SID2014: educating for a better internet

I want you ...

A common thread in research and study of internet behaviour points to the importance of effective education; for that education to be effective requires:

  • a curriculum that is consistent, has scope and progress

  • the capability to build on prior knowledge

  • ability to meet need, either through age range or developmental stage

  • engaging materials and resources that draw on latest knowledge

  • the right environment for honest and open dialogue to take place

  • a metric to benchmark impact and progress

  • opportunities for young people to shape and contribute to the curriculum

  • educators and mentors who are empowered to facilitate the most effective lessons

  • the support and engagement of families and the community to continue that education beyond the classroom

  • the flexibility to dovetail into other curriculum areas

  • the adaptability to be used in other children’s settings

Whilst there are a range of high quality resources available, schools may often find it difficult to exploit those materials and map them to a broader and more progressive curriculum. From the excellent CEOP ThinkUKnow resource to Childnet Digizen to Digital Me Safe Scheme, all prove to be excellent schemes but remain disparate and focus separately on their own range of online behaviours and issues.

 South West Grid for Learning has partnered with US not-for-profit organisation Common Sense Media to not only provide a free holistic scheme of work for Digital Literacy and Citizenship from Foundation Stage right the way through to Key Stage Four and beyond, but has mapped existing UK, Australian and European InSafe resources into that scheme.

There are eight clear strands across 11 age ranges, some 60 units of work in all. Each unit of work includes detailed lesson plans; multimedia and printed resources; assessment tasks; further resources and opportunities to explore the issues in other curriculum areas. There are online assessment tasks and pupil records as well as training resources for teachers that include tools like Graphite that aggregate and rate educational apps, software, games and activities in a way that makes it easy for teachers to evaluate and implement.

Each unit also has a letter for parents and a parents’ tip sheet that keeps parents and carers in the loop about what their children are doing in school. This steady drip feed of information from school to home is an effective way to engage parents and begin to establish consistent expectations in both environments about online culture. Schools should also take advantage of the excellent Digital Parenting Magazine from Vodafone; a free copy can be ordered for every family in school from their website.

None of this can happen without a staff who feel empowered to teach this new literacy and whose voice should be included in its development. That process requires not only generic awareness raising to create a level playing field of skillsets, but also a way of being sustained. Creating pools of expertise at the most critical points eg child-protection, SLT, data-officer, curriculum leads can ensure skills can be cascaded and updated.

 And all staff. Classroom assistants;meal time assistants; site staff; any route through which a child’s disclosure may come. It establishes a consistent approach and understanding of how to escalate a report.

[Part One: SID2014; not just a day but an attitude]

[Part Two: SID2014; making it work]

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