Digital Safety in the Classroom

Although a little behind, weeks 2 and 3 of Living and Learning in the Digital World saw me exploring the ideas of digital identity and digital security. It is understood that the students I will be teaching will be digital natives (Howell, 2014), however the extent to which they are able to use the array of digital devices, software and social media, and their abilities to use them safely and appropriately is perhaps of utmost importance in order to prepare them for the ‘real world’.

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Students come to school with varied knowledge and abilities of the many devices and software available (Howell, 2014) and I would suspect that very little focus goes into their safe and appropriate uses. Take Facebook, for example, where a teenage girl may post a ‘sexy’ photo of herself in order to gain the attention of a guy, oblivious as to how that photo will next be used by someone unexpected. I therefore believe that the first stages of learning to safely use and manipulate technologies must include:

  • Checking with an adult the appropriateness of a site/game/social network
  • Awareness of the correct etiquette, including appropriate language and respect for others.
  • Recognising that information that you post can then be used by anyone (CBS News, 2010)
  • The ability to set privacy settings to limit access to personal information
  • Setting passwords to accounts that are difficult to hack
  • Understanding of downloading and data usage to avoid excessive charges

I found a website called Common Sense Education that has given me some great lesson ideas for how to educate students of all ages on how to use technology safely and hopefully cover some of these areas and I also think that the task of designing a Wordle with the topic of Digital Security, as we were required to do, would be a terrific lesson idea for upper primary and high school students, as it was an easy program to manipulate.  Upon completion of the task, students could participate in a whole class discussion to extend, clarify and provide examples that relate to the topic.

Having said all this, in week two we saw a great you tube clip on how the principal of Sunlake High School is able to connect with all his students on Twitter. Although I was reluctant, I can see that with all the safety and appropriate use, rules and policies established, Twitter can be a supported collaborative learning tool creating social interaction, sharing and constructing ideas and knowledge (Howell, 2014), providing opportunities for all students including the less confident ones, to participate how they feel comfortable. Whilst my first attempts at Twitter in the last few weeks has left me feeling very uncertain in terms of my tweets and if they could be misconstrued in any way, I hope that I have considered my safety tips well enough!

References

CBS News. (2010, May 8). Five Hidden Dangers of Facebook. CBS News. Retreived from   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/five-hidden-dangers-of-facebook/

Common Sense Education. (2014). Staying Safe Online (K-2). Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/staying-safe-online-k-2

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. Melbourne, VIC. Oxford University Press.

Pasco County Schools(2013, 9 October 9). Changing the Culture of a School with Twitter. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THrtZKuK_94

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