Snapchat Maps: An essential safety guide

We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!
— Snap Inc.

On June 21st, Snapchat introduced a new feature. The app, highly popular with teens, introduced users to Snap Map - a street map viewer showing locations of yourself and other users.

While the feature is a lot of fun, with some great applications in learning, there have been notable concerns surrounding privacy from parents, schools and the police. Using GPS location services on your phone, it is possible for friends to see your precise location on the Snap Map overlay.

How to be safe

Safety is of course a big concern for younger users on social. It is important to arm yourself with the right knowledge to guide pupils / children in the safe use of social media. 

The new Snap Map feature has several settings, which are very easy to change, to help users define who can see them. 

[1] Open Snap Map: on the normal photo / camera screen, pinch with two fingers to open Snap Map.

[2] Opt in: if you or your pupil / child haven't already, you must opt-in to use Snap Map!

[3] Who to share with: users can now pick who they share their location with. You can either pick Friends (All) or handpick a select group, or set your location to Ghost Mode so no one can see you. 

How your avatar will appear on Snap Map with Ghost Mode turned on

How your avatar will appear on Snap Map with Ghost Mode turned on

[4] How to change settings afterwards: if you need to change your settings it is nice and easy to do so. When Snap Map is open, either tap on your person / avatar or click the cog symbol in the top-right. 

Key points

There are several important points that you should know implicitly, to better understand terminology and how the map updates.

  • On Snapchat, anyone can add anyone as a friend. However, on Snap Maps a "Friend" (i.e. the person you will be sharing your location with) is only counted if both persons follow each other. The point to impart to younger users here is: ONLY ADD PEOPLE YOU KNOW.
  • Ghost Mode makes the you invisible to your friends on Snap Map. You will still be able to see them on the map though.
  • Your location will update every time you open the app. If you have Snapchat closed for several hours your avatar will disappear from your friends' maps.


Snap Maps is a really cool new feature for Snapchat, and we can see it having some great applications for schools. Imagine wanting to talk about the colosseum in Rome. Have a look on Snap Maps and you'll be able to see what Stories people are sharing from that location.

Of course, safety always comes first - so as a teacher or parent, you must understand the security settings. The team at Snapchat have made these as simple as possible, so users can use their app safely. 


Thanks for reading - we hope you all get to experience how much fun Snap Maps is, while guiding the younger generation to being safe online. We'd love to hear thoughts or comments on this guide or about Snapchat / Snap Maps. Please comment below.

VR: Teacher replacement or supplement? We investigate

Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones
— Mark Zuckerberg

It’s getting harder and harder to see science fiction as a genre…so many “futuristic” concepts have already entered the consumer market. Driverless cars are in production. We have Artificial Intelligence (AI) on our phones, with Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), Home (Google) and Cortana (Microsoft). Plans are in place to colonise Mars within the next 10 years

Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer a concept. We have it, with competition really firing up between top tech companies (Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook for example) for dominance in the market.

But how does VR fit into education? There have been many discussions about #edtech in the past, but does VR have a vital role to play in the future of schools?

Most importantly, how will VR affect teachers? Will it prove an aid in the classroom or will it replace teachers all together?

VR in education

The application of VR in the classroom has been met with the usual mix of praise and trepidation, when it comes down to #edtech. Yes, it has lots a solid applications in education (in principle) but no, it is too disruptive to the very tried and tested learning methodologies of today.

These fears come from a common place - VR is too new to have solid grounding as to why it is beneficial to learning. However, if we look beyond statistics and apply thought and innovation to how VR (and AR / MR / AI) can be effectively used in the classroom, some exciting new realms open up.

VR pros

  • VR as a learning tool is immersive - it transports pupils into learning environments they have interactivity with
  • It offers pupils a new learning methodology; one that is active and highly engaging
  • VR has few limits - it can broach any subject in new and interesting ways
  • Visual, interactive content is more likely to be retained as knowledge over traditional text-book study
  • It removes the need for actual classrooms - offering remote access to billions of people across the world (often with just a mobile device and a VR viewer, like Google Cardboard)
  • It also removes the language barrier - it is easy to have different languages programmed into the VR simulations 
  • Can be tailored to suit pupil's level of learning
  • Can help address personality issues, such as shyness
  • IT IS INTERESTING!!! Pupils of all ages will likely find something to enjoy from VR, plus it removes that sense of being school work

VR cons

  • Untested waters, so hard to quantify its actual impact on learning
  • Learning becomes reliant on functionality - technology, as we all have experienced at one point or another, has a knack for going wrong at inopportune times
  • Unknown impacts on pupils' health - concerns can be linked with issues such as addiction to the virtual world and a deterioration of human connectivity
  • Currently, can be expensive (though costs will undoubtedly go down once VR becomes more mainstream)

Teacher's aid?

