Monday, March 10

The problem is not the technology it is how it is used

Last week our cluster held a Cybersafe evening for parents. Richard Beach from Netsafe delivered a very informative and moving presentation. His commonsense approach came from the point-of view that the technology is here and it is a huge part of our children’s lives. Adults need to immerse themselves in this technology in an attempt to understand it.
The key messages I gained for both home and school included:
*Rules, boundaries and electronic protection are important but the ‘best filter is the one between our ears’. A whole-school community approach to cybersafety is needed. At home this can start with some simple collaboratively formed rules i.e. cell phones in the fruit bowl by 8pm, not giving out personal details on the net, never saying anything online that you wouldn’t say face to face.
Netsafe have put together some brilliant resources to assist parents with cybersafety in their homes.
For schools, the team at Netsafe have just released the New ‘Cybercitizenship Pathway’ for teaching online safety in your classroom. The 1 page guide is a continuum for ECE through to Year 13.

*Cyberbullying is the unacceptable, cruel face of new technology
. This video drove this message home in no uncertain terms. Richard stressed that there are help agencies available for students that are the victims of bullying. Check out this great starting point for NZ children.

I totally recommend Richard to present to communities. Parents chatted in groups long after Richard had packed up the projector!

Questions he left me pondering include:
As teachers we are like magnets to the freebies. It may be worth considering paying a little for the increased security and moderation that some of these web 2.0 applications offer?? For example Voicethread vs EdVoicethread

As schools increase their use of technology, do they also increase their level of cybersmart education ?? Is this explicit? School-wide?

There are high-quality engaging resources available for teacher use, at all levels, via sites like netsafe and digizen. How are these being used in schools? What works? What doesn't?

CyberBullying - What do students think? What steps would they take to counteract this?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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