• 13 Jan
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    This is the final part of 3 online safety guest posts from Matt Lovegrove, an independent esafety trainer, speaker, and practicing teacher

    If you want to help your pupils become safe and responsible users of the Internet, you’ll need to work in tandem with parents.

    Learning about online safety in school is great, but children are most likely to need support when using the Internet at home. It’s in living rooms and bedrooms where children will access the apps they can’t at school and are most likely to be sharing and communicating online.

    Parents need support

    Parents need the skills and understanding to be able to confidently guide their children through the exciting world of online life.

    The problem is, parents often feel that their children know more about being online than they do, and some parents report having no idea what their children are getting up to on the Internet.

    But we can’t blame them; children are becoming digitally literate from an early age now and it’s hard to keep up with the latest games and social networks.

    Brush up on your knowledge first

    The online world changes quickly, so before you address parents, ensure your knowledge is top notch!

    Ask your pupils what apps and websites they are using and start to learn about them; pupils will generally be keen to share this information with you. If you’re unfamiliar with apps and services that pupils mention, use NSPCC Net-aware to find out about them.

    Net Aware - Instagram

    Getting parents on board

    Getting parents on board with online safety doesn’t have to be hard! Start by asking parents about what they’d like advice about. They may feel out of depth and may appreciate you reaching out to them.

    Run an online safety presentation or workshop evening for parents

    Try running a morning or after-school session with parents to encourage them to take a more active role in helping their children become safer Internet users:

    • Share what you know about the apps and websites that children use and your school rules about using the Internet
    • You may have a bigger parent turn out if you offer childcare during after-school sessions; some schools host a film night for children during their sessions to save parents having to pay for babysitters
    • Keep the sessions you run short, friendly and entertaining
    • Use a variety of resources, such as videos and worksheets, to keep interest high

    Avoid scaremongering and be sensitive; online safety shouldn’t be too scary and you should be aware that if you’re going to talk about grooming and abuse, some parents may find this hard to listen to.

    Focus on giving parents the skills to help their children use Internet services properly; spending time telling parents that their children shouldn’t be using services isn’t always effective and doesn’t solve the overall problem.

    Bolt an online safety event on to another event

    If parents’ evening is coming up, why not run an online safety session a number of times during the evening and ask parents to arrive early to attend it? If parents are already in school, engage them there!

    Feature online safety regularly

    Add an online safety tip section to your school’s newsletter; keep it simple, quick and friendly. A weekly reminder will help drip-feed advice to parents.

    Send home parents’ guide

    Why not send home guides or publish blog posts about Internet safety. Use social media to reach as many parents as possible.

    Finally, use homework to encourage debate at home

    Have children complete an Internet safety project as a homework project; this may get them talking about it at home.


    Matt Lovegrove is an independent eSafety trainer, speaker, and practicing teacher. If you need training or support for your school, please get in touch with Engage eSafety.

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  • 07 Nov
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    You’ve probably experienced BrainPOP on a computer. But did you know you can also access BrainPOP through a PlayStation 3 console?

    All you need is a PS3 (obviously) with a wired or wireless connection and a lovely big TV.

    Every PS3 comes with its own web browser, that functions pretty much like the internet browser you have on your computer, that you use to access websites.

    BrainPOP is built in Flash so theoretically can operate via any device that has a Flash compatible browser. And there’s lots about – maybe more than you realise.

    Why would you want to use BrainPOP at home? Because:

    • It helps explain current events
    • It’s a revision tool for exams
    • It provides excellent homework support
    • It’s a safe and fun research resource
    • It extends what kids are learning at school into the home
    • It means your console can be used for more than just gaming 😉

    Here’s our home made (but from the heart) video showing you how to access BrainPOP through your TV via a PS3 console.

    Accessing the BrainPOP website in your living room isn’t restricted to the PlayStation though. BrainPOP works across multiple channels.

    • Apple devices – iPad, iPhone, iTouch – Search Apple App store for “BrainPOP UK” .

    • Nintendo Wii – we would love someone to record a video explaining “How to use BrainPOP on your Wii” – all you need is the Wii browser & a wireless connection. There’s a whole load of Wii points for anyone that gets in touch and delivers a usable video.
    • Android/Flash enabled tablets & Smart phones like the Dell Streak 7, HTC Flyer, Motorola XOOM™, Samsung Galaxy™ & Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, HTC EVO etc. There’s too many to list but again we’d love pictures of BrainPOP working on Android devices.

    If you access BrainPOP anywhere other than through a laptop or desktop we’d like to hear about it.

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  • 14 Jun
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    We’ve got our very own Cybermummy.

    Moby as a Mummy

    No, before you ask, it’s not a creature from Dr Who (although Cybermen must have CyberMummies, right?) or a 1000 year old robot wrapped in bandages.

