to help you support your classes

How to Update your Blippit IO Chrome App Extension

Updating the Chrome Extension version Blippit IO sometimes needs a bit of encouragement.

Many teachers have said

I don’t have a Chromebook

But to use this popular version of Blippit you only need the Chrome Browser not a Chromebook.

At time of writing we’re currently on version 2.2.4.  The quickest way to check if you’re on vers. 2.2.4 at a glance is that the tool bar looks like this.

Blippit_IO

If you’re not on 2.2.4 then follow the steps below.

First

updating chrome ext

Last

Update Extensions Now

Not Installed a Chrome Extension Before?

You can get it here directly  or watch the video first.

Want the Chrome Version of Blippit IO?

In the USA, the Chromebook is the number one selling device into education from K-12.  Globally, well take a look for yourself at how the Chrome Browser is doing.  It’s pretty incredible.

browsers map stats

We love Chrome and Chromebooks but amazingly so few people in the UK and beyond have got to grips with how simple it is to speed up access to applications in the classroom.
So we decided, after a bit of a prompt from @TomSale (it was on the to do list Tom), to make a quick video to show you and your students exactly what to do and how to do it.  Enjoy!

Music: http://www.bensound.com