So, can VR replace teachers? For us, the short answer is simply no.

As The Guardian rightly puts it... 

The use of technology in the classroom should not reduce the need for great teachers. Instead, it should require great teachers to properly facilitate its use in the classroom and make it a key part of pupils' education.

VR - still very early in its development and implementation - will be a hugely beneficial tool for teachers, we have very little doubt about this. However, it can never reach pupils in the same way a teacher can. It lacks humanity at its core - and this is what all great teachers have. 

Examples of VR in schools 

VR is still a baby, but forward thinking schools are already using it as a source for great education. 

JESS Dubai are one such school. Under the guidance of Steve Bambury (Head of Digital Learning & Innovation), they are making headway in how VR can be used in the learning process. Check out Steve's model for using VR in the classroom:

Another school, based in the UK, is Sevenoaks. Their drive with using VR is for pupils to "feel" the content being taught; to be immersed in the learning experience fully. Writing on the topic, Sevenoaks' Director of Innovation & Outreach, Graeme Lawrie comments...

In that article, Graeme mentions Google Expeditions - perhaps the most popular app for VR at the moment. Expeditions allows pupils to visit anywhere in the world using just a mobile device and the Google Cardboard viewer mentioned earlier.

We'll leave you with this video showing Expeditions at work - transporting a junior school class to the Great Barrier Reef! 


VR is a very exciting development in #edtech, one that we will be following closely!

With great teachers, VR will no doubt prove an incredible tool for schools. Have you had any experiences with VR yet? Do you think that it has a place in education? We'd love to hear all your thoughts about this topic. Please comment below.

90% of pupils don't know how to 'Google' effectively. How to #PowerSearch

We want Google to be the third part of your brain
— Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google

People use Google every single day. It is amazing tool used globally. It is a very, very clever piece of code, optimised to deliver the end user the most relevant information.

Most people will gladly settle for the first result Google sends back, but should we always trust an algorithm? 

There are many tricks you can use on Google to make your searching more effective. The general issue with this is, most people don't know how (we find that most people aren't even aware of this). In a study, it was discovered that 90% of students failed to narrow their search criteria effectively, when doing so would have turned up more helpful returns.

Just by adding in a phrase or using particular characters / symbols, you are able to refine your search results. It's time to enter the world of the #PowerSearch. 👌


Common Search Operators

Google search operators (or parameters) are characters / terms used on Google to help refine / focus the search

Google search operators (or parameters) are characters / terms used on Google to help refine / focus the search

“Search Term”

  • This operator searches for the exact phrase within speech marks only
  • Handy for when you are not getting enough relevant results back, or if your search term is ambiguous and could be mistaken for something else (Google is a machine after all)
  • e.g. Star Wars I on Google will only search Star Wars (as I is removed from the search term for being a common character / stop word). "Star Wars I" will search for only Star Wars I


– (and +)

  • The  operator removes pages that mention a given term
  • e.g. Manchester -united would return results related to Manchester but omit anything with united in it
  • The + operator will return common words / stop words, which would otherwise be discarded in a search
  • e.g. Lord +of +the Rings would return results for the book / film and not search for just Lord Rings


  • Adding a tilde (~) to a search word tells Google you want it to bring back synonyms (words that mean the same thing) for the term as well
  • e.g. ~learning will also return results for terms search as "study", "education", "schooling", "training" and "instruction"


  • Search only within a given domain
  • Great for finding content within a particular site
  • e.g. Independent School would return Independent School results from Twitter only



Less Common Google Search Operators


  • Searches only for sites with the given words in the page title
  • e.g. allintitle:prep school Kent will return results that have the words prep, school and Kent in the title