    Cybermummy is a national conference dedicated to parent bloggers (“…the UK’s premier blogging conference devoted to parent bloggers and designed to plug you into the wider blogging world.”) and we’re helping one of them make the trip. That Mummy in question is “Scribbling Mum”, a wonderful, funny and erudite mummy blogger from Peebleshire.

    She is a Mum of two who blogs on “balancing life, love, friendships and two kids with my itch to write”.

    Blogging since 2009, she is a finalist in the MAD (Mum And Dads) blogging awards in two categories: Blogger of the Year and Blogger for Family Life. These are prestigious awards that celebrate some of the very best writing in the parenting community. At the very least, the ones that are deserving of a wider audience.

    Why did we do it?

    We saw a tweet last week from another popular mummy blogger, @liveotherwise, asking if anyone would sponsor Scribbling Mum to Cybermummy. Intrigued, we checked out her blog and extended the offer. We loved her writing and she seemed like a natural BrainPOP Mum. Mums & Dads tend to love BrainPOP. Our resources are fun, safe and can be used to extend learning into the home in a way that families can share and enjoy.

    Scribbling Mum didn’t have to pick BrainPOP as her sponsor (she had a number of companies interested) but she fell for Tim & Moby once she’d had a play on the site and watched a movie with her daughter:

    “Miss L at five and a half years old sat enthralled as we watched a short film on Bogies and she even learnt a new word: mucus.

    When I see a product or service badging themselves as ‘educational’ my instant reaction is to usually turn off. I like things to just be fun. But BrainPOP’s films hit the mark for me as it takes the traditional way of learning and delivers it through a shiny new medium that looks cool and is fun and accessible.

    A big part of me is dreading when Miss L comes home from school and needs my help with her maths homework. But now I needn’t worry as I’ll just call on Tim and Moby, my new BFF, when she asks me about the Theorem of Pythagoras.”

    We’re very pro-blogging, and firmly support improving digital literacy standards. We have topics on Blogging (free), Social networking, Digital etiquette, Information privacy and much more.

    These resources are designed to help kids understand this brave new world – a world that adults have grown up in, but not been born into. In the same way we supported school and class blogging with our successful “Digitalk” series and regularly invite teachers and parents to guest blog on POPtalk we now extend that support to parents who embrace blogging.

    Plus Mums are the best. Here’s to all the BrainPOPper Mums: Brenda, Marilyn, Tessa, Ilana, Mary, Christine, Sheila and June. We love you 🙂

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  • 20 May
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    We don’t say enough how much parents like BrainPOP UK, to use out of school as a safe, interesting and engaging resource.

    So we asked one of our parent subscribers to tell us why they use BrainPOP UK. Here’s her review.

    “My 10 year old daughter loves BrainPOP UK.

    Here’s why:

    • It’s great for people who think in pictures. It suits visual learning styles and it’s perfect for children with a short attention span or for busy people who don’t have time to watch long programmes.
    • The range and choice of subjects is fascinating, informative and seems to be well-researched.
    • The illustrations are great.
    • The tone seems just right, even in subjects that could be controversial or difficult to explain to children.
    • Clips can be watched at a time that is convenient for the user, any time of day or night.
    • Very educational, but the children are having so much fun, they don’t notice how much they are learning about the world until they impress their parents with something that even they don’t know. And then, when you ask them how they know, they’ll probably say they heard it on BrainPOP.
    • School is so long nowadays and sitting at a desk all day can be very tedious for a child.  BrainPOP is so much fun and so different from being talked at by a teacher, that my daughter begs to watch a few more clips even when we’re short of time.
    • I have recommended BrainPOP to friends and they seem very impressed and pleased that such resources exist.
    • Clips can be watched many times, either because of the humour or to consolidate learning.
    • The content offers something for a huge range of ages – I would say from 7 to a 100+

    My ideas for BrainPOP UK:

    • Personally, I would have liked more voices behind the clips.
    • Maybe some children and women could also read some of the material.
    • We’re always hoping that you will add more new clips!
    • We feel that some of the movies are a bit too short – could perhaps be 4-5 minutes, but then the beauty of BrainPOP UK is that it explains and illustrates everything so clearly and concisely.

    We don’t use other resources, apart from BrainPOP UK. Our daughter spends all day at school and it’s important that she has time to play and relax when at home. She used Mathletics and Spellodrome for a little while. They are excellent (award-winning in fact), but it’s difficult to find time for them or any other useful resources.

    I enjoy watching the clips with my daughter and learn from them myself, but I know that I don’t need to check the content before I allow access to it. So if I don’t have time to watch them, I know that whatever she is listening to within BrainPOP UK is entirely appropriate.

    I consider that her time on BrainPOP UK is time well spent, as she is being exposed to important matters that the school might not cover. This will surely broaden her horizon and help her to become a well-rounded and caring citizen.”

    And we’ll save the last word for the daughter in question, the lucky recipient of some Moby badges:

    “Thank you so much for the badges you sent me. I love them! I also love BrainPOP.”

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