Should Students know the difference between the effects of Mandela and Meme?
One of my earliest memories of making persuasive imagery at school was one about not smoking and the other was on the effects of acid rain across european forests. Now, there are merits in both of these posters that, while they both are there to do good and teach the evils of the world to eight year old children, the sentiment behind both can persuade people to adopt the opposite of the message in hand. With selective imagery, careful copy and a poignant, catchy tagline the semi-believable becomes fact as if Groundhog Day shifted to April 1st. You, too, will have made something very similar when you were at school while still innocent and malleable enough to get fully behind the not smoking lark and thinking acid rain was about to decimate that apple tree at the end of your garden. It never did. Clever marketing and that human urge to be attracted to knowingly dangerous activities still led me to take up smoking at fourteen; I still touch wet paint. Mind you, I still ride my bicycle to work because, you know, fossil fuels and my love of apples. And, should you have had the gall or the wherewithal to question such ideals, then you would be quickly put on the right track by your teacher. Today you would be lambasted online as a denier much like you would have if you were a Christian in Rome 2000 years ago.
This morning I invited the parents along for a talk on the upcoming Internet safety topic we'll be running for the next 4 weeks. The Presentation that is embedded below is in several versions depending on what you prefer.
The links in the final slide aren't there, instead they are here which makes things a little easier.
The next presentation will be all about games in education and how to engage our learners at various points in a topic. It wil also highlight how games are now common place and used to build Literacy, Numeracy and other topics' levels of attainment. This article my help you get an understanding.
I have been using edmodo now for a while and find that it's very simple to use and a real hit with the children. The most common remark being " it's just like Facebook". Not quite.
The children love it and are on there daily sharing their links links to games (mostly Sploder.com links to their home made games) and chatting in a safe environment- the language being used is excellent if a little short.
We have tried to encourage the use of proper grammar and not use this: !!!!!! or ????????? or "what the..." which is a commmon phrase here in Asia schools (they know the word that comes after it so they should not be using the phrase at all!
We currently have a Moodle setup at our school that is really never used and pretty defunct - this seems the perfect ticket. I just hope that Edmodo's business plan incorporates importing iCal (and others) to their systems or some kind of 3rd party cross app ingenuity that will really get the party moving.
If you're wondering what is going on here then look at the comments from Simon Haughton about it too.
This helping guide should be pretty helpful too. The below embed is in HTML 5 so hit the link if you can't see it.
As much as I like Edmodo I kind of feel that there isn't much in the way of expansion in an education context. Moodle, as we know is a little clunky and filled a void of affordable LMS, Edmodo fills a void that is NOW using a Facebook skin but out of our (general) control (ICT folk baulk at this).
Please, don't get me wrong, I like the whole premise but am waiting for the day when the money pot is dry leaving us high and dry - and those who have advocated its merits - even higher as we've pushed it as a LMS to our devoted colleages.
Personally, my staff enjoy the links and guidance I give them, but this could be too much should Edmodo one day say (a la delicious.com) "Yeah, we love your enthusiasm but we're done; so and so has bought us for 140 gadrillion Dollars" = Angry teachers. The knock-on effect would mean that our teachers would think twice about hitting the link I give them.
So, in summary, I am going to make this plain and clear to our teachers and maintain that should they want to stay with Google Apps then all is good - just make sure that parents know which platform you're going with.
This morning we had an Internet Safety parents meeting that was both well attended and very well supported by those who attended - there are definitely some parents who could be leading figures in this area!
Below are some of the resources that I promised to share with everyone who attended and those who could not. What I have also thought about is running a similar event in the latter part of the summer term to allow more air time and discourse form the parents rather than me talking for an hour!
The resources are:
1. The Trends in Education presentation,
2. The e-safety presentation
3. The questions and answers that we talked about
4. Videos, interactives and the websites from CEOP that we use in our Internet Safety sessions
5. Downloadable browsers for safe internet use at home and Google Safe Search Lock
6. Things you can do online to meet other parents and find out more about about online safety
To summarise here: The point about the trends in Educational Technology is that ICT is becoming ver more mobile. This too means that eventually the teaching of discrete ICTbeing taught in ICT labs will slowly move to mobile in-class teaching.
