Outclassed Podcast: Episode 2: Keeping Your School Connected

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In this Episode:

In this week’s OutClassed Podcast, Mike and Blake explore how to thrive in remote learning environments, and how this will positively effect schools when they reopen.

We look at balance policy and freedom to innovate, how to keep your whole school connected, and an article by Neil Selwyn about where online schooling is inferior (see the resource section below for the link).

To see all the Outclassed episodes go to utb.fyi/outclassed

 

Podcast Episode Highlights:

2:50 – What we are seeing inside education (how much has tool usage gone up in Blake’s school)?
3:57 – Policy decisions – assisting students with home environments and what are the implications of this for teachers and students. What is McKinnon doing as an interim measure
5:50 – Balancing policy for culture, connection, effective teaching, security
8:35 – In the news Facebook employees working from home and what this means for the company, privacy and more. How much as Microsoft Teams and XBox usage gone up in the last couple of weeks
13:12 An article by Neil Selwyn from Monash University
16:10 Is online an inferior form of schooling? Mike’s response re his own kids online schooling experience over the last year and a half
22:38 – Our 10 minute tips + how to use video effectively for remote teaching
26:00 – Keeping your whole school connected – broadcasting student assemblies and how to do it safely
33:35 Managing Risk in a school environment and how this impacts innovative teaching and learning
39:34 Wins and fails – Mike’s win – the speed of implementation when you have no more excuses
40:34 – Better together – should you use Microsoft and Google together and what are the benefits and concerns?
46:23 – Blake’s win – the Microsoft Edge Browser
49:27 Mike’s Fail – Spam  notifications from ride-share apps

Links to Resources Mentioned:

Our 10 minute tips

The link to the article by Neil Selwyn

NYTimes article: Facebook under stress

Remote Learning Document full of ideas for parents and teachers

Transcript:

 

Blake
G’Day Everybody welcome Today To the show great to be with you again. We got a couple of great things to be talking about today bring up to date on some news some of our wins and fails and looking forward to digging into a little bit about remote learning and remote teaching and some of the things we’re seeing. So, Blake hey doing today?

Mike
Great, Mike, How you

Blake
Doing really well, thanks.

Mike
Staying inside, I believe. Locked down there in New Zealand still, obviously.

Blake
Yep. We’re not going anywhere. I think it’s day five day six of complete lock down in New Zealand.

Mike
So what does that mean you’re not allowed to go out for for anything but groceries and health related things.

Blake
Yeah, It’s still a little bit confused, I think, but nothing like we’re seeing across the ditch in Australia. But I think the general principle is you could drive your car to essential services such as pharmacies and supermarkets. They’re pretty much the only two things that are open, and then you’re meant to be out a walk out of your house to do exercise. But you can’t jump in a car to go to a park or a beach or a lake or something like that. So it’s basically stay in your area and don’t mingle with anyone. Definitely don’t drive around. So it’s quite quite an interesting, interesting times. I guess we’re a little bit sheltered from it because we’ve been so busy since everyone’s moved online that we haven’t even had the luxury of walking outside. So I do feel for some people there that are quite housebound with kids and so on.

Mike
Yeah, my two young kids, it’s a wonderful time. I I’m enjoying it on one hand, but it’s a little stir crazy. Get that cabin fever creeping up, especially my wife And I see you nurse. So we are a bit different to most of Australia and that we’re voluntarily isolating in the same way you are where we don’t want potentially, you know, we could be infected through Mel, so we don’t want to give that to the community. But also we don’t want the community to make Mel sick when she’s obviously needs to be at our best looking after sick people. So it’s very real for her at the moment. Very real for us. We’re on the firing line, I guess. Some on the front line. But yeah, full on, starting to see some patients come in now through the I.C.U, and it’s an interesting time to be alive, that’s for sure.

Blake
It’s kind of interesting because I guess mell’s seeing it from the nursing side of things and you’re seeing it from the work slash education side of things and interesting perspective.

Mike
Absolutely. And we are seeing you were seeing, you know, various reports and different numbers everywhere. And, you know, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. So it’s interesting, Yes. Oh, look, just take you through a little bit about what we’ve been doing. I thought we just start off with some of the themes that I’ve been seeing inside the system, obviously still working in schools where were seeing big numbers change. So Google Classroom, we tracked the 14 day active. That means that you’ve been using classroom for the last 14 days, basically, and we’ve seen our numbers go raised by 100% so we’ve doubled our all time high from last October, being in about 280 active classrooms to now 560. So it’s a lot to have in a short period of time, but again. To i have I’ve got a great staff, my school, they just tremendous taking rolling with the punches, taking on new initiatives, rolling with change. So that’s been amazing to watch. And also hangouts chat messages have exploded. We did, I think, at the peak last year we’re doing like 15,000 on a seven day average over seven days, and now we’re at 83,000. So by a factor of four or so So it’s It’s huge, huge numbers. We’re seeing a lot of change, and and beyond the numbers, we’re getting interesting conundrums and policy decisions coming up where we have to focus on assisting students now with their home, Internet and things like that. And of course, you know we’re going to try and do the best we can in this situation. But it does raise some questions around. What is teacher supervision, You know, like support staff aren’t traditionally supposed To, look over classes, you know, supervised classes. So now we’ve got the question off. Well, we allowed to dial into a home if we do, what are the circumstances of that? You know, we’re sort of thinking, Well, I don’t particularly want any of my staff during a one on one phone call with the student inside their home, you know, quite unquote unsupervised situation, because that puts them in a bit of liability. So I’m going to protect my staff a bit as well, in terms of their their actions and what they’re doing. So whether that we have another person mediating the call. So there’s a least three people on the call asked their parent to be involved, you know, like that. But we’re just giving it to E mail at the moment, and we’re doing instant message chat because all of that’s loged in volt. So we have a history and a record of everything if anything ever happened. But yes, it is a safety concern. You know, you talk about grooming of kids and those kind of issues. This is a prime time for that, but also it’s a prime time for kids to cry foul on safe that you’ve been taking advantage of us something. And then how do we? What do we have in place to block that and to counter if if it is misinformation. So,

