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.

10 Improvements to the App Maker

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 🙂

  1. New platform wide Font for easier reading (pic)
  2. Trimmed and simplified language in Widgets descriptions
  3. Icons added to improve interface & familiarity with widgets (pic)
  4. Widget Tips made easier to read for IWB and laptop users (pic)
  5. More space to write your feedback to children in app feedback
  6. More feedback when moving a widget in the Drop zone
  7. LITE gets the Switch Control Panel removed to make life simpler for Office 365 Education and Google Apps for Education & RM Unify schools
  8. You no longer get logged out when you change your password
  9. Teachers choose what happens to a .blip project template (pic)
  10. Blippit arrives faster on screens now via HTTP/2 (tech)

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

App Shy or App Proud? Blippit IO caters for both

We know some teachers don’t want all apps to be showcased for their own reasons.

This is a ‘top tip’ blog post for all Blippit IO Admins who have the job of saying yes/no and providing feedback on submitted apps from students.

How to control whether apps are showcased in Planet Blippit or still go live but ‘not’ appear in Planet Blippit.
blippitiovisibleinvisible

How to view a student app if you’ve chosen not to list it on Planet Blippit

The Administrator clicks the ‘View App’ buttonView an app that is not listed on planet blippit

and a QR Code will be created for you to scan with *Blippit Torus and get the app.

scan with blippit torus

How the student gets their app if it’s not on Planet Blippit

student scans qr code

 

*Blippit Torus has not been published just yet but we hope to bring good news soon

Blippit IO FREE Version

Schools from 9/10/15 (GMT evening) will be able to use all of Blippit IO’s tools for FREE!

Included:

  1. Blippit IO App Maker
  2. Blippit IO PureCode Python (text based coding)
  3. Blippit IO Spotlight (video web conferencing)

You’ll be able to set up unlimited student and teacher users accounts within your school to use all of Blippit IO’s tools whenever and wherever you choose (subject to the t’s and c’s).  *Schools can upgrade their FREE Account to ‘unrestricted use’ at any time as per usual.

App Maker Privacy

Administrators can now choose whether or not to publish a student’s app onto Planet Blippit

Planet Blippit or Not

App Maker Animation

We have re-designed both the Image Widget and Slideshow Widget so that you can now upload animated Gif files into your app.  These clever little files can be seen on any mobile device and have seen a resurgence in popularity recently.  Here’s an example of such an animated gif featuring Blippit IO PureCode Python.

Animated Gif - Just do it!

Here’s another showing animated images in the rebuilt Slideshow Widget.  Don’t watch them too long though or you may go a bit mad.

animated slides

Image Widget Editor

Upload and press ‘Edit Image’ to open up the powerful image editor right there in Blippit IO App Maker.  Add text, Instagram-type filters, stickers and more sophisticated effects with ease and speed.  This in it’s own right transforms what users can creatively achieve in their app projects.

Blippit IO App Maker Image Editor

#freefriday #blippitio

*free accounts are not available for home-school arrangements or schools using single-sign on platforms in the UK.  Schools using single0-sign on setups can of course register outside of their single sign-on platform but they would then have to log in outside of their normal habits and subsequently have more than a single sign on account to manage.

Blippit IO FREE Version! Computing App Making, Python coding, video  web conferencing

Face-to-Face with New Blippit IO Spotlight

It’s time to put learning literally in the Spotlight.  Meaningful, authentic and unique experiences with high expectations are where Blippit IO Spotlight is aiming to help out.

Historically face-to-face communications using technology has been thwarted in school because of

  • technical barriers i.e. Skype is blocked or Google meant a lot of account setup and wider thought
  • lack of service support
  • stranger danger worries
  • memories of megabucks needed to achieve anything worthwhile

Blippit-Spotlight-LOGO

So what have we done?

We’ve created Blippit IO Spotlight & the plan is that it’ll be exclusively available to all our Blippit IO School users as part of the Blippit IO suite whether you use the App Maker or PureCode Python or both.  Here’s a quick introduction:

What does Spotlight do and how is it different?

