Muddling through the blogosphere

December 12, 2009
by blogwalker

Super Social Safety Digiteens on K12 Online Conference

This week I am determined to join some of the final sessions scheduled for the 2009  K12 Online Conference – Bridging the Divide. I visited the site this morning to check the schedule and that’s when I discovered the link to the Digiteens Global Project , another inspiring project facilitated by the ever-inspiring Vicki Davis.

As part of the k12 online conference 2009 and as a conclusion to the Digiteen Project #3 of 2009, students from Westwood Schools will be presenting their top socially connected sites for kids aged 8-12 (and some that they DO NOT recommend.)  As part of Digiteen 2009, these students felt that many sites that are marketed to kids aged 8-12 are not appropriate nor safe and set out to review and test the best.  They have been blogging and have a twitter account (@socialsafety) and will be presenting live in Elluminate on Wednesday, December 16, 2010 from 12:15 pm-12:45 pm and answer your questions about their testing experiences.

At the conclusion of the student presentation, from 12:45pm – 1:15 pm leading social internet safety expert, Anne Collier will reflect and talk with students about their findings.  Backchannel questions will be included in the conversation.”

I’ve been reading Vicki’s blog and following her on Twitter for a few years, but was not familiar with Anne Collier’s work.  Based on a quick visit to her Connect Safely website, I’m adding her as a major resource to my Internet safety bookmarks.  I’m impressed with her interviews posted to PBS Frontline’s Digital Nation series, and will be adding the links to the 2WebWatchers blog I co-facilitate for my district. I’ll also be sharing the video resources she has posted to the Connect Safely site, such as Larry Magid’s tutorial on privacy settings for Facebook and the Meet the Web Family videos, including Is Kate a Web Addict?:

December 30, 2008
by blogwalker

Checkout the Internet Safety Video Contest!

Thanks to much support from my district (especially Tech Services and Communications) and a partnership with the US Attorney’s Office, my 2WebWatchers partner, Kathleen Watt, and I were able to spend the December 16 School Board meeting recognizing a group of students for their entries in our First Annual Internet Safety Video Contest. The winning entries and honorable mentions are uploaded and posted, so check it out!

If you are considering putting together a similar event for your school district, I encourage you in your efforts and invite you to contact me with questions and suggestions. You are also very welcome to adapt our contest flier, entry form, and guidelines (posted on 2WebWatchers) to suite your event. We tailored the guidelines to meet SEVA 2009 guidelines.

Based on this year’s event, we’ll tweak next year’s entry form to include the sponsoring teachers’ names – but still allow, even encourage, entries from independent filmmakers such as the talented, dedicated Tori W. (who has moved from 8th grade to 9th, still without being able to enroll in a video production class). We’ll also require a typed list of student names, rather than attempting to decipher names from handwritten entries. And the last tweak will be the requirement that all videos are submitted as a CD so that we can easily pull snippets for an Awards Night montage – unless we can find a software program that makes working with DVDs less of a hassle.

If you already have a similar event in place or know of other districts that are sponsoring Internet safety video contests, I would love to include your links on 2WebWatchers!

June 29, 2008
by blogwalker

3Cs – Cyberethics, Cybersafety, Cybersecurity

Davina Pruitt-Mentle and Nancy Willard are leading this section on cyber awareness – which goes beyond cyber safety. PowerPoint of session will be up on NECC ning soon.

Davina: Academic Integrity/Cyber Ethics

Big disconnect between K12 arena and higher ed.

What’s the difference between academic integrity and plagiarism? Academic integrity includes plagiarism as a subset.

Traditional plagiarism includes:

  • Buying a paper from a research service of term paper mill (
  • Turning in another student’s work
  • Turning a paper a peer has written for the student….

New forms of plagiarism includes:

  • Using an electronic translator to translate your work into another language and turning it in as your own writing in a different language
  • Uisng cell phones/PDAs to text message answers back and forth, take pictures of test, archive notes/cheat sheets digitally, etc.

