With the advent of the 2014 computing curriculum, the issue of e-safety has been brought sharply into focus. There are specific requirements in the curriculum statements that cover all aspects of e-safety, but these permeate into other computing requirements, and indeed across the whole curriculum.
The National Curriculum for England states that:
KS1: use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies.
KS2: use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and can be discerning in evaluating digital content.
KS2: use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.
KS3: understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct, and know how to report concerns.
KS4: understand how changes in technology affect safety, including new ways to protect their online privacy and identity, and how to identify and report
a range of concerns.
The delivery of e-safety in schools should happen more than for just a few days each February. This e-safety week is a good time to focus on certain aspects of e-safety, and to run a series of dedicated activities, but the day-to-day messages need to be getting through to the children every time they use technology. If children are creating mobile apps that will be downloadable by parents, what are the e-safety implications? If they are creating a narrated slideshow about World War II, do they understand about copyright when saving images from the internet?
Outside organisations can help with this, and teachers will discover a wealth of resources from groups such as CEOP or the NSPCC.
We must realise, though, that e-safety is a broad church, covering everything from sexual exploitation and online grooming, to discerning internet research and copyright issues.
This does not necessarily mean that teaching e-safety should be done in isolation, but that the message is relevant to what the children are doing across the wider curriculum.
Attendees at EduTech 2017 will discover a wealth of resources and practical advice for strengthening their e-safety messages and delivery in school. There are no fewer than nine e-safety-themed sessions across the two days of the conference!
The speakers and workshop leaders come from a range of organisations and associations, including: NAHT, ChildNet, E-Safety Training, Engage E-Safety and Gooseberry Planet. We will also hear from practitioner Laura Knight of Berkhamstead School.
Those who are looking to further strengthen their policies and practice will do well to attend as many of these sessions as they can.
Topics and themes will include:
- Delivering the National Curriculum requirements
- Involving, engaging and supporting parents
- Current union advice
- Empowering children and teachers with a common-sense approach
- Compliance with KCSiE (Keeping Children Safe in Education)
- Developing links between practical strategies and safeguarding principles – moving beyond ‘box-ticking’
- Peer-to-peer strategies
- Supporting young people with sexting and cyberbullying
- Moving towards OFSTED ‘Outstanding’
- Addressing online-safety through gamification and mobile apps
What is clear is that, as we move further and further towards digital learning environments, where our students are encouraged to create and publish digital content, the need for them to become responsible digital citizens becomes stronger.
Our children are far more comfortable using new and emerging technology than are many teachers. What they rarely do, however, is question the implications of what they are doing. Our job as teachers is to encourage this questioning so that our children have a greater understanding and are equipped with the tools they need to help them deal with uncomfortable or tricky situations which may arise, both in and out of school.
The seminars, workshops and masterclasses at EduTech 2017 seek to address many issues surrounding e-safety in both primary and secondary schools and will, I feel, be some of the stand-out sessions of the event.