Apps for Teachers and Education

A new series of peer-to-peer reviews of apps being used in education


Featured AppsHere at E-safety Support, we are regularly contacted by our members who want to know a little more about a new app they are investigating for their school.

Very often, these enquiries relate less to the features of the app, but more about how other schools are using them, how they are helping within the setting and what (if any) have been the snags.

We know that you, our members, have a vast array of knowledge and 'on the ground' experience of a great many apps and hoped that you would share your experienced with fellow teachers.

At E-safety Support our intention is to provide a useful arena for teachers to share their comments, allowing others to evaluate the feedback and help them decide if the app is for them.

We begin our series with ClassDojo

ClasDojoClassDojo is a US based app which "connects teachers with students and parents to build amazing classroom communities"

ClassDojo is essentially a communication app which, in brief, allows schools to share photos, class work, videos, messages etc. The app is designed to provide a flexible way to share this information with the whole school community.

We have received a specific question regarding this app from one of our members:

We are considering starting to use the free App 'Class Dojo' as a method to contact parents. Are you aware of any issues with this and have you and advice on how our e-safety policy should change to take into account this new method of interaction with parents and carers?

We contacted the makers of the app with this question. They replied confirming "We work really hard to make sure we are in full-compliance of all laws. We are also Privacy Shield certified for the EU".

High View Primary School would highly recommend the app. "Classdojo is fantastic. Most teachers in our school use it and the kids love it. The children are in class groups and other groups eg. Higher level maths group. They collect a given amount of awards that translates into team points and ultimately class prizes."

Can you help?
If you are using ClassDojo in your school, or have had experience of the app and would like to share your thoughts to help other E-safety Support members, please use the comments section below, or email tina@e-safetysupport.com.

Are there apps you would like to discuss?
We will be featuring the new GoBubble app from eCadets in our next app review. Have you used it in your school? Have you found it useful, easy to use, beneficial? Or, are you considering using it but have questions of your own? Please let us know.

If you would like to ask about other apps that interest you, please let us know by emailing tina@e-safetysupport.com.

Written by E-safety Support on February 09, 2017 13:37

The importance of parental engagement

Alan Foster WorkshopWith the fallout from cyber-bullying and sexting regularly hitting the front pages - unfortunately in most cases when the ultimate price has already been paid – you would have thought it would be easy to engage parents/careers when it comes to trying to combat the issue. However, this is not always the case, and with Ofsted now recommending that parents attend regular e-safety sessions schools are under increasing pressure.

Trust and understanding...
The difficulties arise because parents/carers don’t know what they don’t know. They are, rightly so, trusting of their children and also feel overwhelmed by some of the new technologies that they are using. Many adults turn to the younger generation to help them sort out their own technical problems and believe that they have a lot more knowledge than they themselves do. This can lead them to feeling vunerable and not wanting to appear as though they don’t understand this technical world around them.

It isn’t always that parents/carers don’t want to get involved, but they need help to understand the issues and how they can affect their children. Often, when you have the opportunity to explain these issues further and to explore them in more detail, it’s as though the ‘penny drops’ and you can see them nodding and beginning to recognise some of the behaviours they have seen in their children. Let’s face it, why would parents/carers understand issues such as sexting? This is a whole new way of ‘courting’ that they themselves would never have experienced. If you don’t understand the issues, then you can’t be expected to help, guide and support.

A classic example that highlights a combination of parents’ trusting their children and not understanding the full implications of their online activity took place at a boarding school recently. A pupil rang her mum to say that a friend of hers had put a post on Facebook to invite friends to a party at his house. He had put a picture of the house, full address, directions and description of the street, house everything - so that people could find it.

Her mum immediately rang the school to report the issue, but the response from the parent whose child has posted the invitation was not one of shock/horror that the boy had posted this information on Facebook, but that he had been told he could only invite a few friends and should never have invited more than about six. They totally missed the implication of what he had done!

This kind of story - alongside the fact that much of a child’s online activity will take place outside of school hours, is why schools working to get parents involved in safeguarding their children (and themselves) online - forms a key part of the new e-safety guidelines.

Education, education, education...
Just as parents/carers may be chasing the next new smart phone, children are always on the look out for the next new app to communicate with friends, and it doesn’t take long for an app to go viral. We can’t expect parents to always be on top of this which is why it is important for them to get that information from a third party; someone who can point them in the right direction to get the information they need, who can teach them the new terminologies and tell them where to go if they need help.

Through attending a school-hosted e-safety awareness session for just 1.5 hours, a couple of times a year, parent/carers can learn all they need to know to raise their own awareness and to not feel as though they are miles behind their children’s knowledge. When this is backed up with regular updates and even parent training courses, they will also feel supported when they tackle the topic with their children. After all, a parent with knowledge and understanding, is a parent with power.

Visit our partners page to find out more about the face-to-face sessions available from Fantastict. You can also find out more about the parent engagement resources and online training for parents available from E-safety Support.

Written by Alan Foster on October 29, 2014 11:38

Turning pupils into teachers

In recent months we have heard lots of news stories about the perils of the Internet, and how teachers and parents must be educating pupils in the do’s and don’ts of online activity, but are we forgetting one obvious group of educators?

As young people, we all took more notice of our friends than our parents and teachers at one time or another, so it would make sense to utilise this valuable peer group when it comes to e-safety too.

Ofsted recognise the power of peer mentoring and have included this as a feature of good and outstanding practice in their ‘Inspecting e-safety in schools’ briefing document.

Easier said than done!

There are one or two ways that this could begin in the classroom. By encouraging students to create their own resources that can be shared with younger pupils is one option. Or perhaps, involving students in the development of the school e-safety policy, giving them some responsibility for spreading good practice.

Outside of the classroom, why not follow the example of the Digital Leaders group from St Wilfrid’s School, who are not only interest in all things IT, but are also socially active students, with influence within their peer groups.

Without wishing to state the obvious, we can also learn a thing or two from the younger generation ourselves. No-one knows the latest apps being used by young people better than they do, so ask. Then check out the apps yourself and have a class discussion about them. They will doubtlessly know more than you, but it's ok to explore the pro’s and con’s together.

If your school has taken the bold step of treating your students as leaders and helped them to develop their own e-safety teaching resources, you may want to consider entering the Youth Manifesto Competition. This is an EU initiative to encourage shared good practice in e-safety education and learning. Find out more at www.youthmanifesto.eu/competition.

To help others learn from your students, why not let us know which apps are popular in your school by using the comments section below. We can share your thoughts with fellow teachers and all learn from the digital generation.

Written by E-safety Support on July 15, 2014 16:07


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