In the first few lessons I have with my middle school students I teach a very important lesson that hopefully will impact my students for the rest of their lives. As part of my internet safety unit, I expressed to them the importance of a secure password; then I showed them how to make a secure password. I then showed them how to remember and manage their password. Now, every student in middle school has created a secure password and has a password page in their planner to help remind them of their password. If you have a shared email account with your daughter or if you control your daughter’s email password and the password you use it not secure, it would be great if you could come up with a password together and change the passwords for the accounts. Encourage your daughter to keep track of her passwords on her password page by asking to see it every now and then to make sure it’s updated. I encourage the girls not to write their full password in their planner and to instead write a code or a few letters to remind them.
If you would like to know how to create and manage a secure password, you can view the lesson here:
Internet safety is definitely something to be taken serious. But it’s also a delicate line between scaring the children away from using a computer and the Internet and making them aware of what they do when online. I go over a range of websites and strategies for the students in elementary and middle school each year to help reinforce the importance of staying safe online. The interactive video clip that I usually start off with is the ‘Dongle’ site, which is made by the BBC in the UK. Basically, it’s geared towards younger students and helps them understand the motives of others online, while giving them an acronym to help them remember to stay safe online. You can visit the site here:
One other site we use in class to help reinforce safe surfing is Brain Pop Jr. The students watch the video on Internet safety and answer questions regarding a range of different topics pertaining to staying safe online. It’s a free video offered by Brainpop Jr. and can be viewed here:
There are also two websites created by PBS Kids that I use. One of them works really well in class and the other is quite abstract and as a result, the students don’t really know why they are using the site. The best one is the ‘Web License’ site. The students must answer a range of questions and if they get enough correct, they receive their license to navigate the Internet. The students love getting the license at the end but it also brings up a lot of good points to talk about in class. I usually do this with upper elementary students as some concepts are a little tough for the younger students. You can get your license here:
The other site that PBS Kids has, that I find is not very affective is the ‘Webonauts Internet Academy’. It’s a newer, upgraded version of the web license, however I feel that it’s nowhere near as affective and is far too abstract. It also does not bring up anywhere near as many points for class discussion, which I think are very important and the site is a little buggy, at times freezing up and not allowing the character to proceed any further without refreshing and as a result, restarting their game. But you can view it here to see for yourself:
One last thing that I do with all students from Grade 3 and up is I have them ‘sign’ an online pledge. The pledge is a form that I post to my wiki in which the students must agree to ten main points before they are allowed to use the Internet. I keep a copy of this so that I can show the children what they agreed to if they break a rule. They can also access the rules at any time to review them. Questions range from keeping personal information off the Internet, to meeting strangers online, to plagiarism.
So as you can see, I use a range of different tools to help me express to the students how important online safety is. Depending on the students grade, we cover one or a range of these tools in the classroom to get the point across. If you have any suggestions for other possible lesson, leave a comment in the box below.
This year, Mrs. Cerminara, our JS Principal decided to have regular parent coffees with parents in an afternoon to talk casually and discuss an area of our students education. The first presentation was scheduled last Friday and it was based on Internet Safety. I put my hand up to help out with the event along with Mrs. Cerminara and Mrs. Gallagher. Here is an overview of what was presented.
First Mrs. Cerminara presented this slide with statistics and information about the 21st century and how much is a part of our day to day live. At the end is also some good links:
After the presentation, we watched an interactive online movie that Mrs. Gallagher had found and wished to share. All students in Grade 3 and 4 watched this in class last year. It’s a fun way for the students to learn about internet safety. Find the ‘Dongle’ video here:
After watching the video, the parents went ahead and worked in small groups on the new school laptops to try and get their ‘Web License’. All students from Grade 3 to Grade 6 got their web license last year, and Grade 3 will be getting theirs this year. It’s another fun way for students to learn about Internet safety by answering a few quiz questions. You can try and get your own web license here:
All in all it was a nice afternoon with some great questions and a lot of sharing of ideas not only with the teachers that were there, but also the parents. It was great to see so many parents concerned and have an interest in their child’s safety online. I’m looking forward to our next parent coffee!
The portfolio of Mitch Norris
International, ICT educator and Apple Distinguished Educator.