Blake
Yeah, the interesting You say that chats are running through volt, that’s a good backstop. And I think a lot of schools that air using Google don’t even realize that they can turn volt on for free. And how do you think of that So they definitely need to be talking to There admin around how to do that. And if there admin doesn’t know, maybe you are the Google admin person and you’ve kind of got it by default than certainly reach out. And we’re more than happy to step you through that. But it’s interesting cause we went through the same thing with Catholic diocese in Australia yesterday around their their policy, and you’ve got to balance it right, because you’ve got community. And if we well, if you’re just doing video calls with the camera off or audio calls or chat, you do miss that Connection that you would normally have students. So you know, we’re talking around options of, do a video call, but you have to hit record. A suit is the call starts so then all of those calls of them loged. And so again, you’ve got that back up. That’s in there as well. So then

Listen to a sneak peak…🔊

 

Mike
There’s the question of Are you giving kids opportunity to opt out of that? Do the parents understand they’re going to be recorded and kept somewhere? Where are those recordings kept? Who has access to them? You know, it creates some headaches on the policy side. I can definitely see why a lot of texts immediately threatened Hands up. Stay hang on, this is to hard. But my view is always Let’s let’s innovate, Let’s try new things. And one of the biggest thing is here We’re seeing wins everywhere. We’re seeing amazing innovation happening. But that’s that’s kind of what we’ve been dealing with those policy things and even even like a dead computer. And we had a staff member’s computer get a really bad virus, and luckily we were able to remote in and fix it remotely. That was OK. We use Google’s remote assistance or remote support chrome remote desktop. I think it’s called. And that’s been good. But if we hadn’t been able to fix that, what do we do? Do we mail packages who pays for that mailing? We happy for that to go to my tax houses? Those looking at an infection control point of view like my wife talks about is those devices are still going to have bacteria on them. We still don’t know how long it lives on these devices. We have to sanitize them. Are we expecting our staff to have that equipment at home? You know, create some question marks and some strange issues. So that’s kind of what we’ve been working through you.

Blake
Yeah, that’s amazing. And of those stats you just gone through, that’s worth noting this is during school holidays, because school holidays got move forward. Right? So when school comes back proper, like, strap yourself in, you’re gonna be in for an interesting ride. I mean, even looking at our stats, internally as a company, all of our like, our minimum, like on. So you know, Google Drive one drive. We used both the minimum that we’re seeing in doc creations up 25% our Microsoft team’s activities, up 45% and traffic on our Web site over the weekend was up 1197% or something. Well, it’s definitely a lot more people online, a lot more traffic coming through, a lot more things to stay on top of that’s for sure. yeah so, speaking of staying on top of things, I noticed that you’ve managed to stay on top of some of the news it’s been coming through and a couple of interesting things that have Obviously, there’s a lot in the news of the moment around remote working around around remote learning and teaching. But this one that you came across on Facebook looks really interesting. How about you give us a summary.

Mike
A New York Times article, just quite a bit of it here. skyrocketing traffic in the crush of new users and now stressing Facebook systems just as it hits 45,000 employees dealing with working from home remotely for the first time. The company is also trying to keep its user’s data secure while employees who sift through posts to moderate content and doing so from home. So the same time Facebook has added to its workload by promising to more to limit virus misinformation. So this information around covid, so it is a pressure test moment for Facebook, which is for years grappling with the backlash over privacy and toxic content. But now is the chance to change that narrative is seen as essential on essential communications and information tool during the outbreak. So what has saved Facebook’s network from crashing all together, Mr Zuckerberg said, was that the virus and quarantines have led to the largest impact in just a few areas where Facebook operates. Facebook has baned in China with the virus first appeared, for instance, so they’re seeing just huge amounts of traffic. And I think one of the executives are saying that is trying to keep the lights on because all the traffic is in places that are monetised. So whilst they’ve had more traffic on their Facebook feeds, which have monetised mostly traffics in this in this direct video calling, which is obviously a really heavy intensive thing to Do takes a lot of data and a lot of back end, you know, magic to make happen. So all of that sort of compounding into them, saying, well, were losing money. So that puts him in an interesting position. When you, when you think about stock investment and what that’s going to do for their price and dividends in those kind of things. So I’m interested to see what happens with Facebook. Obviously, it’s a critical service in this time for a lot of people. But, yeah, they’re just getting slaughtered on chat messages, phone call, their audio calling in their video calling. So way spoke a little bit about that last week and actually saw this week that Microsoft announced that their team’s usage and Xbox usage. So the Xbox service and the team service has increased by 775%.

Blake
Yes, crazy and 400 million active teams uses every day or something. You just started thinking scale that. It’s It’s insane, the kind of infrastructure that holds all of that up..

Mike
Yeah, And if it goes down, I mean, I guess these companies have no choice, do they? I mean, they just have to keep the lights on and keep going. Yeah, but I’m interested to see what happens in the next six months. You know, they’ve scaled all this stuff up, you know, they able to scale it down and their costs going to go through the roof. Short term or Is that going to help

Blake
The long term? Yeah, I don’t I’m not techy like you are. But at Google next conference last year, they were talking about how their infrastructure does scale up and then scale back down. So if you think about, like, Friday and some of those days where they need massive resource is and serve you sources, but then it goes back to normal, like two days later. So they’re saying that I have to bring a whole lot of services online to, hold it at max capacity, and then keep it there. They can scale up scale down, which then helps them with all the green initiatives that they’ve got going on as well. So they’re only using resources they need to use and things like that.

