14 January 2012

Celebrating Digital Learning and Digital Safety

Of all the changes that I have seen and experienced in education, there is no doubt that digital learning has had the strongest impact of influencing change. It is no longer a case of saying that the "communicative" approach works or doesn't within a particular context, nor  does the case of wanting to introduce "task-based-learning" as a novelty bring anything new, for focusing on tasks and projects is part of learning and has been practiced in many subjects and contexts. 

Our world has gone digital, and with it, education slowly reaps the benefits of what digital learning has to offer in the curriculum. Digital Learning Day is a on 1st  February this year while Safer Internet Day will be celebrated on 7th February.  

Both these dates offer teachers plenty of scope for aware raising in their institutions, whether among students or staff.

Citizendium is a great wiki to share with colleagues and perhaps even persuade them to participate. Citizendium offers a wide range of topics, from the Natural Sciences to the Arts and is easy to navigate.  Wikis are great ways to share information with colleagues and students, and here you can explore 30+ Open Wikis Every Educator Should Know, published by Edudemic

Another site which is of interest to educators -  and parents - is Common Sense. Common Sense  helps educators and parents teach children about digital safety, digital media and offers great resources for educators. Resources are clearly labelled by school year and issues which children and teens often have to deal with online. 

Being aware of the harm that cyberbullying can cause is no light matter. If professional harassment is ethically frowned upon in the workplace, cyberbullying is a serious cause of pain and hardship for those who become victims of such behaviour. Learners, especially young leaners and teens need to be aware of what is cool and not cool, what they can do to find unbiased support and most importantly, how it should be avoided. 

The Invisible Heart Project is an anti-cyberbullying project created by students in Australia, a project about and for young people. Among the resources shared here, you will also find a list of sites of anti-cyberbullying to explore further. 

If participating with this project is not possible, why not create a class project where learners can share their thoughts about cyberbullying and how to stop it? Standing up to bullies, speaking out, seeking support is not always simple and having peer support is important among teens. By working together on a class project which they could then share with others, either at the same institution or further online, adds to the positive chain of support and awareness against this type of bullying. 

Lastly, two games which can be introduced in class are CyberNetrix and a quiz on Cyberbullying by WiredKids - a great site with resources, aiming to protect children from abuse and cybercrimes. 

How will you be celebrating Digital Learning Day and Safer Internet Day in 2012? 

Further reference:

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