Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Learn from the Czech

Adolescents, primary school pupils and teachers from the Czech Republic, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Spain shared their thoughts about safety online during internet safety workshops held on the occasion of the eTwinning camp 2007 in Città del mare. The teenage participants brainstormed and worked on specific topics, the teachers prepared lesson-plans integrating internet safety aspects in the classroom and the youngest pupils worked on an internet safety fairy-tale.

The internet is connecting thousands of pupils in Europe and is a powerful communication tool and an excellent means of cross-border education. Young people are intensively using new communication technology and are often way ahead in their understanding of these tools compared to their teachers or parents. However, whereas they deem themselves technically savvy, they are not always in a position to judge the material they come across on the net. So what could make more sense than delivering Insafe internet safety workshops to young and enthusiastic Europeans and their teachers? The pupils’ workshops took place in two different age groups: a) adolescents (14-16) and primary school pupils (7-9). In both groups, the sessions started with a brainstorming that showed that all pupils use/had used the internet to communicate and the striking majority played games online.
Subjects such as e-privacy, source-criticism, responsibility and cyber-bullying were discussed and the older students worked in groups on themes such as: anonymity, publishing power, cyberbullying, seeing is believing, solidarity. The younger children were just starting to use the Internet at school. Nevertheless, they had quite a good idea of what it is and what kind of dangers it may expose users to. They were asked to work on their well-known Gingerbread house fairy tale that was the core of their eTwinning project. They had to transpose it into an e-safety context so consequently the ginger-bread house became a misleading site, whereas the witch became a cyberwitch.
The story they created was filmed and can be by clicking on this link. Answering the question “What did you learn during the workshop on playing safe on the internet” the young Czech and Slovak students provided answers such as: “Think before clicking”, “Do not reply to people you do not know”, “We should help each other when we’re in difficulty”, “Do not let strangers take pictures of you” and “Protect your computer”. On the other hand the teachers were asked to talk about the subjects they teach and reflect on how internet safety elements could be integrated in those subjects and in their eTwinning projects. Subsequently they were asked to create lesson plans were they would use internet safety aspects of interest to them.
The lesson plans developed could in some cases form the basis of an eTwinning collaboration project. The European Internet Safety Network, Insafe, will celebrate the 5th edition of Safer Internet Day on February 12 2008. In that context a new competition will be launched for schools in Europe and beyond. To keep informed about Internet safety issues and upcoming events,
please visit the Insafe portal:http://www.saferinternet.org

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