TAGGED – A cautionary tale about cyberbullying and sexting from acma

Make sure you watch this brilliant piece of film-making here from the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Cybersmart program, and then champion for it to be shown to students in your schools. I’m sure this 18 minute film will relay the important message of protecting yourself and others online, far more effectively than any lecture from a teacher. From the acma site:

Tagged is supported by lesson plans and compelling character reflection interviews. It explores themes of personal and peer safety and responsibility that are crucial to maintaining positive online behaviours and digital reputation into adulthood.

Thanks go to acma for working so hard to ensure quality resources are available for teachers not only in Australia, but worldwide. These issues cross all continents, and a resource like this can be used in classrooms everywhere.

Nurturing their Digital Footprint – lessons for Year 12

As part of our continued push to acknowledge the importance of Cybersafety instruction at my school, today I delivered a presentation to our Yr 12 students about how they can nurture their digital profile. Just a month or so ago, we delivered presentations to our Yr 10 and 11 students about much the same thing, but on this occasion, we created an entirely new presentation. There was a need to. Facebook privacy settings had changed, and this group are on the verge of adulthood. Very soon they will be moving into tertiary education or the paid workforce.

Quite a bit of material used in the presentation came from Jefferey Rosen’s excellent article in the New York Times, ‘The Web Means the End of Forgetting‘. I’d highly recommend that you take up the free subscription offer from the New York Times to gain access to this fine piece. It certainly helped to pull together a presentation that I think had meaning for the students present. In fact, I received an email 15 minutes after the presentation had ended from one of the students. Here’s what she had to say;

Hi Mrs Luca J
Just wanted to say I thought your lecture this afternoon was fantastic.
Walking out of the lecture theatre,  everyone was talking about their (sic) going straight home to change their facebook settings!
So yes, thanks for an interesting lecture,

It’s not often you get positive feedback like this. It certainly made me feel like the effort required to put the presentation together was worth it. If you’d like to view it, go to the wikispaces site I maintain.

Helping our students to understand the importance of a positive digital profile is ongoing work for us. I firmly believe that probably the best way to enable our students to appreciate its importance is to encourage them to publish their work online, so that they can be building the profile that will be of most benefit to them in the long run. As Seth Godin said;

“Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you’re on Candid Camera, because you are.”

I have my students working with new technologies and encourage them to publish the good stuff. The hard thing is convincing others that this is something we should be working towards in our schools. They deserve to know how they can make the best of the Web and themselves in the process.

(*Frustratingly, once again, the Sliderocket presentation will not embed into this post.)

Spreading the good word on the 7.30 Report

My colleague, Sue Miles and I, and a couple of students from Toorak College, had the opportunity to be interviewed by the ABC’s  7.30 Report last week on the issue of bullying in Australian schools. We were approached as a result of our school’s involvement in the Cybersafety and Wellbeing initiative of The Allanah and Madeline Foundation. I was very pleased to be asked, as it gave our school the opportunity to discuss our use of emerging technologies in our curriculum, and explain how exposure to sites like Ning can help teach our students how to behave safely and ethically on the Web.

I  think we managed to successfully convey that message. The interview was obviously cut down to meet the time constraints of the program, but I’m pleased that it was a balanced representation of the issues facing schools today. I really do believe that one of the most effective ways to convey to our students how to conduct themselves in Web environments, is to use the Web in classroom instruction and reinforce the behaviours that are going to keep them safe online.

Take a look and see if you think we’ve done good!

Staying safe online: Responsible Internet use presentation

I mentioned in my previous post that my school (Toorak College) is participating as a pilot school in the Allanah and Madeline foundation’s Esmart initiative. As a 1:1 laptop school from Grade 5 onwards, we recognise the responsibility we have to help our students understand how to use the Internet responsibly.

I created this presentation (which unfortunately, won’t embed here -you’ll need to follow the link) for the year 5 and 6 students and delivered it today. I was really pleased with the students’ interest in what I was saying and the vast array of questions they posed about their online activities. At the end of the presentation, one of their teachers asked were any of them going home to make some changes to their online profiles. Quite a few of them raised their hands. Our discussion centered on the content of these slides, but was also peppered with discussion about the positive uses of the web for learning and communication. We were interested in supporting these students in their use of social networking sites; quite a few of them are using them already. I think the messages in the slides will be appropriate for our Yr 7 and 8 students as well.

