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VIEWS & OPINION


Don’t panic – it’s only Snap Maps! Then again… Comment by MARK BENTLEY, London Grid for Learning


I


f you’ve been on social media recently, you may like me have been inundated with people sharing Nadia Sawalha’s video warning parents about Snap Maps, the new tracking functionality baked into the latest Snap Chat update. The 2-minute video was viewed 77,000 times in the first three days, so it’s obviously causing a lot of concern. And indeed it should! But then again… if you have only read this far to see whether I plan to support or pooh-pooh the concerns, the answer is both. As usual, life in today’s digital world isn’t quite as simple as declaring something either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, even when talking about what has been referred to as a ‘stalk your friends’ tool.


At LGfL we first flagged the issue to our schools a couple of weeks before the viral video was shared. As I wrote at the time, “Not for the first time, geotagging is adding an unnecessary layer of risk”. In a nutshell, the new functionality allows friends (or everyone in the whole world, or nobody at all, depending on your settings) to see several things: where you were the last time you used Snapchat,


where you have shared photos or videos publicly to ‘Stories’, to view your stories and see where they were posted. And when I say where, I mean exactly where, on a highly detailed Streetmap.


The privacy concerns are obvious, but are all the more concerning because Snapchat is so prevalent among young people. It is incredibly popular among schoolchildren, and as so often, the age limit of 13 is often disregarded. I had a quick look and it did indeed seem rather scary on several levels to see within 30 seconds a fight, a school sports’ day, dangerous driving, children in swimming costumes and a child in school uniform in a playground – all with handy location details!


But there is good news. For a start, after I wrote about Music.ly and Live.ly featuring on mainstream news in the last edition of Education Today, online safety news is now being shared by a celebrity. Secondly, on this particular issue, it is perfectly simple to resolve and to change your Snapchat settings: here’s a handy link from the Snap team (support.snapchat.com/en-GB/article/find-


friends-map) on how to do it, and here are some handy screenshots from Newsround (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/40415706). But given everything I’ve just said, we do need to guard against a couple of things: we mustn’t be fooled into thinking that simply changing privacy settings on Snapchat is enough to protect children online. And we mustn’t think that banning it, which I am not suggesting, would solve the problem. The same issues exist with a myriad of apps: remember Instagram has geotagging turned on as a default for most users. So we need to fashion a thoughtful approach to educating young (and old) users. Sounds tricky, but it can be done. Just don’t panic!


And another important point is this – there is a reason companies develop these features: they are popular with young people! So even if it’s turned off, they are likely to turn it on. Let’s be realistic and aware of the issues, but stay positive to make a digital difference.


osresources.lgfl.net osparents.lgfl.net


Getting the design right – choosing the


correct furniture for ed tech Comment by DAVID JOPLING, UNICOL


W


ith greater demand for flexible, multi- device compatibility and the way students communicate, interact and absorb information fundamentally changing with the use of smart devices, the design of AV/IT furniture has also changed. Information gathered outside the classroom via new media can now be easily shared for students to collaborate and discuss, not only within the teaching space but across the world using video conferencing. By incorporating video conferencing mounts, which cover an extensive range of makes and models, into every screen mounted product UNICOL provide a wide choice of collaborative desks and trolleys. With the introduction of interactive ultra-high definition 4K displays up to 84”, many educational institutions are recognising the need to transform traditional teaching models to a more interactive approach to learning. These displays are expensive so having one in each classroom eats into already stretched budgets. This is why UNICOL has produced its Nest-Star Teaching Aid Trolley which can support up to 110” displays, can be customised with control equipment of choice and nested together with


others, to reduce the collective storage footprint, then deployed into the teaching space when needed.


The need to develop collaboration areas definitely seems to be growing and areas are being designated for ‘huddle spaces. In addition to this, continued uniform implementation of teaching aids from interactive screens to lecterns seems to be on the rise, in order to keep all training rooms the same and to make it easier for lecturers to use the latest technology – rather than having to relearn how things work in a different room.


Sales of standard traditional mounting products for projectors and screens is continuing for new builds or refurbishments, especially with laser light source projectors of 4,000 lumens and 20,000 hours life now reducing maintenance costs massively. However, with mobile technology now in the hands of two-thirds of UK adults – the majority of which are in the 16-24 year bracket – the learning environment is changing. It is forecast that the use of remote learning technologies in teaching is expected to rise significantly, and real-time video collaboration


18 www.education-today.co.uk


and mobile devices will be the primary way students engage with content by 2025. There are so many different makes and models of AV / IT control equipment the only way to satisfy customers is to provide an element of custom design into each product. As a manufacturer of mounting solutions, we produce equipment that can be used in any market segment and then allow the channel to decide which market segment will purchase it. The differentiator is usually price because of the additional functionality of the equipment, but green credentials are also now important and we have adopted policies to recycle all component materials and packaging whilst electrical power consumption is provided by an award-winning Biomass renewable energy supplier. In 1963 UNICOL made the first AV Trolley for UK schools and continues the tradition by satisfying customer requirements with custom and standard equipment. Whether it be AV Furniture, projector mounts, interactive display trolleys or digital signage solutions UNICOL’s motto of “Supporting You” carries through in both equipment and service.


September 2017


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