Oct 04 2011

New Ophea Resource to Support Internet Safety Instruction

On September 21st, OPHEA, the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, launched a new resource to support teachers, students and parents in grades 4-6 on how to be safe in their use of technology and internet resources. Connect[ED] provides online video, lessons and resources to help students in the development of their own online practices and safe behaviours relating to netiquette, security, personal privacy and relationships. The website, http://www.reallifeonline.ca/, is very comprehensive. OPHEA has done its homework. They draw information from a variety of resources and experts including the Physical Education and Health curriculum document, The Language Arts curriculum document, Marc Prensky (Article: Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants), and the Media Awareness Network (http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/index.cfm), to name a few.

 This is a web-based program (it is also available as a DVD) that covers the topics of Netiquette (peer pressure, reputation risk), Security and Privacy (passwords, personal information, digital permanence), and Online Relationships (cyberbullying, boundaries, anonymity, inappropriate photos/text, luring and online gaming). Each lesson is supported with background information, additional resources and curriculum expectations from both the Health and Physical Education Curriculum document and the Media Literacy portion of the Language Curriculum document and assessment and evaluation suggestions. Each unit overview contains three categories of information:

         What Will the Students Learn?

         How Will I know What the Students Have Learned?

         How Will Assessment and Instruction Be Organized For Student Learning?

There is also an accompanying section for parents that provides strategies and questions for dealing with the topic of online safety at home.

 The lessons include video episodes that are done in animation and live action footage. I found the animation to be a little simplistic, but the messages are very clear and age appropriate. The live action footage is effective, particularly the interview with an unidentified victim of cyberbullying and a school principal about the consequences of inappropriate use of technology in the grade 6 videos. It is helpful that written transcripts are also provided for each video.

 This resource is available in both French and English. It is a sister resource to the grade 7 and 8 courses Cybercops http://www.ophea.net/programs-services/more-resources/cybercops which are also available as a free download in French and English.

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