In recent months we have heard lots of news stories about the perils of the Internet, and how teachers and parents must be educating pupils in the do’s and don’ts of online activity, but are we forgetting one obvious group of educators?
As young people, we all took more notice of our friends than our parents and teachers at one time or another, so it would make sense to utilise this valuable peer group when it comes to e-safety too.
Ofsted recognise the power of peer mentoring and have included this as a feature of good and outstanding practice in their ‘Inspecting e-safety in schools’ briefing document.
Easier said than done!
There are one or two ways that this could begin in the classroom. By encouraging students to create their own resources that can be shared with younger pupils is one option. Or perhaps, involving students in the development of the school e-safety policy, giving them some responsibility for spreading good practice.
Outside of the classroom, why not follow the example of the Digital Leaders group from St Wilfrid’s School, who are not only interest in all things IT, but are also socially active students, with influence within their peer groups.
Without wishing to state the obvious, we can also learn a thing or two from the younger generation ourselves. No-one knows the latest apps being used by young people better than they do, so ask. Then check out the apps yourself and have a class discussion about them. They will doubtlessly know more than you, but it's ok to explore the pro’s and con’s together.
If your school has taken the bold step of treating your students as leaders and helped them to develop their own e-safety teaching resources, you may want to consider entering the Youth Manifesto Competition. This is an EU initiative to encourage shared good practice in e-safety education and learning. Find out more at www.youthmanifesto.eu/competition.
To help others learn from your students, why not let us know which apps are popular in your school by using the comments section below. We can share your thoughts with fellow teachers and all learn from the digital generation.