Mike
I guess they shuffle things around. They’ve got Google maps, which is probably being used a bit less less navigation going on in the cars so they could move some of those compute cycles over To video chat in those kind of things. Because I’m just still surprised. It has zoom and meet and teams are all keeping up with all of this. Yes, it’s impressive.

Blake
Yeah, You know, we’ve been interesting this week. We just kicked off a live 10 minutes. I’m show every morning at 10 AM, New Zealand time and AM Sydney Melbourne time, and we’ll live streaming strait to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, even periscope with threw it on there for the four people who are still using periscope and hasn’t Mr Beat. Hey, it’s just been amazing how that we could just push through all these services. They all run live, and then it’s interesting. People are joining in all of those different places on No one’s missing it. So yeah, the infrastructure behind it just makes the mind bubble, that’s for sure it

Mike
Does. And we’ve got another article here from a friend of ours, actually Neil Cell. But I don’t know if you remember like, but he presented at one of our conferences years ago. I don’t even know how many years ago that was now too many years ago, and he’s always interesting guys. One of those guys that makes me sort of like you do makes me rethink my position on things and is is quite was always in. The media is quite controversial at times, with a lot of the things that he talks about, but he’s published. Little article in There is Monash blog Niels selven, and I’m just going to I’m just going to take a little bit out of it, just sort of focusing on the value of actual school in a time of crisis. And it says to quote his article. School closures have highlighted the fact that millions of Children rely on their schools for subsidized food not so much in Australia but certainly overseas mental health, support and respect for other unsatisfactory circumstances at home. So that’s probably think about things like domestic violence and, you know, issues around parenting things like that. For example, millions of families have suddenly faced faced with home schooling have been quickly reminded how difficulties to educate Children. Masses of parents are struggling to support their child’s learning needs at home have taken the social media of praised teachers and stressed the point that teachers deserve to be paid considerably more than their current salaries. At. The same time the efforts of education authorities to provide alternate online tuition is also highlighting the limitations of digital teaching and learning. While classroom might appear to be old fashioned, concept covid 19 is demonstrating that there is something irreplaceable about students and teachers coming together to learn in person. Online videos, digital content and discussion forums are very different and often inferior forms of schooling. And when he says, often inferior, he links to a guardian article, which I read about published earlier this month, just sort of saying, How that touch that what you were saying, that that face to face feel is really important are for kids.

Blake
Yeah, it’s interesting. He’s link that also into that social emotional well being. And, you know, that connected us. And we’ve already touched on some of that in. Do we have Cameron or not? And what does that do for connections and how do you look after the welfare of the Children and things like that as well, but so funny when you say some of these videos doing the rounds on Facebook or different social media of parents just absolutely losing their mind and just saying teachers need more holidays, no less holidays. This is crazy. I’m three days in and I’m already losing my mind over this. So it’s classic that they talk about that. But I’m really interested in his pick up there around that whole limitations of digital teaching and learning. And I think we’re about to find out in a whole new way what that actually means and what that looks like. Especially when it comes around talking about inferior forms of schooling. Well, let’s unpack that for a second.

Mike
Well, I mean, the thing I immediately think of is we don’t have any data on this. If you look at distance for primary school in secondary school, it’s always been a small abortion or a specific kind of demographic, that are falling into those categories, whereas now it’s the first large scale trial. If you like world scale trial of remote learning, you know, I know that a friend of ours in dubai has just gone remote now, all across the world. We’re seeing US they’ve some of the district’s have closed until the end of the year so that’s an enormous amount of time to be learning from home and to see how two teachers cope with following up kids and on all these problems, and then you’ve got the layer of home like some Some kids may not have a desk at home to work on their work in the living room, sharing that with three other kids who are all trying to do it. You got Internet connections that Dad’s working from home to kids on video calls with their teachers. How’s this all holding up? Well, this is happening. So you know, you’ve got you’ve got you got for different streams happening on different things that’s going to be difficult for for the people whose home Internet to manage and you’ve got people trying to troubleshoot their Internet at home. That’s not like a business where you have professionals looking after that stuff. They’re all trying to do it, juggle the kids and everything else. So it’s tremendously challenging, and I always sort of default back to the data. What’s the data showing us? And we don’t have much. In this case, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as the schools have reopened again in a week or so or two weeks, and where we sort of start to see issues and what welfare having to grapple with as well. So it’s interesting.

Blake
Yeah, I guess we’ve got data personally on it, since our our own two kids have been in on online school for a year and a bit a year in a term, so a year and a 1/4 now. So in terms of us, like I would not say for a second, it’s anyway. In theory, in fact, I would probably say it’s superior if you do it well. So I think when they

Mike
Are superior in what metric like you saying, superior on learn it from a learning point of view, right

Listen to a sneak peak…🔊

 

Blake
From a learning point of view, from an engagement point of view from like every metric, like our kids are doing better in just about every way. And it’s not that they are doing poorly beforehand, you know, doing exceptionally well in school and we weren’t pulling them out because we’re unhappy with the system. It was just that it didn’t fit our lifestyle in terms of how much I traveled. So but we’ve seen our kids just go from strength to strength in terms of that, now that we talked about it a little bit in the last podcast. But you know, if you’re trying to do school the way it’s always been done and then you’re going to try and just put it online lens that that’s no way that’s going to work. But the way our kids work is very much a synchronous. Their work’s laid out from the teacher context on once a week, and then there’s a formal way and then there’s lots of informal catch up behind the scenes on that, so you know they’re not slipping through the cracks, but there is a whole lot of autonomy. And then if you look at that transition that my wife and I went through initially were like most parents on Facebook right now, like nine AM get started. What are you doing next? What’s your next task? You could have a break now. it’s morning tea time, and eventually you just start to relax and you slow down and you just go. You know it’s going to be okay and the kids of burning through the work. So Kelsey’s in her business studies course. She’s finished 3/4 of the work for the year on. We’re talking where eight weeks into the school year, so you know, they definitely I can see lots of positives for it. It’s just your approach to it has to change.

