As part of this week’s learning path, I have completed the Connect.ed online professional development program designed for educators to help students have safe and positive experiences online. Each module has a specific focus and includes activities, expert interviews, case studies and quizzes while building our knowledge and understanding of cybersafety. On completion of the modules, a certificate is awarded which is a useful addition to demonstrate our developing knowledge against the graduate standard APST 4.5.
Module 1: The connected world
- Importance of staying current & keeping up with what students are doing online.
- Provides an insight the ways students use technology.
- How educators can positively influence students’ behaviours and attitudes when using online & digital technologies.
Module 2: Cybersafety and your students
- Awareness of cybersafety issues students face.
- Assist students to recognise unsafe online behaviours and risks.
- Use strategies to prevent cybersafety issues and have plans in place if unsafe online behaviours occur.
Module 3: Schools and the law
- Whole school approach to prevent unsafe online behaviour and deal with cybersafety issues should they arise.
- School policies about online safety and ICT use.
- Legal implications for schools and educators.
Module 4: Putting it into practice.
- Delivering engaging and effective cybersafety education.
- Use of resources, tools and strategies.
Although all the modules were highly relevant to our future roles, some terminologies and comments stood out for me. The thought of ‘extending’ the boundaries of our duty of care to outside school hours online activities is definitely a concern for me. Sue also expressed her concern about this issue: how can we be held accountable for our students’ outside school hours online activities?!
Working in a primary school, the notion of duty of care is embedded in my actions; it is an important part of my role. With more responsibilities, duty of care will continue to be even more important for me as a teacher. In her blog Sandy writes:
“Twenty-first century educators, parents and community members have a duty of care to encourage safe networking practices.”
Yes, encouraging, promoting and as Sue mentioned, educating and preparing our students for safe and ethical online interactions.
One of the experts pointed out, that we shouldn’t believe that technology is bad. We should embrace technologies and accept that it is a ‘mixed blessing’. It won’t go away and we have to deal with it and manage it. We can only do that if we are well educated about its benefits and potentials and are also aware of the dangers.
Our course and this online program are giving us a better picture: not just the bad or just the good side of technology use, rather a realistic one. It’s up to us to make the most of all this information so we can be better informed and in turn better educate our students. Like Tess, I will also be recommending the Connect.ed PD to my colleagues at school and to future educators.