dptidman

Using Facebook beyond school

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2012 at 8:21 am

With the use of Facebook and other social networking sites being considered by many schools as a way to communicate with parents, students and others, I have tried to pull together some information based on user groups such as Safetynet on the best way to go about this. please feel free to add your thoughts and experiences to help others.

Using Facebook to keep parents up to date is a good idea but start by consulting with them, if they do not want it there is little point in setting it up

Putting information up for older pupils is fine as long as the information can be accessed in other ways e.g. Twitter, the schools website or learning platform for those not wishing to engage with Facebook. (There may be cultural/social/technical issues around this)

Using Facebook for directly informing or communicating with pupils under 13 should not be done, as this may be seen as encouraging them to use Facebook. I appreciate that you can view Facebook pages without logging on, but to like etc. you need to be logged in.

Putting information relevant to pupils under 13 for parental information and for parents to share with their children should be okay. In this way pupils may get reminders etc. by looking at the public page, but are not being told to use it. Think carefully about what you do put up in case it encourages students under 13 to join the site.

 Administratively, it is better to only allow likes on posts, as this ensures you don’t need to moderate it 24/7 (also there is the being responsible for comments on your site issue).

 A useful way of parents contacting the school could be through the messaging option, as long as this is checked regularly.

It would be prudent not to mention specifics when discussion trips etc., as there might be child protection issues around revealing where pupils are going and when, on a public site.

Ensure that at least two people have access to the facebook account at all times to ensure child protection when it comes to private messages etc. Possibly set up a new email address in our system to monitor this.

Ensure the site is kept active and up to date or it will become a a waste of time and fail to achive the impact you are looking for

Trips – If you are going to use this to feedback/update to parents about  these activioties ensure that the school has good risk assessments in place for the actual trip and covers the use of social media.

If you plan to add pictures of pupils, ensure your policy is clear and up to date, and follow the usual advice such as not to use full names etc. Again, you will need parental consent for this.

There is still a problem with pictures (even without using names) in that they can be tagged.  A good way of avoiding this is to have content of this sort appearing to be in Facebook whilst actually being hosted elsewhere and pulled in to sit inside Facebook – removing the functions that exist for all content hosted by Facebook.

 Have a look at something like www.facebook.com/barrowfordschool or www.facebook.com/whittleprimary – these were done with some tools developed by Social School Media.

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Getting started with programming

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm

If, like many schools, you are looking to develop programming but aren’t sure where to start here are a few places worth a few minutes to look at;

Microsoft Kodu – Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/kodu/

Code Academy – JavaScript is a programming language that grew out of a need to add interactivity to web sites within the browser. It has since evolved into an incredibly versatile language that is used for both client-side (within the browser) and server-side (code that serves web pages to users) applications – http://www.codecademy.com/#!/exercises/0

 

If, like many schools, you are looking to develop programming but aren’t sure where to start here are a few places worth a few minutes to look at;

 

Microsoft Kodu – Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/kodu

 

Hackasaurus – Hackasaurus makes it easy to mash up and change any web page like magic. You can also create your own webpages to share with your friends, all within your browser – http://hackasaurus.org/en-US/

Scratch – Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web – http://scratch.mit.edu/    Educators resource site – http://info.scratch.mit.edu/Educators 

 

 

ICT or Computing. Is this really what it’s all about, one or the other?

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2012 at 10:04 am

With all the fuss and discussions following on from Michael Gove’s seepech at BETT about the re-focus on the introduction of computing in schools, I tough people might be interetsed in this interview of Ollie Bray (Learning and Teaching, Scotland) http://bit.ly/A5AdCi at the NAACE conference earlier this year. If we aren’t careful we will loose sight of what we are about and spend all our time jumping from one thing to the next without really knowing why. There is a place for all the aspects he talks about without the knee jerk recation we are seeing towards computing. It has always been about the need to provide high quality learning , a broad and balanced curriculum and developing an understanding about how technology works, can be applied to help us and equally importantly when not to. I liken it a stage, currently Computing is in the spotlight and the other aspects of the subject are sitting in the shadows but they are still there playing a part and can’t be ignored. If we do we won’t do our learners any favours.