Mike
Yeah, I believe that as well. I totally agree with what you were saying about burning through the content. I think, we all see it. You work from home. We were all doing it now. Now easy is it to get things done. You just sit down and you do it. It’s a sample in a school, especially at school as large as mine, where I could just count down from 10 and I’ll be interrupted again. So try and actually get deep. Work done is near impossible. And I think that has a negative impact in negative effects or through the organisation where people are constantly being interrupted and struggling to keep up with. There’s a day to day work where I think I can’t quite see where they can excel Online is in those softer skills of learning how social hierarchies with their friends having to deal with idiots. You know that that sort of stuff does strengthen you, especially when you’re in a multifaceted multicultural school of strength, through diversity, those kind of things. If you’re not being exposed, to other cultures of other ways of thinking that can be, you know, always shown to be create sort of profiles in in kids and gets them thinking kind of standard, sort of fixed way. So they’re the things that I would be worried about. And, of course, like I said, that we don’t have the data to really know yet. But I’d be worried about how that would isolate kids a little bit, put them in their little friends. Bubbles of who they know they have known through previous schooling or their friend groups, but not really pushing them. To working groups. You know, the great thing about group working schools. You work with kids that you can see how they think some kid might be really great and you can learn a lot from him, and I think you might have to pull him up and show some leadership. So trying to work through all of those scenario’s grows people tremendously. I think

Blake
I think you can be smart in how you do that. You can still group kids together for project learning, and you still put students together, and maybe in groups that they wouldn’t have normally been in at school because you know what you’re in a class, you do have the class. We’ve been a class, so to speak. So you know, sometimes you can force students into different groups and they can connect them, collaborate and think and and so on. So, yeah, it’s interesting because, like, Neil says, like schools not just about learning in times tables, right? There’s all sorts of things built into that. It’s mental health. That’s the food. It’s the connections. It’s the it’s coming together. The learning. You’re not just learning about one thing are you?

Mike
That exactly right. But it is an interesting thinker Neil and he was worth following. I’m sure we’ll bring him up a few times in this podcast because he always has sort of new takes in different angles on things so worth worth reading.

Blake
Yeah, totally so. One of the things we’ve been focusing on this week is trying to help businesses and schools just use video really well, 10 minute tips in the morning. That’s what we’re focusing on all week is just how do we use video to build team and Connection and culture and so on. And so I’ve seen the lots of little tips and tricks flying around on the Internet on Twitter and so on about how to make a video call really work. I don’t know. blake if you’ve got any ideas that we might be out of just throw out there for people to think about in terms of their practice, how might be improved.

Mike
Yeah, I do. I mean, I’m keen to hear yours because you’ve obviously got experience in the in this in his area. But look, from from what from what we’ve done. I mean, I’ve done a lot of work with video over the years in terms of staff PD working with teachers to deliver courses and up skill kids and bridge, that digital literacy gap of students and staff. But thing for us is we try and keep instead of having one long video that goes for an hour and covers 15 topics. Just break them into short little bite Size’s because not only will you deliver it better the teachers and the students will be able to digest it better. And you know, if this video I don’t need this bit form, just move to the next one. Giving them the ability To personalize their own their own learning. I think it’s important to keeping it short on. Also make it personalized, like if you’re if you’re talking in your context of your school, you don’t have to have a generic way to use Google docks. You just say, Well, okay, here’s Here’s how I want you to use. Here’s how the school wants you to use it. Here’s what fits him without pedagogical model and just really think about those things. And they also use your pedagogical models in almost every school. Have a pedagogical model. We have the wheel of pedagogy, we call it, and in there is those same things. Don’t think of the video is like some separate thing where you have to figure it all out from this from scratch. Just go and Use that. Use the hook, address each topic in the way, outline your success criteria and you’re learning intentions. That would be my advice, but just don’t be afraid to To really try new things as well, not just following the guidebook. That’s always a good crunch. But then, once you get a bit confident, start asking questions in the video, start giving people things to think about just all the answers. So just There’s some things from me, but I’m definitely keen to hear what you’ve got, Mike.

Blake
Yeah, I mean, we this is our go to till as a company, so we’re pretty pretty comfortable with it that we’ve found that there’s a few things that really do make a difference. And one is this camera on for everything. We just make that a policy. That’s where we connect and how we connect so we don’t call people on the phone, we don’t and text messages. Everything is a call just so we can keep that face to face communication going. So basically for us, we over send chat messages and for us in our platform, that’s Microsoft teams or we do calls, and we use a combination of all platforms for that. hangouts teams zoom depending on who’s on and who were connecting with inside outside and those sorts of things. But interestingly, we’re talking because everything closing down, we had some churches reach out to us and say, Like, how do we take out church service online like we see you’re taking schools online. but what would this look like for us? And it actually came out of us trying to help some schools strategies through how to keep their school assemblies going so they’d have that whole school Connection and what would that look like on scale? And how do you bring in multiple presenters and and things like that? And so it was interesting. They ran a test over the weekend and they got back To Adrian, one of our trainers, and said that they found that at the 22 minute mark, a lot of people left. It wasn’t that the content was bad or anything like that. It’s just that seemed to be about the attention span of people who actually wanted to be there, right there, logging in because I want a log in. So if you think about your students who don’t necessarily want to be there, short is better. I think is the learning that we’ve seen from that. Let’s not run a 45 minutes session on that

Mike
For sure. 25 minutes. That’s that’s a short General Assembly. ours go for over an hour a lot of the time, and we’ve actually bean live broadcasting our General Assembly for years. Because of the size of our school. We can’t fit 2200 students in the hall. So we’ve been live streaming to the theater and two other late kids go to another place. We’ve had a YouTube link get shared out, then one of the benefits of that has been our ES staff will get to watch it

Blake
Hang on the ES staf?

