The Internet is one of the most powerful tools that can be used for education today. Learning experiences and knowledge go much farther because of the information that can be accessed online. It is important for us to use this tool to help educate our students and provide them with rich learning experiences. It is also important to teach students how to be responsible online and safely use this tool.
Download: School Bullying Student Agreement
Here are some classroom strategies that you can use to help your students have a safe, enjoyable Internet experience.
When students are using the Internet for research use browsers or search engines that are specifically geared towards children. You can use MassOne as a safe way to do research online. Log into you MassOne account and you can find research sites under the Teaching and Learning Resources tab.
Preview sites thoroughly before you use them. Make sure that if you are going to display a website to a class of students that there is no inappropriate or offensive material located anywhere on the site.
Arrange your computers in a visible area of the classroom. Make sure that you are able to clearly see what is on the computer monitors at all times.
If a child does access inappropriate content on purpose or by accident, turn the monitor off immediately. Do not just try to get out of the site, sometimes even when you try to exit out of websites that contain pornographic materials, more sexually explicit images will begin to pop up.
If any children in the class have been exposed to inappropriate or sexually explicit material online, contact your principal immediately about the situation. If you can, write the address of the inappropriate website and contact the Office of Instructional Technology so the site can be blocked. The BPS does have site blocking software, however no blocking software is 100% effective.
Talk to your students about Internet safety. Teach them the hazards that they can be exposed to online and the cyber-strategies they can use to avoid them.
Educate your students’ parents and guardians about Internet safety. Talk to the parent council about holding an Internet safety meeting. Set up a table at an open house that has internet safety material available to take home. There are lots of sites out there to get this information.
Here are some internet safety links for educators:
www.isafe.org - A non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. i-SAFE incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place. Educators, students and parents can become i-SAFE Internet safety certified.
www.netsmartz.org - Another non-profit foundation dedicated to Internet safety. Contains lessons, games, and activities on Internet safety for grades K-12. It also contains research and statistics about online risks and children. It also contains songs and videos you can show to your students.
http://msn.staysafeonline.com/educators/default.html - Internet safety information for educators. This site includes tips, a toolbox, a glossary of terms and strategies to keep your students safe online.
http://cyberbully.org - A comprehensive source on the subject of cyberbullying. This site includes detailed examples of cyberbullying and resources for educators.
http://www.cybersmartcurriculum.org/lesson_plans - Lessons that you can use in the classroom to teach your students about cybersafety.
https://www.mysecurecyberspace.com - My Secure Cyberspace is a free educational resource created by Carnegie Mellon University to empower you to secure your part of cyberspace.
http://www.copyrightkids.org - This site has information about copyright and intellectual property for kids.
http://www.staysafe.org/educators/default.html - Stay Safe.org for Educators contains
content and resources for teaching students how to stay safe online.