How does this affect internet saftey? The point made towards the end about the collaborative tools being used means that the connectivty of our students is ever more enhanced. It also means that the messaging and networking is ever more present leading the need for stronger education about the need to be vigilant when commenting online. It's the comments and interaction that leads to disharmony as mentioned by Brianna's mom.
She also mentioned, and quite rightly, that the language used is different to that of face-to-face conversations. Absolutely spot on. But, it's also in tune with another comment from Jett's dad where the sooner we educate our children by letting them understand that this kind of interaction will not only be with you when leave school but also affects how you make and keep (real life and online) friends too.
If you have a child in KS1 and want to keep them away from Facebook and other social sites for while then I fully understand. What I would encourage though is leaning on what Jett's father is talking about and nitroducing them to an online social playground. A good example is Moshi Monsters. I review this on another page here on my site if you want other information- but basically it's global social interaction for infants and early juniors and you as parents can guide them to build their own strategies for being friendly online.
As you can see there were some good discussions both during and after morning. To sum up, as many of you referred to similar items, you wanted strategies to use the internet and websites safely at home.
A question that stood out was how do really keep your child from looking at various pages or sites even if you put measures in place to protect them in the first place. Well, in short, you can't really. Remember the DSC001 example? If your child is looking for images for homework then if an image is labelled incorectly then it's going to be hard to eliminate the offending image - a search engine seraches by text and images can be sorted by a few colours but thats about it (a few face searches can be done too).
I mentioned that you can lock down Google accounts so that the coloured balls appear in the top right hand corner when locked. I have yet to come across any issues with this as it generally omits the DSC, IMG, RIM or other standard branding cameras label their images - although this isn't 100%. It is free after all and free is only worth as much as the input from the other side - the developers.
So, I mentioned to two parents that there are other ways of protecting your children when online that is to use a paid for version from your antivirus software (Mac users will probably not have antivirus software). In there there is usually a web filter that allows you to download a 'blacklist' of sites that promote unsavoury or adult content. While this is good it can slow your connections down and can also omit sites that you as adults use: online magazines for example.
It might mean that you would have to make a separate user account for your child's access but I would advise the prohibitive nature of this and generally find that restricting access in this way promotes secretive behaviour while at the computer - making secret files and folders etc.
Instead, teach them from an early age how this is done for the best, invite thm to places like Facebook under your guidlines and friend them. Be open and honest and level things against age. By this I mean: say that they can do certain things for their next birthday. For example, one parent said that his son could have his own email account when he was 8 years old. I think this is a good way to set bondaries and boost maturity when using these services.
One parent yesterday asked, "when is it a good idea to give your child an email account?" I would do this as soon as they are able to type well enough and converse in an appropriate manner. A lot of Year 2 children can do this already and I would aim for that year group - still linking it with age and your own assessment. Remember that email is basically like your front door: you do not have to open junk mail that s in your post box just like at home - bin it like we all do!
What you do in real life should be the same as you do online. Would you stand at the MRT and advertise your email and phone number? Or post a sign outside your house like this girl here? But a lot of Children do.
Below I'll add the results of the surveys and the surveys themselves. I will be repeatinng this later in the year so please speak your children about this so they can talk about it in class.
These are the two surveys. Sadly for the results I can only give a selct number due to the way the pdf is displayed.
Images from the reults of the second survey. Click on the image to get a larger view (opens in new window)
VideosVideos, interactives and the websites from CEOP that we use in our Internet Safety sessions
A good analogy of how social networks kind of work - who you invite to be friends is very important.
The image from above is gotten from here. The story has two main foci: One for parents and one for children. We get to understand in two different ways abou the the same thing.
This is a video that we don't use but is good as a parent to be aware of Internet safety issues where the smart plan is for kids to tell their parents straight away.
This is the video we use in Years 5 and 6. It tells the story of what happens if you don't share your online habits with your parents - Our Mantra. This is quite long but worth watching.