Mike
Our support staff, Yes, our offices, our financial office. They cannot just have it on in the background and be listening to what’s actually happening at school on what the principal’s talking about and recognize when they recognized success and all that’s culture building and that big thing I’m have advocate for, obviously through my business I newsletter. But it’s all that celebration of that success, because that’s the thing that people look up to and inspire, inspired to kind of achieve. So if you’re not affecting parts of your school with that or infecting parts of your school with that, then you’re going to miss an opportunity because I believe that everyone who’s working inside of a school that has that is on the payroll is there to affect the teaching and learning. That’s the primary purpose, even though you’re doing the bookkeeping in the finance office. You’re still there in service to the teaching, learning. So it’s important you see what success looks like. It’s important you hear those messages, so putting it online, I think, is going to benefits where people can dial in. And our leadership probably didn’t even know there was an appetite for that. I didn’t realize these people wanted to, that they will want the link every week, every time the general assemblies on. So I think there’s an interest. This provides a way for people to consume it, and it’s a really positive step. And I’m interested now to see what happens when schools get back. Do they still provide this link now for parents? Do they start live streaming outside the schools? And that’s a place we haven’t ventured. I’m keen to hear your thoughts on that. What about live streaming your assemblies to parents? Their concerns. Their we’ve traditionally put it in the two hard basket. But what do you thoughts on that?

Blake
Yes, so if you look at the Google School transformation framework, there’s actually seven elements. We probably should do a podcast on that, but there are seven elements to getting your technology to work well in a school like infrastructure and pedagogy and training had just some elements of that. One element is that taking your whole community on a journey, So what does that look like? And so one of the things we’ve been exploring with schools, especially in New Zealand, is what would it look like to live stream your assemblies to a closed Facebook group? So what we’re doing is we’re setting up a . A lot of schools will have a Facebook page and they can post their announcements, and anyone in the community can see that share on it, comment on it and so on. But you just have to limit up like, What’s your name? You had some questions in there, and people have to fill those in, and they get qualified against the school list. So it was just saying, What’s your name? Who were your Children? And they get accepted into it. And then that Facebook live goes the live, to, that the parents get notified when you’re going live on their phone, and they could watch it live or they can watch it later. And so we’re seeing that is a really nice tool, To Bridge the gap between school and community. But do it in a really safe way where you’re not broadcasting students faces is beyond the accepted list and things like that. So a couple things that have come up out of that is that there are some students where your parents are going through a custody battle and some parents are not meant to know where as kids in the school. So we have a We set out a section which is a no film section, and those students sit there and then so we make sure that wherever the cameras are, they don’t get seen. And then, obviously we’re just mindful not to bring them up on stage and and things like that. So, yeah, we’ve seen some really cool engagement from that. We’re seeing parents get much more involved in the school. We’re seeing some schools have resource is in terms of money and expertise, flow to it because a little spotlight, things they’ve seen, you know, the parents want to get involved, so I definitely think it’s a good opportunity that can come out of this for sure.

Mike
Yeah, and so put on the spot here, Mike, what’s the what do you think the cost benefit is like you’re talking about no films zones. You obviously gotta have a crew there filming, and there’s some sort of administrative work there to maintain the Facebook group or whatever plan what you’re describing that I’m sure you could do on many platforms. What do you think the cost benefit is they’re from the effort you put in. Do you think that’s driving enough parent? Because obviously the outcome you’re looking for there is parent engagement, and we know through John had his work. Fact sizes. Parent engagement is like a parent. Interaction with the school is like one of the highest things on the list. If parents are more engaged in what their kids are doing at school, they’re going to do better, so there’s a good effect size there. But do you think it’s enough in just, you know, in your in your head, do you think it’s enough to warrant the investment?

Blake
Yeah, well, investments quite low, you can literally stick an iPad with a year six kid behind it, who is now the videographer for the week and they will fight over that and that just live streams, right? So it doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t cost you anything. You’ve already got the Internet structure. They’re literally just have to log into the the iPad and push go live. So it doesn’t take a lot to get it done. I mean, it’s not the only thing we’re asking schools to do. We’re asking that we get smart and how they do then you know, they’re newsletters, and obviously vire newsletter would be heavily invested in that space and helping schools understand than that. But even little things like just use a short url every time you drop a link into your newsletter so you can get some analytics people clicking on this or not what’s of interest the parents and then using that data to make some decisions about Do we double down on that in terms of communicating, or do we just not tell people because no one cares? Yeah, lots of different ways to engage,

Blake
I guess from putting my administrative hat on. One of the one of the two hard basket things for us was looking at the process around it. So you now have to have policies. You have to have a process for kids that don’t want to be involved. You have to maintain lists of people who are led into those private areas or Facebook order platform you’re in. That’s sort of where I would see the most administrators would say That’s too hard, so they’d want to see some clear and present advantages coming out of it, which is always hard. It’s like marketing, you know, like you’re going to spend a $1,000,000 on billboards or how much return on investment and you get. No one can really tell you you’re going to have to have a sense for it and have experience in the in the area to know. But But it sounds like there are there are some really good benefits to come out of it.

