Book your March 2017 Workshop place & boost parental engagement via social media

Blippit Social Bolton Workshops

Book a place for this March & April 2017 at one of our face-to-face school-based afternoon workshops and amongst the latest good practice for schools,  you’ll learn what hundreds of parents had to say about what it’s like to have children at a school where social media is proactively used.

These are unique insights that we’ve turned into actions that you can take away and use in your own setting.

Bolton School Workshops


St Paul’s (Astley Bridge) CE Primary – Bolton St Catherine’s CE Primary – Horwich POSTPONED Eagley Junior School – Bolton
Eventbrite - Best Practice to Boost Your School's Parental Engagement via Social Media Eventbrite - Best Practice to Boost Your School's Parental Engagement via Social Media POSTPONED

Kearsley West Primary – Bolton
Eventbrite - Best Practice to Boost Your School's Parental Engagement via Social Media

We’ll not just be sharing this unique parental insight with you.  As part of the workshop you’ll get the latest good practice for boosting meaningful engagement and advice on Facebook’s new focus on ‘video’.

It’ll be fun (yes that’s allowed) and we’re also going to introduce you to some new apps that’ll reinvigorate your timelines too!

All School Based

Online booking is now open for 4 Bolton school venues.  More dates will follow in other areas too. These are half-day sessions that include resources and refreshments for £69 +vat  Existing schools who have our Blippit Social service already can choose the free ticket option 🙂

Visit www.blippitsocial.co.uk  information on Blippit Social in general.

Infographic vector designed by Freepik

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.

Head Teacher Comment: Surveying the parental community on Facebook

As part of our managed and monitored social media service for schools (Blippit Social) we recently ran a fast turnaround ‘end of term’ survey for Lammack Primary School’s Head Teacher, Mrs Paula Duckworth.

We asked Paula to comment on the experience of using Facebook to survey parents as part of the school’s ongoing Blippit Social service.

We are so busy but we didn’t need to worry about sorting the survey – it just happened!

Surveying parents is no small task and with time being so short the challenge was how to do it in a way that may also get a wider range of parents responding.

Lammack agreed to our suggestions that they could

  1. do it in Facebook – familiar environment, save some trees
  2. include a random prize draw

With the survey built we then put measures in place to sanity check the Facebook community responses to ensure that

  • participants were actually parents/family
  • it was easy for parents to accurately and quickly respond

Questions were a mix of 1-5 range type (examples below) and free comment areas.

survey questions

Once signed off by school we looked back at previous months’ parental engagement data (included in Blippit Social) to see when parents would be most likely to respond.  We then scheduled a Facebook Update to go on to the school Page at a specific time on a specific day when we knew, based upon our historic data, that parents would be more likely to engage.

Mobile vs Desktop

On average each participant spent 4mins 14secs completing this Parental Questionnaire – which is quite quick when you see the mobile/desktop split of respondents (above)

We’ve a strong feeling that it’s because the survey was actually within Facebook that parents commented more freely and naturally than they might otherwise do.  The comments were only seen by school.  We need to do many more surveys to establish this for sure but the signs were there based on responses.

pretty chart
Example of how respondent answers are presented.

Only the school could see the responses coming in as they happened.  We got the results in Microsoft Excel  as well as ‘pretty’ PDF documents to share with SLT and Governors which will save me time.

What next?
  1. We’ll do more surveys for Heads through the Blippit Social service because we know just how hard it is to fit in doing them efficiently and effectively.
  2. We’ll be doing hashtag surveys next which are really lightweight, fast and dare we say ‘exciting’?

Fancy trying this approach like Lammack Primary?  Just get in touch with us at Blippit.

Also see:

Could you link with an Australian School?

Blippit AustraliaIf you’ve used any of our creative tools for schools you’ll probably know that we lean towards the ‘promoting inquisitive learners’ side of the street as opposed to the ‘nannying learners’ camp.

