THE NETSAFE KIT FOR SCHOOLS

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The LEARN: GUIDE: PROTECT: FRAMEWORK

LGP is divided into three components: the skills students learn to keep themselves safe, the guidance they access to learn how to manage challenges, and the protective mechanisms schools can use to improve their immediate safety.

  • Learn: Educating students to develop positive, ethical behaviours in cyberspace
  • Guide: Professional learning resources and lesson activities for educators to teach digital citizenry and to create a positive school culture of digital citizenship.
  • Protect: Technology, infrastructure, and school developed policy that supports the establishment of a safe and secure technology environment.
The diagram shows the changing emphasis of the three components of the framework as students progress through school.

In the early school years, the protective measures are of critical importance so that young students can safely explore a wide range of online experiences. Teacher guidance will provide appropriate learning opportunities to lay the foundation for cyber safety skills.

As the students go through the intermediate/early secondary years, the effectiveness of protective measures drops off markedly, even when protection measures are in place. Through this middle period of schooling, more adult guidance is required to bridge the gap between students’ skills and the diminishing effectiveness of protection systems.

At upper secondary levels, students require regular opportunities to develop self-management skills to prepare them for active participation in a digital society as school leavers.

LEARN: Opportunities for Students

In order to succesfully support the development of digital citizenship educators must have the ability to identify the progression of skills and knowledge, and to approximate the age at which they develop. Students must be given the opportunities to aquire these skills in an authentic contextual setting that provides the freedom to build upon their existing knowledge. The objective of a successful digital citizenship education is to develop school leavers who are capable of managing their own online safety.

Learning in Years 1-6: Focus on building a range of digital literacy skills

A successful cyber safety programme at this stage focuses on students developing skills through experiences where they have both reasonable protection and adult guidance. This stage lays the groundwork for key competencies and values young people require to effectively utilise digital technologies. Students are likely to be using a range of technologies often with specific instructions and close monitoring by adults.

Learning in Years 7-10: Focus on competencies, values and behaviours

A successful cyber safety programme at this stage needs to be responsive to the growing independence and social awareness of young people as they explore more complex online contexts, sometimes without adult supervision. This stage places a stronger emphasis on adult guidance and authentic learning experiences to increase student self-sufficiency. Integrating key competencies and values into cyber safety education to build on students’ existing skills is vital. During these years administrators are likely to be assessing the appropriate balance between providing authentic online learning opportunities and students’ exposure to risk.

Learning in Years 11-13: Focus on opportunities to practice skills in an authentic context

A successful cyber safety programme at this stage will allow students greater opportunities to practice digital citizenry skills. It should recognise the diverse abilities, aspirations and growing responsibility of senior students. It should also recognise that personal values and key competencies have gained significance for these young people as they develop the capabilities they will need as adults in a digital society. Educators need to provide students with regular opportunities to critically analyse their own values and actions in cyberspace.

GUIDE: The Teacher’s Role in Cybersafety

The shift from protecting students from inappropriate material to providing opportunities where students can learn to self manage their activity, changes the emphasis of responsibility for a school cyber safety programme. It places more responsibility on classroom teachers who support young people as they use technology in learning activities. Young people want opportunities to discuss online challenges with respected and authoritative adults. This does not require teachers to be technology experts, but it is important that their knowledge is broad, authentic and current. Developing teacher capability so they can act as effective cyber safety guides is vital.

PROTECT: Shaping the environment

The protection component consists of policies, practices and services designed to create a safer space. These include filtering, security, and monitoring solutions. Filtering makes an important contribution to a safe environment particularly for very young people. Some protective measures, like filtering however, become less effective as a cyber safety tool as students mature. This creates both the opportunity and the need for learners to build personal online safety skills and knowledge. Schools will continuously assess the risks and benefits of protective measures.