The ghouls of social 👻

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Here's something that might astound you...

Once upon a time there was a world without the likes of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It was a truly strange time where news was watched on boxes in your house, where pictures were shown to friends and family on shiny pieces of paper, and where you'd have to shout really loud to tell people that you are at a concert. Can you believe that?!! 🤣

Social media actually started in 1978, when two computer hobbyists invented the computerised bulletin board system (BBS). This was used to inform friends of meetings, make announcements, and share information. Sound familiar?

Fast forwarding through the beautiful internet timeline have seen the likes of GeoCities, Blogger, AOL, Friendster and Meerkat come and go. 

MSN Messenger

Founded 1999.

MSN messenger has a warm place in every user's heart. Launched in 1999 by Microsoft, MSN messenger was a instant messaging client which took the world by storm. In 2005 it had over 330 million active monthly users and was a big part of everybody's lives.

330 Million in 2005! Only 8% of the population had internet access, these numbers in proportion to internet users at the time are unbelievable. 

When broadband started to rise to prominence the service became more and more popular but what could MSN messenger do? What made it so popular?

 

  • Send Files - To instantly send files was a pretty big deal back during the days of MSN and was relatively easy. MSN wanted to do everything e-mail could do but quicker.

  • Video Chat - If you were lucky enough to own an expensive webcam with an appalling camera like so many of the webcams from the early 2000's you could video chat.

  • Play Games - Invite your contacts to a quick game of tick-tack-toe or battleships whilst you message.

 The dreaded nudge...

The dreaded nudge...

Where is it now?

With Microsoft launching Skype, MSN messenger quickly became more and more redundant and too many people’s dismay and despite some protests (probably for nostalgic reasons) the service ceased operations back in December 2014 with the last ever message being sent in China!

R.I.P MSN Messenger 1999 - 2014. 

Friends Reunited

Founded 2000.

Britain's first social network to gain prominence and launch the United Kingdom into the social age back in the year 2000.  

Steve and Julie Parkhurst from Barnet started the business in their home after hearing about the American website classmates.com. After a year the website had 2.5million users.

By 2005 the website had 15 millions users and Steve and Julie from Barnet pocketed themselves £150 million pound when ITV bought the website back in 2005.

So what could you do on Friends Reunited?

  • Find classmates -  The website worked on a simple premise.  The premise that we all want to know "what ever happened to...". A question we can know find the answer to quickly, but when Friends Reunited first launched this was groundbreaking stuff.

That was the feature of the website. Simple but groundbreaking. The website led to people discovering childhood sweethearts, old friends and establishing a whole new way of communicating.

Where is it now?

In 2009 ITV sold friends reunited for a loss of £125 million pounds to DC Thompson a Scottish publishing company. In 2013 the company announced the website was no longer a part of their integral plans but would keep the website running.

So why not stop by the Friends Reunited website and take a trip down memory lane...

Myspace

Founded 2002.

Myspace Tom! Your original friend Myspace friend when first signing up.

Myspace was once the most visited website in the world and even surpassed Google in 2005 as the most visited website.

There's no doubt that Myspace was a real social giant back in the day!

   Your first Myspace friend! Even founder Tom Anderson didn't bother uploading a high resolution profile picture!

Your first Myspace friend! Even founder Tom Anderson didn't bother uploading a high resolution profile picture!

So what could Myspace do?

  • Profile song - One of the biggest decisions you would have to make in life was choosing which one track you wanted as your profile song. When users clicked on your profile this song would play showing users your unique music taste!

  • Top friends - Very similar to Bebo, you had the luxury of choosing your top friends which would be shown publicly on your profile.  Another feature of social media to ensure havoc and drama broke out amongst teenage users!

  • Share Pictures/ Videos with friends - In many ways Myspace was very similar to Bebo and Facebook, you could add pictures and videos to create an online bio!

  • Bulletin Posts- The original lengthy Facebook posts first started back on Myspace, granted they weren't usually for big political statements or poetic stories but it was a unique feature at the time!   

Where is it now?

MySpace is still technically alive!

In 2013 Myspace was redesigned and relaunched as predominantly a music network. However Myspace's latest Alexa rank was 1852, it seems like a long time since it was the number one most visited website in the world a decade ago!  

Even Myspace Tom the founder has moved over to Facebook and Instagram.

    We wonder if Mark Zuckerberg still uses Myspace?

We wonder if Mark Zuckerberg still uses Myspace?