Listen to a sneak peak…🔊

 

Mike
Yeah and I push back whole, It’s too hard, like schools are the most risk adverse industry on the planet and for good reason. But we can’t keep hiding behind. It’s too hard. It’s too risky. What if, like sometimes you just got to get out there with the best intense and learn as you go.

Mike
Its a bugbear of mine about schools aren’t allowed to fail at anything you spend, especially private schools. You spend all this money putting a kid there and you have an iPad programme and it fails. You can’t tell your parents that, no, you have to say, Oh, we’re pivoting to a to a new platform and this has been a gateway for us and make a win out of it and I just think that’s wrong. I think you should be saying, Look, level with you This hasn’t worked. What we need is you guys onboard with us helping us forge this this new path forward and it’s going to be using PC’s this year. It’s going to be using chromebooks or whatever it is. But I think there needs to be the ability for schools to say we made mistakes. But I feel like there’s a culture of any mistake being too much. You know, when it involves your kids, it’s like you made a mistake, My kid, that’s unacceptable. But reality, his mistakes being made all the time. So let’s be honest about them and have a have a dialogue with parents and help us fix those mistakes instead of brushing them under the carpet because as we know. And as we teach in schools, you don’t learn from that. You don’t You don’t improve if you’re ignoring it and brushing it under the carpet.

Mike
Yes, on the whole, if you want to have an innovative culture and every schools under pressure to be more innovative right? So one of the elements of innovation is risk. You’ve got to take a risk, and you’ve got to find those areas that, you know that aren’t going to get you on the front page of a newspaper somewhere or land you in court. But definitely need to be able to, push the boundaries and try new things. And that’s one of the things we always say in Step one. When the school is looking at a technology plan is tell your parents that based on the information we have right now, we believe this is the best way forward. But we’re going to keep you updated and we’ll all learning together. School’s all about learning. So, you know, we’re gonna get some data. We’re going to come back, will report back to you. And if we have to change, we will. But we’ll keep you well and truly informed. along the way and

Mike
You’re saying that school’s air under pressure to innovator, I’m not sure that they are. I don’t know that the average kind of state school is under pressure to innovate. I think they’re under pressure to get good results, which requires innovation a lot of the time. But but a lot of the time it doesn’t like we know direct instruction works and we sit kids in class is a 28 to, point them at the board and and do what we’ve been doing for 100 plus years. I think that is part of the issue we face when we’re trying to say to people, Let’s transform schools Well, they come back and say Why? We know it works and that does make it hard And that was one of the challenges I face working in a school. You know, I’ve been in my school for 14 years now, but working there when everything was working, we were getting great results, nothing was broken. What will be fixing with technology? So so that forced me to have a real kind of business approach to it and look at, well, how do we show improvement? How do we invest in things that can improve opportunities for students and have really tangible outcomes, which forced my thinking in a way which I am grateful for. But I could definitely see in other schools where they’re saying Well, no, you know, there’s schools that get fantastic results down the road, don’t use any technology, They try and avoid technologies why would we use it. And of course, my view and probably our view is that you know, it’s important. We have to know how to use this stuff. We can’t leave school not knowing how to use technology and move into a workforce, that it’s drenched in technology. I don’t know how well that’s going to go. So there’s about setting you kids up to success and more of a holistic look at education rather than can you pass tests? Can you regurgitate information? You know that’s a whole other diatribe which go into another day

Mike
Absolutely. It’s just one of those things where we’re just trying to juggle in that balance, I guess between risk and reward, but definitely feel like this is an opportunity to try some things that like if if you can’t try something new in this environment, then God help you down when things go back to normal, right? So I think…

Blake
Changed. Sorry, Mike. It is a change in thinking because we need to think about how do we switch our brain from damage control into every crisis is an opportunity and trying to think outside the box and go, OK, let’s run our assembly’s online or not, we could easily say we’re not doing assemblies, but the better thing to do would be say, Let’s try running them online And you know what? If it fails, this is the one time we get a pass, which, which is breeding innovation. We’re seeing across across every second innovation happening, whether it’s your real estate agent or your your local primary school. Everyone’s innovating. Our karate classes live streaming all there karate classes on Facebook, you know, and they managed to pivot and move to that in a matter of days. So impressive when you see a small companies that can be scrappy that can be agile are really adapt, its those bigger companies that are going to struggle to adapt in this environment.

Mike
Yeah, it’s amazing even Just watch my wife her plight, her palates business on to online. She’s been doing it online for a little bit, but now it’s like the taps being turned on in a sense, it’s amazing to watch mainly women join in the mornings with her, they all have a big chat, and they’re all getting to know each other. But you know, the living in different parts of the world, and then they go through and I do a class together. It’s I was just saying to early overnight like, Why would you go back, To Small classes and, you know, disconnected. And here’s your one hour that you’re allowed to do this. Why not have 15 hours and choose the one that best suits you? So I think they’re plenty of opportunity for people to rethink the way they just go through life. And they do things. And hopefully we’re going toe emerge out of this for the better. For sure.

Blake
Absolutely. We could keep talking about that forever as well, but I think we have to move on winds and fails this week. Mike

Blake
Yeah so I think for me one of the wins we are working with a reasonably large Catholic diocese and they’ve decided To, duel platform so they’re going to use Google and Microsoft and they’ve got great reasons for doing it. We’re a big believer in to a better together and using the best tool for the job. But they’re moving all of their schools, thousands of teachers and they’re going to deploy a platform. Have everyone trained fully rolled out within about three weeks. It’s amazing to me what you can do when there’s no excuses and you’ve got a deadline. So I think for them, that’s it. Like it’s a massive win to be able to see a shift happened like that. And if you think about that in terms of pedagogical shift in the way that teachers are working and students are learning, there’s going to be a massive shift in a month, things that would maybe take you years to roll out a programme and get on board S o. I think there’s a real positive out of lock downs and that’s been a win for me for this week.

