05/10/2015

Avanatta... about how things have (and haven't) changed!

Last Monday I had the pleasure and privilege of showing an ex-student who left Park House in 1959 around his old school.

1959!

Elvis was still doing his military service...

Elvis Presley

This was showing in cinemas...

Teddy Boys

And mail was only delivered by a postman...

Postman

What made the experience all the more special was that Gerald's granddaughter, Grace has just started with us in Year 7. We did the tour together. A community united across time, where many things have stayed the same, but some had also changed.

An emphasis on values and commitment to developing fully rounded and responsible young people seemed to have remained a constant. The presence of technology in every classroom a contrast.

We had so much to discuss. We could have talked all day. We had a really good old natter...

What has perhaps changed most dramatically over those 56 years is how a private conversation can now also be so much public. I immediately emailed the photos that we had taken, and I'm blogging about the experience now. Our 'natter' can be shared by hundreds - thousands - of others through a single click. That's fantastic, but also poses its own challenges, especially in dynamic school environment. The rise of the cyber- as opposed to playground bully; trolling as the absolute antithesis of a positively connected learning community.

That's why I'm so very excited about our developing partnership with Avanatta!
www.avanatta.com/welcome/

It couldn't be more appropriate or timely. I first met the brilliant creators of Avanatta (have a natter!) at a business dinner last May. And I was immediately struck by its resonance and relevance for schools; schools committed to the promotion of traditional values and young people's welfare whilst embracing the latest and most creative use of new technology. And which recognise and understand that social networking is now an inexorable feature of life which, appropriately encouraged, can add so much positive value to learning.

avanatta logo

Because Avanatta is a social network which is exactly that. A means of genuinely social (as opposed to anti-social) networking via an app using short videos which enable and educate young - and older! - people to communicate with responsibility, decency and consideration. A traditionally values-based concept, expressed through the latest and most engaging and entertaining technology. Brilliant!

When we featured on Panorama a couple of weeks ago talking about the skills and mindset needed for life and learning in 'The Second Machine Age', I was delighted that my comments about the importance of 'socially responsible' use of new technology were emphasised. It's from 21 minutes in...

BBC Panorama
www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06cn1wv/panorama-could-a-robot-do-my-job

Avanatta's ethos is based on 'zero trollerance'. It's software helps prevent trolling, bad language text is filtered and policies stress respect for all users.

So for me, Avanatta represents a perfect counterpoint to our developing Bring Your Own Device policy.  

Teachers control classroom use of mobile devices so that the focus remains firmly on learning. It's just the 21st century equivalent of what teachers had to do when I was at school. Thirty years ago, I and others tried to abuse the available technology - pen and paper - to write notes to our mates. Vigilant teachers, who set challenging, relevant and engaging learning tasks didn't let it happen then! They won't now.

Alongside this, and outside the classroom we now need to promote socially responsible networking based on shared values, using Avanatta to maximise its many positive and rewarding benefits without fear of bullying or abuse.

It's work in progress; very exciting work in progress, And something I looking forward to nattering to you more about over the coming weeks... You won't just need to watch this space though, because I'll soon also be vlogging on my Avanatta site! What was I saying about change...?!

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