This week we were given access to a very interesting website. It is a government site which aims to both educate and support teachers and schools in understanding and implementing safe and responsible online behaviour. I like Teagan was both interested and alarmed as I worked my way through the modules. However, I now feel that I have a much better understanding of this and how to help my students develop the skills and understandings needed to be a responsible digital citizen. At the end of the Cybersmart Connect.ed modules we were given a certificate to print/save. I have saved mine as a PDF and am planning on uploading it to my ePortfolio as I think it is good support/evidence for the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (AITSL) standard 4.5.
Below is an outline of the 4 modules.
Module 1: The Connected World
What is the digital culture of my students? This module addresses the cyber safety capability of digital media literacy. I took the following notes as I worked my way through this module:
- Technologies are good and allow for connectedness
- Social networking helps them to connect but they can also make them isolated: chats rather than real people
- Reinvention of yourself (persona)
- Social networking sites and mobile phones are very important to young people
- Kids that aren’t doing well at school can invent more successful profiles on line
- Face to face communication is important though and this needs to be encouraged too
- There is a gap between what teachers experiences were growing up and students.
- Teachers need to have a conversation with kids to get on the same page about what friends are extra.
Module 2: Cybersafety and your students
This module addresses the cyber safety capabilities of positive online behaviours, peer and personal safety and e-security. I took the following notes as I worked my way through this module:
- Open doors (open windows) how secure are young people on line?
- Cyber bullying
- Unwanted intrusions, password security, sharing of personal details/images, unwanted communications
- Cyber aggression (not always cyber bullying)
- Cyber bullying is when someone can tell someone they don’t like what they are doing but the person continues (how much harm is being done?)
- What used to only happen in secondary school is now happening in junior school. Some parents are even ignoring age limits and allowing or even encouraging their kids to join these groups.
- Repetition is a problem because the same issue can keep reappearing. Kids are worried about having their computer/phone etc. taken off them so they won’t always report cyber bullying.
Module 3: Schools and the law
- Involve young people and parents in its design (framework) there needs to be ownership
- An educative role in developing the policy
- Everyone needs to know what is in the policy.
- Needs to be broken down into clear expectations so students can understand it
- Teachers tend to treat direct bullying more seriously than cyber bullying
- As most cyber bullying occurs outside of school it is imperative that parents are involved and educated too
- A leader of cyber space, just like a leader of sport (sports captain)
- Schools are supremely placed as a social hub to be able to deal with the cyber phenomenon
- An integrated approach across the whole school community (school leaders, teachers, students and parents) is the most effective way to influence online safety. This enables a shared vision.
- Bad things can only happen when good people stand by and do nothing
- As a teacher you need to understand that technology effects students and can get in the way of learning (if they are worrying about a SMS message they got just before class they won’t be concentrating on the learning) – we can’t burry our heads in the sand
- There is a duty of care obligation for schools to take reasonable care to minimise risk/harm to students and to protect them when using technology at school. Schools need to take a proactive approach to cyber safety and when dealing with cyber bullying as it arises.
Module 4: Putting it into practice
This module was very interesting as it showed us some of the ways of actually applying this to students learning. There is a variety of ways that this can be done. There are self-paced, small group and whole class approaches. The website has an array of resources available to assist teachers and schools.
I particularly liked the ‘Let’s fight it together’ resource. This resource was a 6 and a half minute video about a secondary school boy who is being cyber-bullied. It shows how cyber-bullying can develop and how it can ruin lives. The clip finishes with the police coming to the school to deal with the students responsible for the bullying. I got my 13yr old son to watch it, to see what he thought of it. He was really impressed and said that he didn’t realise how much it could get out of control. He said that it is weird that the kids doing the cyber-bullying are trying to make the other kid look bad, but it is really them that look bad. It is always so interesting to get the insights of the target age group.