It’s not been done consciously it’s just that in my experience, the best learning I was ever involved with, in terms of developing higher level thinking skills, was project based learning (PBL).  I was able to take a few interested Head Teachers to Hong Kong on a visit hosted by Dr Chris Tan whom I’d met when he came to speak in the UK about his Knowledge Based Community work.  All Blooms, all rigorous and genuinely challenging.

So it was interesting to me that last week when in Dudley, London and then Manchester sharing what we do with Blippit IO that in every location I had teachers who were batting for the PBL approach, higher order thinking skills and who smiled broadly when I said “Oh Blooms stuff then?”

Why the PBL pre-amble to this blog post then?

We would like to set up some connections between UK schools using Blippit IO and Australian schools also using Blippit IO.  Simply here’s the concept.

  1. Pick a topic both settings can relate to
  2. Create apps on that topic focusing on areas where answers to questions are not initially known
  3. Publish apps to Planet Blippit
  4. Evaluate each others apps to generate more questions and comparisons to arrive at new understanding
  5. Video conference via Blippit IO’s Spotlight VC tool to talk/ask each other about your work/thinking.

Interested?

Please email Blippit Australia via support@blippit.com.au stating who you are, your role and possible topics you’d like to focus on that Australian schools could also find of use.  e.g local environmental issues.

blippitsocialsub

Blippit IO Launch

Blippit IO launched last week & it comes with a root and stem re-build and re-design of the successful original Blippit App Maker which is gradually retiring over the next 12-18 months – lucky thing!
There are 35000 users on Blippit’s original app maker for schools just now but already people have started to switch over to Blippit IO.

Want to switch or just see what it’s about?

  1. Start a Free Blippit IO School Trial
  2. You’ll get instant access for Free with no time limits
    • Chrome Browser users add the app to your Chrome browser here
    • RM Unify / CC4 Network Managers download the CC4 packaged desktop app version here
    • iPad users go to blippit.io to use Blippit IO directly in Safari
    • Windows PC users download the desktop app version here
    • Mac users download the desktop app version here
    • Chrome users add the app to your Chrome browser here
  3. Are you an RM Unify user? You can upgrade to unlimited everything direct via RM.
  4.  If you’re not with RM you can order here.

Existing School Users

We’ve emailed you already with special rates as a thank you for sticking with us from the beginning.  If you’ve not received an email from us just contact support@blippit.co.uk and we’ll put that right.

THANK YOU!  THERE’S MORE NEWS TO COME!

Blippit Social on BBC Breakfast talking social media and schools

This week I went on to BBC Breakfast’s famous red couch for Blippit Social. I was lucky enough to be invited on to the programme to comment and advise on the use of social media by schools and attitudes of parents to the subject more widely.

The Inflame Game

The context for the piece was the question of whether or not a primary head teacher of a school had done the right thing by sending home a letter essentially telling them not to let their children go on Facebook, they were too young etc.

When Bill Turnbull (my mum’s favourite presenter second only to Michael Palin) asked whether the school had done the right thing I essentially said yesfor that school it was the right thing. Saying anything else would have been wrong and only inflamed the story.  Not knowing or understanding the school’s context and history only the Head himself could say, on reflection, anything else.  Every school is different and that includes it’s community; having worked with as many schools as we have over the years there’s no doubt about that. We do know now that done right, even Ofsted inspectors see huge value in our parental engagement approach.

_40__BBC_Breakfast

Viewers’ comments on the  BBC Breakfast programme Facebook thread on the day show that there is no one single view when it comes down to it.  Parents do share the same essential views on safety but not necessarily the same view on what should be done and how to ensure it. Check the comments out to see what I mean.

It’s pointless to make it into a blame game

It’s a fruitless route to play the blame game in my opinion.  We’re all old and wise enough to know

  • It’s not Mark Zuckerberg’s fault
  • it’s not the parent’s fault
  • it’s not the children’s fault
  • it’s certainly not the Head Teachers’ fault

It’s just where we’re at in our evolution;  ‘learning’ how to use tools for which there are no real rules; only arbitrary age limits and everyone’s common sense.

The End Game?

What options are there then for young people, parents, teachers and companies on the best use of social media platforms linked to education?