Listen to a sneak peak…🔊

 

Blake
I’m not going to let you get away with that Mike. You said something interesting there. You said that you believe that they’re better together. So taking office 3 65 and G sweet and using them together. What leads you to that conclusion?

Mike
Just different tools have different features, and they’ve got strengths and weaknesses of both. So, obviously, one of the strengths of Google, and especially if you’re in a primary school we see this a lot is that Google docks quick, stable, generally easier to use. People get frustrated with a lack of features, but when they get past that, you know it just works. It’s rock solid, so from that point of view, it’s great. The communication side of things is not fantastic. It’s a little bit underdeveloped, so you might be using. One of the things we want to do is just stop internal emails. Do you think about it, all those conversations that you would have around the playground, the water cooler staff meetings there all that coms is going either into Google hangouts chat, and we’re seeing it done pretty poorly, to be honest, if they’re doing that like, everyone’s just in one big chat room and there’s every topic you can think of. And it’s just like Ping ping ping ping and like, how do you stay on top of that? you cant. So the great strength of Microsoft teams is that you can create really nice channels, segregate all of your work flow, so anything related with Project X goes in there. And the great thing about teams is that they do work so well together. So we have Microsoft teams running and across the top there a tabs, and we’ve got all of their main Google docks that we’re using sitting right there. So when I’m having a conversation this morning with my team, I don’t have to go to Google, drive and dig through a file structure or stard structure to find that doc. I literally just click the tab at the top, and we’re in collaborating on a Google doc. But inside’s Microsoft teams, while we’re all on the call and then that call is recorded, and then it’s transcribed instantly and so you can then search for key words when you’re going back through that through that recording. So so, yeah, in terms of that, we’re using Google Docks for collaboration, but we’re using teams for communication loving stream and the recording feature of that in the background. And so one of things that just frustrates me is that sometimes you get people who are so loyal to a programme that ties their hands behind their back in one area because they get some great gains in another area. And why not use both? So, yeah, we’ve seen some. Some really cool things with that of the Catholic diocese are going to see exactly the same. They’ll have the Google classroom embedded inside Microsoft teams. All the chat and the collaboration will be segmented for them, and it’s just a one click in. It’s going to be amazing.

Mike
That was really interesting to hear that perspective. And, you know, I think times change a lot as well. You’ve got the early days of office 36 5 was a very much You’ve got to be in our platform, and now they’re opening teams up to work with Google Drive and other things, and we’ve certainly trial that as well at McKinnon and looking at how we how we operate. But I guess my my concern with two tool sets is creating kind of a mixed message on I think one of the benefits of G sweet, one of the big things I’m a proponent off is about simplicity being king and making sure that we’re getting the big middle onboard and we have. You know, we have those tools to extend people way. Have an office 365 tenant and we use it for various things minecraft licencing and one note and where the tool is best. But I still think it’s important to have a clear direction. The school of is what we’re expecting. These the platforms that kind of work best together. But I think the difference now is we’re seeing We’re seeing cross pollination as you said, which is really interesting to look at a Google Teams environment that leverages Google Drive Or, you know, hopefully that that can start to happen the other way as well. But you sort of see that to a degree with editing word documents inside of Google Drive and those kind of crossovers as well. So super interesting. It very, very interesting to hear that a big dioceses doing it as well, and I’m keen to see how that pans out at the school level and at the teacher level

Mike
Yeah it definitely well, and I’m just a pick up on that like we’re finding like we’re a little probably 7-8 months into a few projects around. Better together, that’s what we call it. We’re finding that by for Google School that, you know there’s always there’s going to be those people who like I don’t like it right? I want to stick with my my Microsoft products or you’re talking about simplicity. It just gets cluttered. Where was that document like You’ve gotta have really good work flows in place share drive google drive, All of that stuff confuses people. We’re finding that To get the middle Microsoft teams has been the key to bring. That was later a doctors and the big middle in, because it gives them a workflow that works. So we’ve found that to be really interesting, and when we’ve looked at the data, we’ve actually seen Google Drive uses to go through the roof because teams have been nailing it, which seems really odd. But that’s what we’re seeing on the ground.