  • same as above but used for single words - offering a bit more flexibility
  • e.g. intitle:prep Kent will return results that have prep in the title and Kent elsewhere

allintext: (and also intext:)

  • Searches only for sites where the given word(s) are in the text of the page

allinurl (and also inurl:)

  • Similar to the last few - fetches results where key words are in the URL
  • Useful if you’ve forgotten the exact URL of a website, but can still remember bits of it! 

allinpostauthor: (and also inpostauthor:)


  • Putting an asterisk (*) in a search allows you to search for an unknown word
  • Basically, it’s really good for finding half remembered song lyrics or names of things.
  • e.g. Let's do the * again should return Let's Do the Timewarp results


  • Brings back results from pages in a given place
  • Can also be used to search for specific types of places within that location
  • e.g. loc:London independent school




  • Search results for the weather in a location - nice and simple!
  • e.g. weather:dubai


  • Adding the word map after a locational search forces Google to produce map-based results
  • e.g. map:high wycombe



    As digital becomes even more intwined with daily lives, and as Google remains the font of all knowledge for the world, it is important we understand how to use it well. This is even more true for school leavers, as they move into job's that do not exist today.

    Try out a few of these tips and see how much of a difference it can make to your Google use...even if it is to see how hot it is today in Dubai. 😉 We'd love to hear your thoughts on this post, you can comment below.

    The evolution of the iPhone

    Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.
    — Steve Jobs

    Today we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone - a symbol of the modern world and a landmark piece of technology.

    Let's be fair - smart phones and tablets have become standard household objects for many of us; as common as refrigerators or washing machines. In the UK, it is estimated that at least 65% of the nation own a smart phone. The smart phone has also replaced laptops as the number one device for accessing the internet. 

    The first generation iPhone might not seem much by today's standards but it really was the first phone of its kind. On January 9th 2007, Jobs took stage as he announced Apple's newest product. He said: 

    Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device. So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone. 
    Today, today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, and here it is.

    Later that year (June 29th to be exact) iPhone was released to the US market. It took 74 days to hit the first million units shipped mark. 

    Fast forward 10 years and over a billion iPhone units (across all generations) have been sold to a global market.

    What's changed over the past 10 years?

    Schools have seen a great change over the last decade. How we learn, communicate, and collaborate has shifted online.

    Here's just a few adoptions schools have made in their marketing since 2007:

    • SMS alerts
    • Prospectus apps
    • Mobile sites
    • Responsive websites
    • iCal calendar syncing
    • School apps / parent apps
    • Social media
    • Augmented reality prospectuses

    What next?

    We're constantly analysing consumer behaviour to understand how people are shifting their attention and technology usage.

    Where do we believe the growth over the next 10 years will lie for #SchoolsMarketing?

    • Mobile
    • Virtual Reality
    • Augmented Reality
    • Voice-activated Devices
    • 360 Video
    • Smart Appliances (Fridges, Washing Machines)
    • Smart Cars
    • Big Data
    • Personalisation

    Innovation is inevitable, and those that can see and adapt to change will be the ones that succeed.

    What does it mean for schools?

    The evolution of the iPhone - while not always regarded as the most innovative year-on-year - has undoubtedly changed how people of modern world interacts with each other.

    For schools, it means that your information / online presence is just a few swipes & taps away! Marketing is no longer all about paying money to be seen - it is about offering value and service to your community.

    This can largely be done via mobile technology, social media and apps! 

    What changes have had the biggest impact on your school over the past 10 years?

    We'd love to hear your views on this article - please comment below.

    Start with Twitter: Monitoring #SchoolStories

    The thing I really like about Twitter is the speed with which information reaches me. You find out things from Twitter long before they’re on the news.

    That, I think, is valuable.
    — Salman Rushdie, author

    Twitter is an incredible asset for schools using social media. It offers users a quick and intuitively simple way to share #SchoolStories as they happen.

    Having a sound strategy in place, and a willingness from all teaching staff to use the platform, Twitter can be the place parents go to to see all the amazing things that happen at your school each and every day 👍

    School Wide #SchoolStories

    Most schools have a presence on Twitter. Most of the time this will take shape in 2/3 different accounts:

    1. main school
    2. sport / PE
    3. head / principal 

    This is great - it gives your school three different outlets to share #SchoolStories from.

