Kwercus – primary school social network

Last week I saw a tweet about Kwercus, a secure social networking site for schools. I did a search to find out some more, but there wasn’t a whole lot out there. So I sent out a question on Twitter, hoping that someone who knew a bit more would provide a link to more info, but no response.

As my tweets are displayed on my blogs, I’ve noticed over the weekend that others are interested in finding out about Kwercus as I’ve been receiving hits from others also searching for more info. So today I’ve done a little bit more work and this is what I’ve found.

There was an article on BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat:

Kwercus will be a secure system, based on the internet, but managed by teachers.

The company behind it hopes the site will be used as a learning resource for pupils, parents, and staff, as well as somewhere for young people to have fun.

Kwercus is due to launch in 2010.

The company behind the software is imJack PLC and they are working with the child psychologist, Professor Tanya Byron who is acting as an advisor. I’ve found the web site relating to Kwercus, though there doesn’t seem to be all that much information available on there at the moment.

But there is a video on Vimeo that went up three days ago from the time I’m writing this. It’s an hour long panel session that includes Prof Tanya Byron and also a student. There is some interesting discussion about the current use of social networking amongst children, who are below the minimum age required for registration under their terms and conditions. Also, how children are using these networks, and why. In addition, there is some talk about the benefits of using social networking with children within schools. There is also some talk about online bullying, and how this needs to be address, along with development of digital lieracy.

There are a few images around about what the environment looks like:


Glogster indexing graphically

I came across The Filing Cabinet recently, a resource by Kelly Hines categorizing by child age and subject links to useful educational resources. I don’t want to concentrate on that right now, I’ll cover it in more detail on my SpottyBlueBanana blog.

What I do want to highlight here is the concept of using a Glog as a front end graphical index for content. It’s such a good idea – ingenious Kelly. Each image item on the Glog acts as a link to the specific category. The Glog can then be embedded in the front end of the site as a visual index. You could use icons instead of text as the visual cues, these could then run throughout the site for consistency.

I’ve been a fan of Glogster for some time and have written about it before, but such a use hadn’t occurred to me. I’ll be using the idea in the future.

Twitter, Backchannel & Presenting

I have a philosophy, “Don’t reinvent the wheel, find the best resources then link and reference instead.” And I’ve just come across one.

I’m interested in using the backchannel within educational presentations and have written and vlogged about the concept here:

The Microblog Backchannel

The Twitter Experiment – Bringing Twitter to the Classroom at UT Dallas

Backchannel or Badchannel?

Well, Olivia Mitchell has written an excellent resource detailing the use of the backchannel and how to manage it as a presenter. She’s written about it in a post, and I’m including a link to the pdf ebook, “How to present with Twitter (and other backchannels)”.



Beatbullying & CyberMentoring

It’s the start of anti-bullying week. It’s important that children feel safe both on- and off-line and the BeatBullying campaign sets out to ‘Shape attitudes and change behaviour’ relating to how children act towards one another. Complementing BeatBullying is the Cybermentors.


Taken from the CyberMentors site:

CyberMentors is here to support all young people affected by bullying.  If you’re being bullied, or perhaps there’s something else that’s bothering you and making you feel rubbish, and you’re not sure what to do or who to talk to, then CyberMentors is where you can go for help.  It doesn’t matter how big or small you think the problem is, or whether you’re being targeted online or offline, CyberMentors are here to listen and support you.

If you want to talk about a problem you’ve got with bullying (whether you’re being bullied, whether you’ve seen it and don’t know what to do, or whether you’re actually bullying someone else and want to stop), just drop a CyberMentor a message, or ask to chat to them online.   You can find their profiles on the left.

CyberMentors are young people who have been trained in their schools, and are supported by senior CyberMentors at college or university, whilst trained counsellors are also on hand if necessary.

Any child having problems with bullying can contact a mentor via the Cybermentor site to chat about their concerns.

A link to my previous post about Internet Safety.


What if … iPhone?

Ocean Observations, a Swedish company, has developed some concepts about possible options for the iPhone interface. Here are three:

Dashboard Widgets

Cover Flow Multitasking

Springboard Exposé

Mobile based artwork & the PhoneBook

In Japan there seems to be a craze for creating artwork for mobile phones, as the majority have something called FlashLite running. Investigating this a little has termed up festivals relating to ‘Pocket Films’, the creation of video specifically for mobiles; the synchronizing of art between two phones to give a sense of connectedness between partners, Hanbunko; and a ‘concept’ from the Mobile Art Lab that combines the iPhone with a book to create

TED & FORA – video presentations

TED, which stands for Technology, Education and Design, though the scope has broadened out over the years, is undoubtedly the most significant site of its kind. It hosts a multitude of categorized videoed presentations by respected people from all kinds of fields covering a host of topics. TED has the taglines “Ideas worth spreading” and “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world“. If you’ve never seen it, I thoroughly recommend spending some time investigating it in much more detail. I’ve been using it for some years.

TED is a similar site to TED. It too has videos of presentations, and discussion, given by noted people. Its tagline is “Fuel the Enlightenment“. I was rather pleased when I stumbled upon it. Also worth spending some time browsing the content.