10 ways schools are teaching internet safety

3. Through investigative role-playing

“I teach about internet safety by having fifth grade students act as detectives. Students are assigned three web sites to look at. [They analyze information such as the site’s] author, sponsoring organization, copyright date, contents, [and] purpose … and compare the information on the website to information in nonfiction reference sources [and] online databases. The catch is that one of the three websites is a hoax! The student’s job is to figure out which website is the hoax. After students have looked at all three websites and figured out which one is the hoax, they share what they found with their classmates about the hoax site that made them question its authenticity. While many of our students (and adults) are tech savvy, thinking critically about what they see on the internet is still something they need to be taught to do and how.” —Joan Curtis, teacher librarian, Information Literacy Education, Schwenksville Elementary School, Pa.

4. With the help of guest speakers

“I am a middle school Technology Education teacher at Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington, Vt. I am teaching a pilot class called Media in Action. The goal of the class is to demonstrate how social media can be used for learning and also just as importantly online safety and etiquette. This is an eighth grade class. Students and parents sign a release/permission form in order to participate fully. I am a teacher trainer for the [National Education Association], teaching school district staff all around Vermont about bullying and harassment. I also partner with a national organization called Child Lures Prevention/Teen Lures Prevention. [Representatives from this organization] come in as our visiting guests and speak to the kids. My students video tape them, blog about them, summarize [their talk] on Facebook [and] Twitter, and take still pics to upload to our class blog. I also invite a state special online investigation detective. We carry the same routine for him. We then post our video on YouTube and link it to our blog. One special event involved an eighth grade girl from a neighboring school district who visited our studio. We did a live spot with her as she shared how she had been bullied and harassed since fourth grade and came close to taking her own life. She gave us permission to [record] her. We produced the segment and named it: “Sarah’s Story.” Here are a few links to our specials: (Sarah’s Story) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKOxyUcTYdk; (Online safety with Teen Lures Prevention) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX9iUnyV55Y; (A New Way for Learning Socially Speaking) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj0wDSoQF3I; (Casting The Social Net for Learning) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qydf5IHBtNM; (Our class blog) http://fhtmsmediainaction.blogspot.com/.” —Jay Hoffman

“Internet safety is a very important part of the computer/technology curriculum at St. Augustine School. Students learn safety tips, as well as ways to prevent/stop cyber bullying, and how to use netiquette when communicating online. A wonderful website, www.netsmartz.org, is a great resource for students of all ages. Through the use of interactive games and videos, the website offers a wide range of information to keep students safe in cyberspace. I also have my students design ‘anti-cyber bullying’ posters to display around our school, as well as PowerPoint presentations on internet safety tips. We have also had speakers from the Maryland Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the FBI as guest speakers on internet safety.” —Sherry Mobley, preK-8 computer teacher, St. Augustine School, Elkridge, Md.

Meris Stansbury

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