However unlike Bebo you can still access Myspace on a desktop so why not sign in (if you can do your best to remember your Myspace password) and  access your old photos and see just how far you have come along!

Bebo

Founded 2005.

"Share the Luv".  Ah Bebo, the original teen social network. Remember deciding who to share your three luv's with and making the massive decision of selecting your other half for the world to see? Bebo was hugely popular when it first launched and will be many teenagers first experience of social media!  So what could Bebo do...

  • Share Pictures/ Videos with friends - In many ways Bebo was very similar to Facebook, you could add pictures and videos and create an online bio!

  • "Share the luv" - You had the power to give three love hearts a day. What did this achieve? We aren't exactly sure... but hey it's a feature of Bebo and it made it pretty popular.

  • Selecting your top 16 friends. Yes 16! Even if you only really have 10 friends, Bebo was pretty set in it's ways. Just rank your closest 6 acquaintances to reach the magic 16.

  • Skins- The glitz and the glamour of Bebo skins. Bebo gave you a unique feature to give your whole profile a glamorous skin. Unfortunately being mainly used by teens most Bebo skins were sparkly playboy bunnies, footballs and fast cars!

  • Featured Video - Bebo gave you the chance to have a featured video on your profile. You could make a stand out statement about your political stance? Promote a charitable cause? No probably best to put a Basshunter song.

  • Your other half - Bebo gave you the chance to select another user to be your other half. With teenage relationships this would change from week to week and could cause some serious friction between users!

   England and Liverpool footballer Jordan Henderson has recently had his old Bebo account come into the spotlight... oh dear Jordan!

England and Liverpool footballer Jordan Henderson has recently had his old Bebo account come into the spotlight... oh dear Jordan!

Where is it now?

Believe it or not Bebo was once sold for $850 million dollars! Then with the rise of Facebook Bebo soon became pretty obsolete. The original owners bought it back for $1 million dollars and relaunched Bebo into....well into some kind of a chat service?

It's now only available on mobile. The app is about creating an avatar to chat with.

The app hasn't been well received. And with the 1 star rating on the iPhone app store, the public will be sticking with Whatsapp for now - sorry, Bebo!  

At the time Bebo launched a pretty revolutionary social networking website and perhaps even gave Mr Zuckerberg an idea or two for Facebook.

Did you know? in 2011 Facebook stocks tumbled when people discovered Mark Zuckerberg's ill-designed Bebo account. It really was an eye-sore.

With social media constantly developing and changing, who knows what could be in the social graveyard in ten years time? We'll continue to pour one out for our fallen channels however

6 ways teaching has changed in the last 10 years

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[1] Tech is redefining the game

It seems obvious to say but the gargantuan changes we have seen in technology, in the last 10 years alone, has completely changed the way we do many things. Education is no exception.

Some of these impactful tech changes include:

  • mobile technology
  • machine learning / artificial intelligence
  • virtual / augmented reality
  • cloud & data storage
  • significant increases to internet speed (globally)

Tech evolution is not only redefining the ways we can teach but the actual curriculum of what should be learned. This is likely to continue, while we try to better clarify technology's place in the learning process.

[2] Mobile technology is opening new ways of learning

There have been ongoing arguments about pupils having mobile phones in school for many years now. The simply truth today though is that mobile tech has permeated into our lives so much that more people own a mobile phone than do not!

In fact, there is a slightly horrifying statistic that states more people in the world own a mobile phone than a toothbrush!

If we can accept the fact that mobile tech is here, perhaps we can begin to look at how it can be used in the classroom. Here are a few ways that mobile tech has positively affected learning:

  • pupils can research topics online, explore subject content further and find inspiration for their work
  • pupil engagement has been noted to increase in schools already integrating tech and mobile tech into their learning process
  • different teaching styles are easier to implement with mobile tech - distant learning and collaborative learning for example
  • consistent use of mobile tech provides more skills for pupils' futures, particularly around digital citizenship

[3] Remote learning is increasingly becoming simpler

We have all likely heard of (and maybe even tried) Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These are courses (many of which are free) where you can learn remotely by watching videos, reading course content and self-assessing your understanding.

MOOCs give people the opportunity to learn skills in almost anything you can imagine without needing to attend classes. 

