This is a guest post from Billy Krakower, in recognition of Internet Safety Month. A 3rd and 4th grade teacher of computer technology at Beatrice Gilmore in Woodland Park, New Jersey, and an Edmodo Certified Trainer and Ambassador, he understands the value of keeping students protected online.
Cyber safety is very important to teach at all levels of education. Equally important is keeping the netiquette conversation going all year long, from the start of school and through the last day of class.
In the fall, before using the Internet (and great tools like Edmodo), my computer lab students watch “Routers Birthday Surprise” on Netsmartz Kids—a video about Internet safety for elementary-aged students. A great tool that you can use with your students, the Netsmartz Kids website is free and easy to access. Since parents are integral in reinforcing good digital citizenship practices, it’s important to help train them as well. Onguardonline.gov is a great resource and provides free information.
Safety Exercises on Edmodo
Afterwards, we have a class discussion about going online, ways students should use the Internet responsibly, and what to watch out for when participating in online video games. Once my students understand the importance of staying safe online, I have them join Edmodo and use it for various activities, including teaching valuable 21st century skills by:
- Outlining Edmodo usage policies. I set expectations for the proper usage of Edmodo and the ways we should be corresponding with one another online.
- Monitoring Small Groups. Students are put into a small group called Social Outlet where they converse. This group should always be monitored and checked by a teacher to make sure conversations are appropriate.
- Defining Digital Citizenship terms. Depending on the grade level, students get a list of 5-11 words and have to use online dictionaries to find the definitions, as well as use Microsoft Word to answer the questions about the terms. Once this assignment is completed, we have another discussion about what it means to be a Digital Citizen.
Edmodo is a great platform to use with elementary and middle school students as you begin teaching online safety. It allows your students to connect and collaborate in a teacher-moderated environment as they learn lessons on digital safety and netiquette. When they’re ready, you can create a collaborative group and invite another class to join. As the year progresses and your students have become responsible digital citizens, you can continue to invite even more classes to join you as you expand your collaborative circles to an even wider audience.
Safety Online Resources
You can also find websites to complement your Internet safety lessons and discussions—ones you can add and share on Edmodo!
- NetSmartz Internet Safety Presentations offers free guides for a variety of ages and audiences
- NetSmartz Kids has games and activities perfect for elementary students
- NSTeens encourages safer choices for tweens
- NetSmartz Teens provides tips for older students
How do you promote Internet safety online and in Edmodo? Share your ideas and best practices in the comments section below, or in the Edmodo Communities.