Mike
Kind of counter intuitive teams is sort of a unicorn product in a sense that it doesn’t fit into a traditional category of products. It’s sort of binding products together around chats. That’s bringing desperate things, whether it’s your you know, your SharePoint website or your Google site, and bring in your drive bringing and files bringing in links to external government organisation websites. So yeah, there is a way to kind of have a central place you got became a chemical placing a chemical register. You can have the Ohms register. You can have you chemistry Google’s site. Then you can have your team chat all sitting in the one place that super exciting that future. And I think, like you’re saying you want to remove of removal email. That’s probably as pretty a great topic for another another podcast. So I’ll move to my win, Mike, and you have to bear with me on this one. But my win is Microsoft’s Edge browser. It gets a lot of a lot of crap. People don’t love it, but it’s more about Microsoft themselves. Bear with me on this because Microsoft have made a decision, I’m not sure everyone knows this, but to move their edge browser to chromium. Some people call it edgyem, which is which is basically what Google chrome is built on. Google chrome is built on Chromium, which is an open source browser that Google basically have built. But because it’s open source, anyone can contribute to it. And and one of the things that we’ve seen is that Microsoft has contributed tremendously in the last few months because they’ve moved their platform into this chromium platform. They’re actually not just saying I will put a layer on top on do all the positive benefits for Microsoft actually contributing back to the underlying project, which means we have far better security in chromium now they’ve found a whole lot of plugged a whole lot of security holes. They’ve improved. RAM Management on Windows devices have done all sorts of little background things that have trickled down into Google Chrome browser but also into the microsoft edge browser. You know, they’ve just brought in I think today I saw that they have released a think or vertical tabs. You know, they’re trying new, interesting things, new, interesting ways to use the browser, and that contribution that they’re making at the base level of chromium is everything that’s great about the Web and the stuff that we’re we’re kind of missing now. I think that all that beauty of open source products and all the the ability for people to share and work with each other is that we’re able to see we’re able to see now that the scale of these big companies Microsoft, Google, working together is benefiting us, the consumer rather than what’s been going on for the last 10 years, which is, You know, we used to have open standards for things like chat platforms like Google talk. We’re in an open standard called Jabba. Now it’s like Facebook messenger. No one can interact with that except Facebook. imessage. No one can interact with that except Apple. This is a step the other way, and it’s really exciting to see that this is moved back to the way the Web was found at all. Those great things that the web was founded on is what gives us these great tools today, and without companies working together and collaborating like Microsoft and Google are here, we don’t see benefits for the consumer. What we see is people building walls and people creating silos where you can’t break out and you have to buy into the ecosystem. You know, you always hear that about apple buying into their ecosystem I don’t think that’s good for Tech, and I don’t think it’s good for the consumer. So I’m really impressed to see markets are doing, and I want to see more of it.

Mike
Yep, 100% agree with that. And it just amazes me that you can have someone is very competitive but also very collaborated. In one sense, it’s a really interesting.

Mike
It’s super interesting. They’ve said, Hey, we’re going to give up on trying to beat Chrome Their game joined them. Then we’ll just we’ll just compete on the front end. We’re just compete on how we Look in the operating system and what features we can offer to our customers.

Mike
Yeah awesome, just thinking about fails. Yeah, I got on interesting one, I’ve just been really overrun in my apps at the moment from ride share companies and, you know, I travel a fair bit in different countries. I’ve got ride apps from different countries, even in New Zealand, where we’re in 100% lock down, you’re not allowed to leave your house except to go to the supermarket. I’m still getting daily notifications saying, Hey, we’re essential service. We can help you. I’m like who’s jumping in an uber or an ola right now. So just I think it’s just one of those,

Blake
Probably no one, That’s probably why they’re messaging you.

Blake
Just like people think a little bit past the weak must be freaking out or something. But I think just all that spam that’s coming in on my apps at the moments driving me insane. Yeah,

Blake
I hear extension from last week. in fact you might have my heard my phone ping earlier I apologies for that. That was an app about, email about covert 19. A message from our CEO customer care. Some random act that I don’t even know. I’ve signed up, to. So, you know, this is the stuff we got to deal with in 2020 big problems. Look, my fail is just around from my neck of the woods, technicians in schools and how we’re seeing all these messages go out. And I’m seeing people sharing these things things into a lot of the slack groups and things that I’m part of, where they’re pushing out pdf files, you know, to their parents saying, Hey, we’re overrun. You need to stop sending those emails unless it’s really important here’s the process to follow bla bla bla and I just find, like that amazing that you don’t have a process for parents to follow. I know we’re in extenuating circumstances, and we probably will all get overrun at some point. But I think a lot of the work I’ve been trying to do with schools is around that teacher tech divide, but also around streamlining what you’re offering, trying to say these are the most important services. How do we deliver those in the best way? How do we give people support? That’s in the hands off way. How do we stop siloing of the information and share information openly, transparently, collaboratively across the organisation and not just teachers and students but parents as well to really open our doors at bit. Because when we do that, we see that we don’t have these problems where only one guy in the school knows how something works, or only one person can act on approach particular process, and things get bottlenecked if that person is not there. It’s not just about this pandemic, but also about just being smart in your internal systems and not relying on you know, too much human process, trying to automate and give people the power. Remove those barriers. You know, one thing I hate in schools is when a teacher wants to try something new or do something. I have to go see a technician to do that. I think wherever there’s a point of friction, we want to be removing those. And we’ve been lucky in that. You know, we’ve been laser focused on that the whole time. I’ve been a McKinnon for 14 years, and there is not a lot of friction in our systems now. But that would be my sort of failed but also opportunity and prompt for schools to start thinking about when they go back is, well, what were all the things that went wrong? Here’s some examples where there’s too much friction in system, where I should be focusing to get rid of that friction

Mike
And finding those bottlenecks. And I mean, you mentioned automation man, alive with just started using monday dot com for all of our internal, like all of that forms come into that all of our projects are in that, and the automation is behind that are insane. Talk about freeing people up So we’ve got forms. You just pink somebody automatically when they taken action and automatically moves it to somebody else’s area, they get pinged. We’re just loving it. What a great tool that is behind the scenes, the different ways you can view the data and see where projects are at. So for us, it’s really forced us to rely on systems and processes and tools and we’ve had to really ramp up our support for schools and businesses and do it quickly, and we’re very quickly found out with those bottlenecks wear and we’re putting automation is in place to make it work. So

Blake
So there is know one asking do this? Yeah, they know where to go. Then I want to do and you follow the process. And once you’ve done your bit, it moves on

Mike
What a great tool that is. Awesome. What’s always been a good chatting, love connecting in here and some of your thoughts on what’s been going on in your week, looking forward to catching you up in the next podcast and see The state of where things are at what’s in the world and what’s been in the news and our wins and fails for this week as well. Thanks for listening for more episodes and show notes. Visit utb.fyi/outclassed

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