[4] Learning can be more focussed around collaboration

This may be one of the more impactful changes we see in education, collaboration:

  • pupil / pupil collaboration enabled by tech can be a powerful (and equitable) thing. Pupils who are perhaps introverts may find it easier to collaborate with their peers over a digital platform
  • pupil / teacher collaboration is also enabled with tech. We have already seen platforms like Pinterest enable this collaboration, but in reality this can be taken to exciting new heights as the power of tech grows

Collaboration is an essential life skill, so having tech as a tool to better instil it as a quality can only be a good thing.

[5] Digital games are finding a solid place in the learning process

Game based learning and gamification were hot topics a few years ago. Many educators agree that using digital games in the learning process can actually help improve pupil engagement and give teachers useful tools to help analyse their pupils engagement.

We have seen some great innovations in the digital game meets education technology industry, Minecraft: Education Edition for example. 

[6] Information is easier to come by, but application still needs the guidance of a teacher

While all of the above are very positive regarding the impact of technology in education, there is one essential thing to bear in mind. This is that while the availability of information has been vastly improved (a pupil could be said to have unlimited knowledge in their pocket with smart phones) the application of this knowledge still needs to be taught.

And this is why the teacher cannot really be replaced! We explore this exact topic in our analysis of Virtual Reality (is it a supplement for teachers, or their replacement) and the outcome very much remains this:

The act of teaching isn’t just imparting what’s in your head to a captive audience. Teaching is a performance, it’s reading the room and working it. This is where technology really falls short.
— Harpreet Purewal, Journalist for The Guardian

How do you feel about the changes tech has brought to teaching in recent years? We'd love to hear your opinions and experiences. Please comment below.

5 reasons why VR is perfect for education

2017 was a busy year for Virtual Reality, as consumers truly began to take notice. Tech companies were quick to identify this interest, and began to drive VR innovation across many different industries.

Travel, entertainment, hospitality and healthcare all benefitted from new tools based around VR, and now its the education sectors turn to contract the VR bug!

Here are 5 reasons why VR is perfect for education.

[1] Pupils can travel the world (and beyond) without leaving the classroom

Imagine trekking through the jungles of the Amazon, or across the freezing tundras of Antarctica, or even reaching the top of Mount Everest without leaving the classroom.

VR enables this. Even the most inaccessible regions of planet Earth can be viewed with VR. Take note of Google's growing library of Expeditions, allowing pupils to take field trips to virtually anywhere.

Expeditions are easily enabled by having a mobile or tablet device and a VR viewer (the cheapest option is actually Google's own Google Cardboard).

[2] Remote learning is now EVEN more possible

Delivering equitable education on a global scale has been a major concern for many years. With VR, even the most remote of would be learners, with basic internet and a VR kit, can join in on a classroom learning experience.

[3] Walk with dinosaurs or fight in the Battle of Hastings

History no longer needs to be read from a dusty old book! With VR, pupils can be a part of some of the most significant moments in the world’s history.

Lessons can range from:

  • comparing / visiting historical sites - e.g. what the Colosseum in Rome looks like now and how it looked back in AD 80, filled with 1,000's of spectators watching a gladiatorial contest
  • witnessing key moments in history - e.g. be a part of the crowd listening to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s infamous 1963 I Have a Dream speech in Washington D.C. or experience the harrowing lives of a soldier on the front-line, surviving in the trenches, during The Great War
  • understanding different cultures and times: e.g. live the "samurai code" in feudal Japan

YouTube already hosts plenty of amazing content - try searching for 360° videos for some inspiration. Here is David Attenborough meeting the largest ever discovered dinosaur!

[4] Explore creativity with pupil-led VR experiences

Driving creativity and digital learning in schools is highly desirable right now. Pupils learning how VR can bring their work to life opens up some very exciting and innovative doors.

Platforms like Tilt Brush are a great introduction to this idea - where pupils can paint in 3D space using a whole room as their canvas! 

[5] VR can have real applications in EVERY subject

  • Learn all about anatomy by exploring the human body for science
  • Dive into volcanoes for geography
  • Feel and live the freezing cold of the Ice Age for history
  • Watch a Shakespearean play for English and drama
  • Watch the Empire State Building being built for engineering and architecture

VR has no limits in the subjects it can bring to life.

 

The practical applications of VR are amazing and we will undoubtedly see more and more innovation over the next few years. While the pedagogy is still being discussed and refined, VR is largely regarded as a highly adaptable and powerful tool for schools to benefit from.

   Steve Bambury , Head of Digital Learning and Innovation across the  JESS Dubai schools , offers this model for introducing VR in the classroom.