We have given the teacher full control over everything with no need for tech support.  The teacher chooses

  • who can use video to communicate
  • when it’s available and therefore when it isn’t by default
  • when ‘rooms’ for links are available

We’ve made Blippit IO Spotlight so that teachers can

  1. create exciting and unique opportunities for communicating and collaborating with others
  2. connect simply to another Blippit IO member or invited ‘other’ from outside of Blippit IO
  3. use text chat to share comments or links with others
  4. make best use of our quick file sender to share resources with others in project chat
  5. collaborate and communicate via Blippit IO Spotlight safely any time and anywhere

We’d like to thank all our users, past and present, for coming along with us on this change-filled time in education.  Let’s face it – change became the norm many years ago so why not try to have some fun along the way?  😉

School App Maker Admin Update

The new app maker currently in closed BETA testing is getting a, dare we suggest it, beautiful overhaul of how user admin is handled.  Having played tonight with the new interface and features first-hand I can say that it makes admin almost a pleasure.

newadmin
A sneaky peak of a tiny bit of the new School App Maker Admin

 

We’ll be unleashing the new app maker for general release really soon so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested in seeing the new incarnation.

In the meantime don’t forget our new free publication for primary year 6 computing in support of app making.

Sneaky Mission on a Train

Yesterday I was on a train journey that seemed so dull it could have been in black and white.  And that’s when I had an idea.

blippit image editing

I took a sneaky quick snap in the reflection of the train window, being sure not to arouse attention with a loud shutter sound effect or auto flash that would give the game away.

I sent the photo up to the Cloud via 4G which then synced to my laptop. Once there I loaded up my beta version of the new app maker which is currently in closed testing with peeps from schools.

One of the new features in the BETA comes under the heading of ‘funky’.  It was never requested by any user ever but what the heck we built it anyway because we believe it’ll have a big impact for the better.

Essentially we’ve taken the app maker and turned the Image Widget bit of it into a full blown image editor capable of quite magical things. Well, in the right hands anyway; not necessarily mine as you can see.

We can’t wait to see what our users do with this 🙂 Choo choo!

 

The morning after the Positive Head Teachers' CPD Event

I like this photo a lot. Head Teachers talking about social media parental engagement with Head Teachers and other school leaders at our Bippit Positive Head Teachers’ Event yesterday at the beautiful Brockholes Nature Reserve.

Yesterday schools from all over the north west come along to talk about the day-to-day challenges & successes of parental engagement.  It’s safe to say I think that noone went back to school with questions unanswered because we’d also invited some experienced Head Teacher colleagues along to share what they’d learned over the last 4 years with us.

Themes talked about included

  • Ofsted
  • e-safeguarding
  • educating & supporting parents
  • nurturing & harnessing school values through parents
  • time management
  • tips & tricks
  • what works better than something else
  • data on trends for engagement
  • data on topics of discussion
  • data on peak times for engagement
  • data on community demographics & much more

New! Blippit Social Reports

We introduced our new social reporting service for schools which goes beyond what regular Facebook Insights offer.  This for me personally is ‘where it’s at’ for us and our schools when you need to prove your worth, demonstrate how school is managing to keep the focus of relationship with parents on track  or the value of the activity to yourself or other powers that be. (Here’s an earlier article on just a small part of what we do.)

The event was filmed in lovely HD and we’ll be sharing the footage with delegates, speakers and other specially selected channels soon.  We’ll be doing more of this due to demands on the day and from those who simply couldn’t make it.

BIG THANKS to

  • Acer Education UK for sponsoring the Chromebook prize which was won by a delegate from a school in Wigan
  • InVentry & Virtue Technologies for supporting the event with their visitor management system
  • our NW Head Teachers, Lancs County Council & Brockholes Education Team speakers for sharing their respective knowledge & experience with others too.