But does it help students learn?

Student-made Blippit apps, woven with project based learning methodology, focus on transition & creativity!

You get a positive gut feeling when a project is able to be summed up like this:

“9 young people, 3 apps, 3 days”

Dare we watch?  How will they do? What if the pressure is too much?

The answer was that these young people, selected from 50 possibles who all wrote emails to say why they should be involved, did what most young people do and that is take it all in their stride.

Read Dave Cookson’s reflections on Blippit as an app making tool for schools

There’s a great blog here that diaries the three days and the project based learning principles behind the work and you can see for yourself how the comments of others drove reflection, re-versioning and improvement in the apps mad by the students using Blippit.

You’ll also see that the project had some very ‘can do’ people involved too like Assistant Head Teacher at Monkseaton Middle School Neil Cottiss @cottiss77

What was great for me was that I was treated just like a spare pair of hands by students who asked questions via email when they needed to.  I was also invited to comment on the blog when a new version of their app was shared – a great way to engage when activity is really tightly focused around a set time frame.

Planet Blippit

If you want to see what Seaton Burn College achieved in 3 days you can go to their personalised school app space on Planet Blippit.  No matter what phone or tablet they have, the Year 6’s & their parents are going to genuinely benefit from these apps. Will it affect their view of the college and it’s expectations of students?  I expect it will.  Great project & very proud to be involved.

Conference Video: A Head Teacher’s Journey with Facebook

Clare Berryman, Head of the first ever school we used the SocialSchoolMedia approach with to harness Facebook for parental engagement, told her story at a conference and here it is – much overdue but better shared late than never! Enjoy.

From the day’s agenda blurb:

Clare has a proven and recognised track record of innovation including the creation of a ‘much observed’ new school curriculum design. She is a Leader of Education with the National College and provides CPD and support within Lancashire authority on creative approaches to the curriculum and personalised learning. Clare is no technical expert but recognised long ago that if the school was to engage with parents early on in the relationship then social media was the right tool for the task; particularly Facebook. Clare is shortly to have her children making apps for and in the school and is looking forward to seeing the learning that will come from this.

(Originally posted on SocialSchoolMedia.com 01/14)

A cautionary true tale

I’ve just reconnected a 1TB external hard drive to my laptop and I now feel sick to the stomach.  Every single file, photo, family video and other bits have gone.  Completely.

I used to feel an enormous sense of well-being safe in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to be one of those poor devils for whom dataloss was inevitable.   To save space on my laptop I also stored years of video snippets of my young family on there too plus a huge iTunes library of music.

All was going well until about a month ago.

I hope you have a backup

I started to receive some worrying emails from Western Digital, the back-up drive manufacturer, saying that a recent upgrade to my laptop’s operating system was causing complete and total backup data loss for many users with the same set up.

Was this spam?  The birth of an urban myth?   No.  It was quite real but impressively two emails later WD had sorted some fixes out for the poor folks who’d fallen victim.

Western Digital released a firmware update and shared the link in their email but I had no need for their fix.  I was an elite back-up ninja who had successfully dodged the bullet.  A month passed and it looked like I’d got off scott free, right up until 30 minutes ago when the drive just formatted itself and caused me to write this post.

I reconnected the USB cable and noticed that the backup wasn’t mounting and after much Googling I remembered the WD emails, dug them out and forlornly followed their instructions.

Within the last 3 minutes after a firmware update, a restart and much sweat the empty hard drive has literally just re-populated itself.  From nothing came something and like anyone who has ever had something precious returned to them I don’t know or really care how this worked but I’m just glad I can see my family growing up again.

The moral?

You think it’ll never happen to you but it probably will.  Hard drives break and software will go pear-shaped.  Perhaps I need to sort out a Cloud based back up solution that’s more than just the free version of Dropbox though it is does do a very good job and this last hour I was very glad to have it. Time to go and watch some videos now that I thought I’d lost but if you’d like to share any backup horror stories or successes do feel free!