Once again, I used Sliderocket to create the presentation. I really do love the fact that you are able to search Flickr Creative Commons pictures from within SlideRocket and import them into your presentation. In past presentations, the attribution appeared at the bottom of the slide. Now they appear when you hover over the picture. The Internet safety advice was largely drawn from the Australian Government site, ACMA Cybersmart.

We are aiming to run sessions right through the school, from Grade 3 onwards. Looks like I might be making some good use of that SlideRocket account!

Cybersafety- getting the message

I came across a great video to use for teaching responsible internet use from a Twitter link (thanks Heidi Chaves) today and was thrilled to hear the Australian accent. One of the things that has become apparent to me is the necessity to convey a message in not only student voice, but in an accent they can relate to. The cleverness of this video is pretty cool- even a hardened YouTube watcher will be impressed I’m thinking when you see those students walk out of the screen. I am giving a presentation to the Grade 5 and 6 students at my school this Thursday and I’ll be using this one with them. Unfortunately, I’m continuing to have problems loading YouTube videos using the URL and it’s impossible to grab the embed code so you’ll have to follow the link to see it. It’s worth it, so take the time to do so. I’m pretty sure you’ll be wanting to use it in your classrooms too.

Toorak College (my school) is a pilot school with The Allanah and Madeline Foundation’s Esmart initiative. Here’s what they are hoping to achieve;

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s Cybersafety and Wellbeing Initiative aims to make cybersafety a normal part of every young person’s life by equipping them to use technologies in ways that protect them from the associated risks.

The development of the initiative is informed by a number of cybersafety experts from across Australia.  The first major focus of the initiative is to help schools to create a cultural norm of smart, safe and responsible use of communications technologies.  The initiative will:

  • help schools develop policies and practices encouraging students to use technology responsibly
  • point schools to teaching resources on cybersafety, but also to resources to help them create a safe, respectful and caring environment
  • encourage schools to embrace the positives of technology for teaching practice and enhance young people’s learning
  • establish a system for schools to provide evidence that they are actively implementing these policies and practices
  • reduce the digital divide between adults and young people, so adults can become a credible source of advice on avoiding the risks of cyberspace.
  • We had a meeting of local pilot schools last week and I was quick to reinforce that I’m interested in keeping our students safe online, but I don’t want the fear factor message to be the driver. I want a balanced message delivered, one that acknowledges the benefits of sharing in collaborative online spaces. I was very happy to see the dot point above as part of their aims; ‘encourage schools to embrace the positives of technology for teaching practice and enhance young people’s learning’

    As part of our Esmart program, we are introducing the concept to our Senior School students at tomorrows assembly. We’re using the following series of videos, Your Photofate, as part of the presentation (Thanks John Pearce for posting the link to these videos on Twitter -they’re invaluable). Students are presenting to students; our teaching staff won’t be on stage. The students have scripted the presentation themselves and it’s our belief the message will have more meaning coming from them. We recognise the need for our students to see their teachers as credible sources of information about responsible internet use, and for that reason we’re embedding this into curriculum across Years 5 – 12. It’s our Teacher-Librarians who will be driving the teaching and I am very pleased about this. We realise all teachers need to take responsibility for this, but we want some focused instruction to start the discussions that need to take place continuously throughout the education of the students in our care.

    Here are the videos. They’re derived from the AdCouncil in the United States, but this message transcends international boundaries. Sexting has become an issue in communities the world over, largely due to the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones with cameras. I have little doubt many students are naive as to the consequences of their actions, hence the need for explicit teaching in our schools and homes to reinforce the message that what you post in online communities has far reach; consider carefully if you really want to share an image that you wouldn’t be comfortable having members of your family viewing.

    Choose what happens next

    Sorry

    Out of your hands

    I’m pretty sure the message will translate.