My FIRST blog post for British Council-Teaching English: ONLINE SAFETY (Digital Citizenship and Cyberbullying Project)

Some months ago, I found a quite interesting article by a National Board Certified 6th Grade Language Arts teacher, Bill Ferriter, who says that: “There is no doubt that technology integration has had a significant impact on the quality of teaching and learning. We teachers have embraced blogging, wikis, asynchronous discussions or any other type of online work. While new Web 2.0 tools are incredibly exciting and powerful, they can also be dangerous because they expose students to a wider world that isn’t always closely monitored and protected. Risk taking is inherent any time that a child ventures into cyberspace unprepared for what they might encounter there. Providing opportunities to explore content through Web 2.0 technologies comes with an increased responsibility for introducing students to Internet safety practices that often go overlooked in our enthusiasm to try something new.

What is my opinion about all this stated above?
Last year, while I was preparing a project on Cyberbullying, Online Safety and Digital Citizenship with my Senior class at school, I came across some useful tips from the ELearning Industry website: “The Teacher Guide to Keeping Students Safe Online” where the blogger explains that:

Online safety is not
·      Blocking websites
·      Overbearing internet monitoring
·      Heavy online restrictions
·      Limited internet usage
·      The criminalization of websites like Facebook and Twitter

Image by blog rootshellbe

Online safety is KNOWLEDGE: teaching our students how to be safe online, enables them to practice good habits for their entire life.

 Three essential tips for keeping online safety:

1.Get parents involved: I did so when I created my groups on Edmodo, which provides a code for the class and a Parent code.

2.Provide resources to students: watch Google Family Safety or Safe Web Surfing on YouTube, for example. Reflect on Infographics: especially one on Digital Citizenship, created by one of my favorite Twitter connections: infographics diva: Mia Macmeekin.(it is on my Padlet wall)

3.Create scenarios: which I certainly did by making my students watch the film: “Cyberbully”. Warning! This film was shown in many schools around the U.S but, in my opinion, it is rather shocking to be seen in class. As it was on YouTube, I only made my class see the first two segments. As soon as the bell rang, they rushed and watched it at home. Later, they left their comments in our Edmodo closed group.

As a conclusion, those teachers like me who are willing to integrate some technology and new tools, must be responsible enough to keep the students safe. In my particular case, as I do not have computers in my class we are TOTALLY safe!, but that is another reason for blogging later on. Anyway, digital creation, collaboration and connection are playing an increasingly important role in 21st Century teaching and learning. I mentioned above that I talked about the project with my students, which is all posted on a Padlet wall: Readings, Word clouds and even students’ recorded opinions: shall I share the link to my private wall on this blog? I already have their parents permission to publish their children’s works so here it goes: Enjoy the work of a group of very nice students and a proud teacher!