    But what if we began to extend this? What if parents wanted to see more of what is happening in the drama department, or were interested in all the trips your school goes on each year? So we create a drama account - maintained by your drama teacher(s) - and a school trips account. Now let's take this further - why should any subject be exempt? (TOP TIP: they shouldn't!!!)


    Imagine this...

    It's the middle of the school-day. Lessons are happening all across your school. Now freeze that moment!

    If you were to walk around and look at everything you'd be seeing 20, 30, 40 different #SchoolStories. It might be a pupil sinking a sweet 3-pointer in sports; your chemistry teacher burning different elements to produce a rainbow of flames; a pupil nailing a guitar solo in band practice; your head / principal delivering an incredible speech. It could be many, many things!

    These are all #SchoolStories that your community will want to see and share. But how do you share all of these stories - you can't possibly be everywhere at once?!!

    The answer is simple: TWITTER 😍

    In having Twitter set up in this way you are facilitating the sharing element. For an investment of just 30 seconds your staff...and your school...can share awesome #SchoolStories as they happen throughout the day.


    It's a marketing goldmine - it just needs to be well implemented!

    Learn more about social media strategy from your friendly, neighbourhood prospectors - we will come to you and train your staff 😎.

    What do I share?

    Composing a Tweet is not - and never should be - a time-consuming act. This is the guiding principle behind Twitter and explains why characters are limited to just 140. 

    It is also why Twitter is such a good platform for sharing stories and news on. In fact, with regards to news, it is often the first place most people go to see breaking stories! Traditional news outlets (i.e. news channels) just cannot keep pace with the world of social media and, particularly, Twitter. 

    Here is a simple #SchoolStory template, to help boost your Tweet game:

    • WRITE WORDS (always a good place to start!): What is the subject / point of the Tweet? 
    • CONDENSE THOSE WORDS: No time for essays: how can you condense it down?
    • ADD MEDIA: Social is more and more about the visual game! If you are Tweeting about the awesome nativity play your school has just put on then show the awesome nativity play your school has just put on! Add media such as photos or short videos
    • TAG YOUR TWEET: This is where we often see schools fall down. Using tags (#hashtags in Twitter's case) is a perfect way to categorise and archive what you share. For example: click this hashtag to see how the school uses it across their different subjects and year groups 👉 #BSAKinnovation.

    THE GOOD TWEET GALLERY: Note the content & hashtags used 👍

    All hashtags are followable - clicking on any of them will direct you to a wall filled with Tweets that contain that particular hashtag. Use school name / acronym / nickname as a prefix to keep them "branded" to your school.

    With a good hashtag strategy in place, you are able to accurately categorise your content more effectively. These categories can include:

    • year groups - #intSchoolsYear6 | #intSchoolsNursery
    • departments#intSchoolsHistory | #intSchoolsDrama
    • types of sport / activity - #intSchoolsBasketball | #intSchoolsBookClub
    • school principles / strap-line#intSchoolsWebsite | #intSchoolsCreative | #intSchoolsSocial

    How to monitor #SchoolStories

    As your school's marketer, knowing how to monitor these Tweets is essential. Yes, when it comes to Twitter, you are handing the reigns over to your teaching colleagues - but you need to keep them on track, and on-brand! 

    There are plenty of tools to help you with this - understandably having to watch over 30+ Twitter accounts can be something of a task! That is why you want something to make this as simple as possible.

    Enter TweetDeck - hands down our favourite tool for Twitter monitoring. With a small amount of investment and knowledge, you can have TweetDeck set up to monitor and actually control all those accounts at your school. It is invaluable!

    Click to enlarge

    Read our comprehensive guide on managing your Twitter accounts using TweetDeck.


    There we have it - how to share (and monitor) top #SchoolStories with Twitter. We are huge fans of what Twitter can offer schools and believe that with the right knowledge and strategy in place, it will be a platform to really promote your school.

    Schools - don't miss out or get left behind!

    WE CAN HELP WITH THIS (and more)!!! 

    If you are interested in Twitter and how it can help market your school get in touch to talk to us about social media training or marketing strategy. Through understanding and effective use, Twitter and social media in general allows you to really ✨STAND OUT✨ from your competitors. 

    As always - we love to keep the conversation flowing. Please do leave comments about what you have read or thoughts on the Twitter game below. ✌️