Sunday, 19 April 2009

Review of E-Safety Resources from www.learningcurve.info

Securing students online safety is paramount, students today are digital natives but here's the catch - they're really the first generation of digital natives, with no prior generation to pass down their knowledge, skills and expertise as in any other indigenous culture. Their parents may know a little about online life and its pitfalls, teachers are the same. So we have a problem, the need for our natives to be educated in the pro's and con's of E-Safety.

Keeping Myself e-Safe is a collection of animated stories each of which has been designed to promote discussion and raise awareness about e-safety, Internet safety and cyber bullying. I received both the primary and secondary packs, both were large A4 folders that had masters of the teacher/student materials and the case-study/toolkit videos on a DVD. In addition I received the VLE version which has all the teacher support notes and student activities as PDF files and the videos in wmv format - appropriate for web hosting in your e-learning environment. You can find details on the secondary version here.

The Case-study/toolkit videos are excellent and are just the right length for use in the classroom approx 10-12mins. They do a very good job at highlighting the issues and opening up healthy discussions in the classroom. The supporting student activities are well balanced between personal reflection and group work and explore issues in depth through a balance of written and discussion tasks. Teachers that read the teacher support materials before delivering any of the content will feel confident about the issues they will be exploring - the same materials are actually very useful to parents too.

Overall, the pack is a worthwhile investment for any school looking to supplement resources to support the E-Safety agenda. The comprehensive teacher resource pack presents the key issues in a simple, easy to understand way and helps narrow the digital divide by developing an understanding about digital identities and how they can be managed along with broader E-Safety issues. In itself these resources are excellent CPD materials for staff but when combined with the case-study/toolkit videos and student resources you have a very powerful set of engaging resources that without further resourcing can create some very stimulating discussions on E-Safety with positive learning outcomes.
The nature of the resources sees them laid out into discrete lessons via topics:
  • E-Safety
  • Internet safety
  • Cyber bullying
  • Internet grooming
  • Social networking
  • Phishing, adware and malware
  • Video and mobile technologies
  • Intellectual copyright
  • Identity theft and online fraud Instant messaging and e-mail
  • Peer-to-peer file sharing
The format allows for the materials to be embedded into an existing PSHE scheme of work with little fuss or you could create a whole scheme of work around the materials presented.
The VLE pack is definitely worth purchasing if you are looking at putting materials online behind an authenticated environment for both students, staff and parents. The videos are in a streamable wmv format - easy to embed into the web and stream well over your typical home broadband connection. The PDF versions of the resources are a notable addition although it would be useful to have the student resources in word document format. These could become document templates that students can complete and then submit electronically via your VLE to certify completion.
How are we using the resources at Costello?
  • Resources used to develop E-Safety within PSHE curriculum, using the DVD and support materials
  • VLE Resources being used to develop and E-Safety portal that will be accessed by students, staff and parents. The portal will include an E-Safety course that all students (starting with Y7 in Sept. 2009) will have to graduate to become Costello E-Citizen's. This will be set as HW during the first 6 weeks in Y7 - students will log onto FROG and access the E-Safety portal, watch the case-study videos and complete the online activities, submitting them for marking to become certified E-Safe students.

At £225+vat (current price as of April 2009) I would recommend this resource to all schools, whether they are looking at creating an online E-Safety course or developing it within the PSHE/Citizenship curriculum.

Whilst we are on the topic of E-Safety I thought I would plug http://www.digitalparents.org/ - this website is specifically to support parents with E-Safety of their children. Schools can create their own area for their parents in the community.

At Costello we have run 3 sessions on Digital Parents, all of which have been well attended and successful, often opening up many questions from parents on the night and via email after.

1 comment:

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