Please comment or email me in the contact link at the top. Thanks.
Things you can do online to meet other parents and find out more about about online safety
Facebook for parents is a book that can be purchased from Amazon but this free version from Connect Safely is about the best free advice going.
There was a mention that we could have an online forum but, in my experience, the larger networks do a better job than a small school version. I mentioned Twitter and I feel that, as parents, you would be better off joining and following leading fugures in e-safety: teachers, parents, child safety groups. As the quality of these pages is usually pretty good.
It also means that you can follow each other and link the links you find via re-tweets.
Downloadable browsers for safe internet use at home and Google Safe Search Lock
From the beginning of this month we have running a month's worth of internet safety lessons from Year 1 to Year 6. At first I was a little apprehensive about going as young as Year 1 due to the general abstractness of the Internet as a whole. Sometimes I think that the children don't really understand how this all works. I know that they see things in a different light to us adults and that sometimes these kind of boundaries are simply eschewed but, the idea of chatting, gaming, SMS-ing, chatting in games, Facebook, Skype and that thiscomputer is the portal to an ethereal life also, sometimes, escapes them.
When we discuss the handing out of personal information online many children still think this is acceptable. Why? Because they see it as making friends in a truly honest type of way. The conversations with children as young as 5 (because they Facebook their friends usually with an older sibling) they think that adding a friend is simply just that. What we have to do now is kind of unravel this honesty and make them stop and think.
The videos posted below and the image right (from a series of animations for 5-7 yr olds ) are from the CEOP Think You Know? Campaign from the UK Police force. The noce way this taps into young minds is the general feel of the animation. It's not like the help videos of old where some minor sporting celebrity would tell the kids to stay safe, instead it's a lot more in tune with both age group and context. The website, you think you know is well stocked with catchy ideas for age groups 5-7, 8-10 and 11-16 and games to keep the younger ones thinking about how to behave in a responsible way.
There is an element to a child's online life that is often over looked because sometimes adults either feel that they don't know enough or that using a computer is embarrassing in front of their children. The issue is the sharing of information with the child and vice versa. The fact that many parents don't know what their children are doing online is a serious cause for condern. As an ICT teacher I have access to the lives of many children and their computing habits. It interesting to find out just how many children of 9 and under have a computer in their bedrooms. Many, though don't but the content they're viewing is also borderlining a worry.
I mentioned above the 5 year old users of Facebook and what they do on there. They told me that they play games on there. Fine. But, I would hazzard a gues that the people they invite are people that they don't know. This was the key element of the beginning of the internet safety month: Sharing information online. BrainPop gladly shares their online safety for free. Thank you Brainpop.
The knock on from this is chat based element of Facebook is chatting during an online bout of Call of Duty MW2 (Mature 17+ and kids as young at 9 playing it) or similar Xbox 360/ PS3 type game. What was difficult again for the kids to understand is that they could be playing some 30Yr old man from Colorado while we're here in Asia. The discussion went further with children telling me that they don't chat with them during gaming time as it's too difficult. Again, they miss the point of befriending someone that they wouldn't in real life.Would male friends with a bunch of men playing football on the field because they like football? "No!" they cried. So..
There is some kind of synaptic element to it all where the understanding of the internet is perceived as an extension to everyday life. Was TV the same as this? I don't think so. Could it be the video site revolutionthat allows every body into your living/bed/study room (as the video below suggests) that makes it more like real life.
As the kids get nearer Year 6 (10 ro 11Yrs) they're already versed in commenting on YouTube (one of the more immediate ways to gain an angle on cyberbullying) so the CEOP have made a set of rather poignant videos similar in impact to the recent drink-drive campaigns.The video at the bottom is for parents.
For those parents who've got teenage children or your're reading this and Year 6 and over.
A final video. The key part of this is that you should find out the options of privacy first. Can you only allow friends, friends of friends or the whole world to view your profile? Children should be allowed online as long as they know how to change the settings and only befriend those they know in real life.
This video is from the same agency in the UK. It is very hard hitting.