E-safety: Education, Prohibition and the Digital Native Myth

Meet us at the Exa Education Conference - 10th October 2013

We are delighted to be supporting the Exa Education Conference, where we will be able to share our thoughts on the latest e-safety issues faced by teachers today. This will also be a great opportunity to meet with teachers and also find out more about the latest practices, innovations and technologies available to schools.

Ian Pringle, CEO of Kodo Education will be presenting on the day and will also be available to talk to about e-safety issues throughout the event. Here is an outline of the presentation he will be making:

Communications technology has and continues to have a profound effect on all aspects of society, from politics and international trade through to personal relationships. The speed of information transfer and related decision making puts strain on traditional customs, morals and behaviors, exposing and magnifying both the highs and lows of the human experience.

We must all learn how we adjust our behaviors and interactions in this new environment, to take advantage of the potential but protect ourselves from the perils. In educational terms, this is being broadly called e-safety.

However, e-safety in school is more than just the practice of protecting our children in the present, but it is also about equipping them for their futures.

As with any life skill, seeds sown at a young age tend to flourish, especially if correctly nurtured within formal education. However, preparing young people to act safety and responsibility in an environment which has yet to emerge, using technologies yet to be invented is a tall order for schools, and can not be done without proper understanding of the technology and young people’s relationship to it.

This talk will highlight some of the concepts which must be considered to ensure contemporary on-line safety and also outline some dangerous assumptions which must be addressed if we are to ensure we prepare our children for a safe and positive technological future.

Click here to register for the Exa Education Conference

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on September 19, 2013 10:13

Digital literacy

In recent years, it would seem that every educational web site you visit refers to, if only in passing, the term 'digital literacy', but what does it actually mean and why has it become so imperative that we all, especially professional educators, become digitally literate to enable us to live and work effectively in the early 21st century?

One definition of digital literacy is “the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and create information using digital technology.” It refers to a person's understanding and ability to make an informed decision on which digital tool to use for a specific everyday task and their respective skill in using that tool to produce a successful outcome.

In the mid 19th century, it was realised how important it was that children should be able to read and write in order to raise their intellect, employability and hence their potential personal economic well-being. In later years, this allowed the development of a national workforce that had the ability to become highly trained and skilled in their respective fields. This resulted in the UK becoming a dominant commercial and industrial force in the world and consequentially improved the nation's wealth.

Late in the 20th century, a new literacy began to command our attention; a literacy that could not be ignored by anyone who wanted to embrace new opportunities - digital literacy.

As technology advances at an unrelenting pace and impacts every aspect of our working life and leisure time, the expectations we place on each other with regard to our individual abilities to interact with technology - our own digital literacy, continues to rise and this also applies to our personal abilities to understand and rapidly learn how to use any new piece of software or hardware. It's intriguing that the common perception of young people feeling exasperated by, what they see as, the general low digital literacy of older generations maybe true with regard to a certain functionality of say, a mobile phone or the intricacies of getting to the next level on a specific game; however, as any ICT teacher will tell you, their apparent vast digital knowledge vapourises when they need to construct a spreadsheet or design a database. It is only because, as children or adolescents, they are able to spend a great deal of time playing games or searching every nook and cranny of their respective phone's operating system, that they acquire so much knowledge, whereas adults have to deal with the mundanity of careers and home life and therefore don't have the time.

As adults, and especially as education professionals, we must not only have extensive (and constantly improving) technological knowledge and skills, but also possess a broader digital literacy as a consequence of the perpetually developing digital abilities of students. Ten years ago it would have been unheard of for a teacher, or senior member of staff, to have to deal with a 'cyber-bullying' incident or, due to the phenomena of 'collecting friends' on a global scale through social-networking sites, having to be vigilant of the possibility of children unknowingly falling victim to a 'troll' or an online predatory paedophile. In this day and age, however, the digital literacies of school staff not only have to include how to source information on the web or present text in an infographic, but are also required to have knowledge and an awareness of the wider social (and sometimes darker) aspects of technology.

Nowadays, we place much greater expectations on the quality and professionalism of products, documents and files that we use and receive - how surprised would you be if you received a hand written letter from your bank, even if it contained reasonably good hand writing? There is also a great deal of emphasis on the originality of documents. Historically, teachers relied on their own judgement and intuition to spot if students had colluded on a piece of homework; however, in 2013, the digital literacies of teachers should encompass the capability to use plagiarism software to check the authenticity of students work to ensure that they have not just lifted material from the web.

For more information about digital literacy, download your free 'What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Digital Literacy' report from E-safety Support

Written by Steve Gresty on September 04, 2013 10:21


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