Statistics and Realities – From Center for Academic Integrity – Donal McCabe is a leading researcher. He reports that at least 80 percent of college students admit to cheating at least once – but colleges are reluctant to report problems of cheating, so stats are probably higher. His high school survey showed 74% of cheating on tests and written work. Almost 97% report copying homework at least once. At both the high school and college levels, few students take cheating seriously nor do they believe that their teachers really care (too much hassle, don’t care, not worth the trouble). Serious test cheating grows from 9th to 11th grade and drops off slightly in 12th grade. Students in midwest report lower levels of cheating than schools in west and northeast. Fact: students have a 99% chance of getting away with it. Over time, cheating has not increased substantially, but it’s becoming the norm. Love this student quote for one of the studies: “Except for English they [teachers] never really care.” Teacher quote: “no real consequences for students if you do turn it in.” Fuzzy AUP/SCCs are a problem, with so few having clear statement on defining cheating or consequences.

Suggestions: Students need more than just a single briefing of the AUP. Be sure to include library media specialist as a partner. Ashley Mouberry-Sieman has study online of differences between high school and college cheating:

  • Teachers can help deter academic dishonesty and promote a climate of integrity – teachers can have a huge impact!!! But they must mention the do’s and dont’s throughout the term, not just at beginning.
  • Students needs lots of examples of how to paraphrase, for instance. Assignments should scaffold to deter cheating: outlines, notes, including things from class.
  • Teachers should talk to students about how plagiarism is detected (e.g., take a sentence and pop it into Google).
  • Define what plagiarism is and isn’t.
  • Discuss as a legal issue of fair use and intellectual property.
  • Do the parent ed piece (this can be tough, as the most involved parents also tend to be the ones that push for grades).
  • Talk about the consequences, not just in school, but in the real world too (Wikipedia has tons of examples).
  • Check for Joyce Valenza’s exercises
  • Warm up snippets for students: Give them samples of student plagiarized samples.
  • Assign current and local topics (instead of women in the Civil War, describe an event from your community)

Sites for security issues:

Nancy Willard – Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

Digital Divide + shift to Web 2.0 > huge changes!

Why do young people make poor decisions:

  • Brain development – frontal cortex undergoing development. Teen process emotions in “fright or flight” portion of brain
  • Disinhibition – you can’t see me; I can’t see you. Lack of tangible feedback about consequences interferes with empathy and ability to make good choices
  • Exploration of Identity and Emerging Sexuality – Trying to win the who’s hot contest
  • Online social norms – life online is just a game
  • Social manipulation – providing a gift, seeking commitment, creating attractive image, establishing authority, encouraging group allegiance
  • Youth risk online must be viewed from perspective of adolescent risk – they’re on risk online – and in real life:
    • vulnerable emotionally
    • less resilient in getting out of a difficult situation

Approaches that are not working:

  • installing filtering software
  • fear-based tactics – teens who meet with sexual predators do so intentionally, knowing they are adults and intending to engage in sex. “Tiny tip of the tail wagging the Internet safety procedures.”
  • misleading use of data
  • reliance on filtering – won’t effectively block “porn traps” because traps generally link to newer sites- here’s a sound bit from Nancy on the topic of filtering by school districts – ws1139401
  • simplistic rules – hey, “just say no” didn’t work with drugs…Teens and tweens need strategies. Unfortunately, most at-risk kids don’t have good relationships with their parents. We need to educate kids – and adults
  • avoiding uncomfortable information – shortcoming of is absence of word “sex” anywhere in the training. Adults must open the lines of communication about risky online sexual concerns.
  • considering all young people victims

How do we do this cybers afety thing better?

  • all use should be in a controlled environment
    • book-marked sites
    • closely controlled communications
    • close supervision
  • key safety rules
    • if something “yucky” appears, turn off the screen and tell an adult. Kids and teachers need to know what to do
    • do not go outside the safe sites without permission
    • do not type your name, address, or phone number online or send a picture of yourself
    • ask kids to bring in terms of use of their favorite sites
  • Ethical decision-making
    • is this kind and respectful to others?
    • what would my mom, dad, or other respected individual think?
    • would it be ok if I did this in the real world?
    • how does what I do online reflect on me?
  • Problem: people who understand risk, often don’t understand technology; people who understand technology often don’t understand risk. The path to bring everyone to the table is cyberbullying – and don’t adopt anything that looks like the D.A.R.E. program. We need to bring in peer leadership too!
  • School counselors have children reporting concerns. They need access to the sites in question! Every administrator needs immediate ability to bypass filters! Many librarians and teachers are trying to teach students about inappropriate sites, but can’t override filters.