  • raise age limits for access?
  • increase reporting tools to expedite action?
  • boycott social platforms?
  • boycott technology like phones, tablets etc?
  • enforce tough technology filters for home access?
  • enforce and introduce new legislation?
  • or support, educate and make users part of the solution?

And finally.  Of course being a very British thing to do I landed lots of stick for being spotted on the TV so if you can’t beat them, join them.

You may remember me...

ICT Use Divides Schools

Last night I was handed an article from the latest copy of the SEN Magazine www.senmagazine.co.uk which we read at home with both a professional and personal interest to try to keep up.

The article is very short (scanned into this post below) but unusual in this magazine because the piece has an ICT focus and comment from both NAACE Chief Exec Mark Chambers & the British Education Suppliers Association BESA on a critical issue in schools.

Typically it’s another flavour of the ‘digital divide’ theme but critically it is absolutely right in saying, I paraphrase, that where technology is least loved & appreciated you’ll find poor infrastructure (cables & clever boxes) and little hope in ICT as an enabler at leadership level & I’d add, almost by default, class teacher level too.

 This conjures up a rubbish Christmas tree in my mind.
Nice baubles - pity about the tree
Nice baubles – pity about the tree
This following scenario isn’t unheard of

A school buy a class pack of iPads and then try to hang these new ‘shinies’ onto their aged school network. It’s an unwelcome surprise when their investment appears to lack much impact over time as people get fed up with slow speeds online, wi-fi unavailability, time consuming app management, printing fever and more. Kit starts to go home and usage drops.  School leaders begin to wonder; “What can we do to make people use this kit on a daily basis?”

Why might this happen?

Nice baubles-pity about the tree.  The impact of the ‘boring cabley bits’ not being right is far reaching.  We know cables & clever boxes are sometimes overlooked for understandable reasons like the fact they’re invisible and parent’s can’t see them like they can see a shiny iPad.  Let’s be honest. “School Gets Latest Super Router 1.9” doesn’t exactly get parents’ juices going compared to “1-1 iPads in Year 6”.

Time for a reality check par’dner

  1. There have been times when the education ICT Support/solutions industry has been like the wild west. Schools made decisions in good faith and were often guided by wider LA strategy that may have been a compromise for their setting.  Where school leadership was more confident they’d go independent with ICT support and sometimes it’d work and sometimes it wouldn’t but either way the responsibility fell to the school to sort it with the service provider.
  2. Schools who opted to stay with local authority infrastructure support did/do, I’m told by some Heads, still feel a level of reassurance that no matter what the Authority will always be there to be accountable.  If things aren’t ideal in school then it’s because they’re with the Authority *rolleyes*.  It’s a challenge to avoid inadvertently slipping into a semi-comfy position of learned helplessness as opposed to grabbing the thing by the baubles when you know deep down that change is needed root & stem.
  3. Not being able to speak techie has always been a bug bear for many school leaders. It’s not what they joined up for.   The answer to this is to communicate in scenarios.  “I want all all our children to be able to easily keep evidence of….”  A good provider can interpret, understand and also offer scenarios based on experience that maybe school has not arrived at yet.  If they can’t speak so you can understand what they’re offering or bring ideas and innovations based on experience – find someone else who can.
  4. TRUST. Some schools have had quite a run of having their trust, shall we say, abused?  It’s a horrible word to have in the same sentence as ‘schools’.  Trust is something that an official framework can’t magically create. It comes with people doing what they say they’ll do and maybe doing a bit more besides without soliciting a red carpet thank you for doing it. It’s a human thing in my mind and honestly you should get a good feeling from every point of contact with a  supplier – not just a ‘front man’.
  5. ICT and it’s boring invisible bits are only one part of a large, complex and pressured environment in school. However, done right it could really help everyone shine.
Who’s out there?

It’d be pretty crass to name names here but do email me if you like and I’ll pass you details of at least one thinking company doing, in my opinion, a class leading job in the north west and beyond. [Update 6/11/14: I’ve had a re-think & decided life’s too short & people are too busy so here’s a nugget for you: Virtue Technologies ]

Here’s the SEN Magazine Article