Essential Question: How can we be safe?


Background

Safety has always been a cornerstone of PreK-12 education. At home and at school children are taught from a young age to be safe crossing the road, not to talk to strangers, and to behave in a way that does not endanger themselves or others. As they grow older, children learn about treating others with respect, how to deal with bullies, and how to eat nutritionally. As children become teens this carries on to drug and alcohol awareness, driver safety, and dealing with peer pressure.

Technology has simply added another vein to this learning. With the pervasiveness of online communication and sharing of information in our lives, it is no longer a choice for educators to include conversations of online safety in the lives of children. It is an obligation. Online safety must be a part of the 21st Century learners' curriculum. This is not only for the safety of the child himself, but also for the safety of others. Teaching responsible use provides students with the understanding of how their actions can impact and even harm the lives of others. We teach children to drive safely not only for their own safety but also for the safety of others on the road. Teaching online safety is no different.

Being Safe implies more than just online safety. This essential question of safety is at the core of all learning for all children. It speaks to personal safety and to citizenship. There are understandings within this Essential Question to far outreach the new literacy upon with this document focuses. For the purposes of this document, we will look only at the internet

Enduring Understandings

  • Online behaviors and actions impact the access and safety of personal information.
  • Responsible use of online tools can help protect the personal information of others.

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Learning in practice:


Enduring Understanding: Online behaviors and actions determine the access and safety of personal information.

As stated earlier, safety is a bigger issue than technology. With varying student populations at different schools, it is important to be aware of when projects or online work done by students begins to warrant a closer look at student online practice and safety. Students in Elementary School are rarely "let loose" on the internet. Rather their internet experience and time spent are scaffolded and protected through the use of pre-determined web sites and pre-selected content.

When the student work or online practice begins to include issues of safety, then this must be worked on with students. Online behavior rubrics can be used to analyze the "safety" of their assignments. More importantly, conversations of online safety must become habit for teachers and students. Tangent conversations in class bring this into discussion, just as other issues of safety come up in student-teacher conversations.