Steve Bambury, Head of Digital Learning and Innovation across the JESS Dubai schools, offers this model for introducing VR in the classroom.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about this topic and can see why VR is such a great tool. Have you experienced / trialled VR in the classroom at your school, or do you have any views on this subject? We'd love to hear from you.

Please comment below.

How one school reached 12 million people with a 45 second video

#SchoolStories are the lifeblood of our 'story-led', creative websites. They are an effective, visual and engaging way for a school to really demonstrate what they do on a day-to-day basis: to "show, not tell" their community what makes the school so special.

So, when one school shares great #SchoolStories that gets seen by millions of people we get pretty excited! 

Alleyn Court Prep's snowball fight

With the #BeastFromTheEast causing some chaos across the UK, many schools were forced to close and see out the snow fall. Alleyn Court, an co-ed preparatory school based in Southend-on-Sea, opted to stay open to celebrate the snow in the best way you possibly can...by holding a pupils vs. teachers snowball fight!

This recording was shared on the school's social media, to be enjoyed by the school's community. What happened next however was incredible, as the story got picked up by major news outlets and turned into national news! 

Rupert Snow, head of Alleyn Court, was invited to talk on Good Morning Britain and Radio 5Live.

What an incredible way to promote the school to millions of people in the UK (and outside).

Curiouser & Curiouser

Alleyn Court's marketing is led by the strap-line of #CuriouserAndCuriouser. This is explored in the fantastic home page experience and website, and also consistent through their social media channels.

A key marketing focus for the school is to develop greater awareness of the school's presence in Southend-on-Sea and surrounding Essex locations, as well as a school for people looking to relocate from London / commute to London.

The school's core values are largely driven by providing amazing experiences for their pupils, to provide outstanding learning through an environment that promotes curiosity, creativity, wonder and a love of learning.

When we were growing up, we didn’t realise we were making memories, we thought we were just having fun! Alleyn Court provides an exciting and wondrous adventure where outstanding learning is present at every opportunity.
— Rupert Snow, Headmaster of Alleyn Court Prep

The snowball fight story is evidence of this, a real and authentic story that highlights the uniqueness of Alleyn Court.

Why did the story go viral?

The school shared a topical story, at the right time, with the right hashtag, and was seen by the right person. The beauty of social media is you’re throwing a net out there, and you never know who picks it up, or where it may go.

On the day, there were discussions on whether snowball fights should be banned in schools, making the subject perhaps slightly controversial. But from any controversy, Alleyn Court attracted the right type of parents and families who are aligned with the school's ethos.

The story helped:

  The story saw an increase 20x more visitors to their website

The story saw an increase 20x more visitors to their website

A school culture of story telling

The school day is filled with loads of moments that a worth sharing, it is often the process of how to share #SchoolStories that schools fall short on.

Schools should encourage and empower teachers and staff to share moments, particularly through the medium of social media. Viral stories, such as the snowball fight at Alleyn Court, are truly authentic moments that happen all over the world in lots of different schools regularly.

The difference between this one and others is: were they captured? How many other schools in the UK had a snowball fight between staff and pupils? Probably a few, but the difference was this one was documented and shared.

This story will forever be a legacy at Alleyn Court, a proud memory and perhaps a new tradition for every snow day? By sharing their video, the school was able to market to an incredible audience and become a part of something truly memorable.

We are here to help! 

The future of school marketing residing within social media and want to see more schools sharing their unique, amazing #SchoolStories with the world.

We offer training days for schools - where we will come and talk to the whole school, to inspire their part in marketing and sharing all those great #SchoolStories. We will help define your content strategy and support you in its employment across the entire school.

It's time to ✨stand out✨ from your competitors - and perhaps you could have the next story to be seen by 12 million people?!!

Award Winning #SchoolWebsites. You be the JUDGE!

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We love awards season at @intSchools! This year, we wanted to join in the fun and give you, our loving community, an opportunity to play along too. It's time for the #intSchoolsWebsiteAwards.

Take a look through some of our creative ‘story-led’  websites below, and vote for your favourite!

How to vote:

  1. click the school website image and explore our immersive and engaging ‘campaign-led’ designs
  2. choose your favourite and click the VOTE link to submit
  3. we will also be running daily polls on Twitter, using #intSchoolsWebsiteAwards. Come and join in the conversation
  4. we will reveal winners after the Easter break

Want to find out more?

If you would like to find out more about us, or just curious to see how we compare - invite us for a chat.