March 27, 2008
by blogwalker

On the Internet, “nobody knows you’re a dog”

This post is in response to Anne Mirtschin‘s request for cybersafety resources for students. I’m currently out of the classroom, but for the past two years I’ve been teaming with our district webmaster to provide Internet safety workshops for teachers and administrators, who during the course of the 2-hour session often swap their teacher hats for their parent hats. Fortunately, the resources for students, teachers, and parents are plentiful and growing.

Here’s the opening slide from our PowerPoint. I like to start with the humor of the New Yorker cartoon*, quickly transitioning into the implications and realities of “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” by showing the Trevor’s Story video.


I’ll be adding Anne’s post as an example of how an elementary teacher prepares students for safe travels across the information highway.

Here are my top 10 Internet safety resources:

  1. i-Safe – Sponsored by the US Dept. of Justice, i-Safe offers free online training and certification as an iSafe instructor, parent, or mentor. It takes about 5 hours to complete the certification, after which you’ll be familiar with all the iSafe resources, including the classroom lesson resources they’ll send in hardcopy.
  2. – Keep scrolling down the parent resource page and you’ll find excellent videos, including the What You Need to Know video. If I could direct parents to only one resource, it would be this video. It clearly explains the dangers of the Internet AND also makes a clear case for why Web 2.0 tools are important for 21st century students.
  3. Pete Reilly’s article Facts about Sex Abuse and Schools – In addition to the stats that make clear that school is NOT where online predators are meeting up with students, I love his opening words: “In education circles the magical mantra has been ’student safety.’ The fear of online predators has been used to curtail, restrict, and prohibit the use of some of the most promising online educational technology tools. …” and his closing words: “As educational leaders we need to be safety conscious. We need to be prudent, reasonable; but we won’t live in fear and we won’t act from fear. It is by opening doors, not closing them, that we create new possibilities for our children and new futures for ourselves.”
  4. Statistics from the Pew Internet and American Life Project – Why would a district block blogging, for instance, when the stats show that “Some 93% of teens use the internet, and more of them than ever are treating it as a venue for social interaction – a place where they can share creations, tell stories, and interact with others.”
  5. Ideas for Integrating Internet Safety into the Curriculum – Kudos to the Virginia Department of Education for providing a model of how to align ideas for addressing Internet safety in the context of their state content standards for students.
  6. Elk Grove Unified’s growing bank of resources – We continue to add resources and plan to reorganize soon by k-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12 categories. Really, we were planning to do this before finding Virginia’s site:-)

7 – 10 Cyberbullying recourses – While we are certainly concerned about protecting students from online predators, the main focus of our program is to educate workshop participants about this heinous problem of cyberbullying, which unlike the old days when a bullied student could escape taunts once the school day ended, we recognize the seriousness and heart-wrenching consequences of 27/7 cyberbullying:

  • NetSmartz’ Real Life Stories -My favorite video is Broken Friendship.
  • Stop Cyberbullying – Provides excellent background information
  • Spirit Desk’s Hero in the Hallway – This video is truly a K-12 resource. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the video link.

*Cartoon by Peter Steiner. The New Yorker, July 5, 1993 issue (Vol.69 (LXIX) no. 20) page 61

February 19, 2008
by blogwalker

New Resources for Digital Citizenship – Get 3/Give 1

I really like the way the CTAP4 folks have organized resources for learning about and teaching all aspects of digital citizenship. They’ve included links to PowerPoints, workshop wikis, and even this wonderful poster. I think much of the credit for this valuable website goes to at&t’s Linda Uhrenholt.


I also appreciate Doug Johnson’s sharing his Cyberbullying and How to Avoid It student guide and poster – and Nancy Willard’s willingness to allow him to incorporate information from her website.  Doug will send the Word version to educators wanting to adapt the guide to meet their school or district’s guidelines.

And for our elementary students, I like McGruff’s Shrink the Cyberbully activity.

OK, in appreciation of all who are contributing resources to promote digital citizenship, I have one to give.  Many of the teachers and administrators attending my iSafety workshop ask for additional explanations of some the terminology that comes with Web 2.0.  I’ve been working with our district webmaster, who co-teaches the iSafety workshop, on developing a Cyberspace Glossary.  I can send the Word version to anyone who wants to tailor it for their own site.

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