Today I attended Cybersafety Outreach - a workshop program put together by ACMA under their cyber (smart:) banner addressing the issues around cybersafety and cyberbullying. It was very comprehensive and rather than rehash the program, I thought I'd share a few takeaways and thoughts from the day.
Firstly, I've been critical of similar previous presentations and programs being focussed on the negative aspects of modern personal technology. They often seemed to preach risk avoidance as the solution for educators in regards to using social networking, free email accounts and online publishing rather than risk minimisation. Our presenter shaped this mindset well with her quote:
How do we (as educators) embrace technology and the online environment and use it as part of their learning?
So, today's session for me was confirming of all that I've learned while embracing technology and the online environment myself, gleaning most of what I saw today from educators around the globe. There were other school leaders (read decision makers for their particular school environment) there today for whom all of this stuff was new and confronting information. What about of their staff members who then get this information on relay? What about schools who don't have a tech savvy leader or even awareness to send someone to a workshop like this as a starting point?
It came out very strongly that teachers need to be teaching critical literacy skills to our students NOW, not in a year or two or when the government funds PD like the present Science and Maths initiative. A massive challenge to someone like me - how do I ensure that all staff gain awareness, then confidence and finally competence in ensuring critical literacy is an embedded part of their literacy program?
Anyway, here's a list of all of today's links.
The cool thing is the Cybersafety Outreach program is free and can include presentations to staff, students and parents at schools in Australia. It is a useful first step for many, and as I digest today's very full menu of information and work how to disseminate it back to my colleagues and more importantly, my students.