Keeping our kids safe online

March 26, 2011 at 10:18 am | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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I was privileged enough to go to a short talk from ex Australian detective, Brett Lee, last week talk about cyber safety. Brett spent a lot of his time as an online detective in the search for cyber criminals – particularly paedophiles. He was once asked if he would see one cyber criminal online when he went online. He said that he would see 30.

Brett had a very simple message – we need to educate our kids about the dangers of the internet. He said that they are the same dangers that you face by walking down the street. We teach our kids about stranger danger – not to get in someone’s car, not to talk to strangers etc, but we aren’t so good when it comes to the internet. The same applies when talking to strangers on the internet. People (children/teens in particular) have a strong sense of anonymity on the internet that they feel safe. But these criminals know what our children need or want to hear. They know how to ‘groom’ a child.

Brett showed one of the chats he had with a ‘stranger’. Within moments he knew he was dealing with a paedophile, however a teenage boy or girl may not be aware. They do not have the life experience and the adult instincts that adults have. They cannot know the dangers unless we teach them.

Brett normally runs a two day workshop, and I imagine this would be excellent. I only attended an hour-long talk and was really impressed.

Brett’s website is www.iness.com.au

What do parents want their children to know when they leave school?

March 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Education | 5 Comments
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My wife and I have 5 children and I asked her this question late last night. Do you know what she didn’t say? She didn’t say, “I want them to know lots of stuff”.

Why am I telling you what she didn’t say? Because the ‘stuff’ is still what our curriculum seems to be full of. The ‘stuff’ is what I still feel like I need to get into my students’ heads so that they can achieve this standard or that standard. At the end of the day, in order for our students/children to succeed by gaining a qualification, they need to know ‘stuff’. Yes, I realise they need to be able to apply it in different situations, but ultimately, we as teachers have all these things we need to teach our students before they finish the year or sit the final assessment/examination.

So what did she say that she wants our children to know when they leave school? Here is some of what she (and I – since we happen to fortunately be in agreement on this!) said:

  • we want our children to be confident and competent in basic literacy and numeracy
  • we want our children to be able to think for themselves
  • we want them to be able to work successfully both independently and collaboratively
  • we want them to be able to communicate confidently, clearly and effectively (this could be orally, or by pen or technology – text message, IM, facebook or similar etc)
  • we want our children to know how to learn
  • we want our children to be critical thinkers and to be able to ask effective questions
  • we want them to know how to search for answers to their questions

There was probably more and if I’ve missed anything crucial my wife will add to this list I’m sure.

I guess, if I was going to put it in one sentence:

When our children leave school we want them to be prepared for their future, having the skills to survive and succeed, and knowing how to think and learn in order to overcome challenges that may come their way.
What do you think? If you have any views or opinions on this, it would be great to hear from you. Just leave a comment below.

Christchurch earthquake – a teaching resource

March 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Posted in Education | Leave a comment
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My colleagues and I have set up a WikiEducator page about the recent Christchurch earthquake (February 22, 2011). We are collaborating with scientists, teachers and students from around New Zealand and the world. It is only in it’s very beginning stages, however the plan is that this resource will help lead students towards achieving the New Zealand NCEA Achievement Standard 90955 Investigate and astronomical or Earth science event. There is of course no reason why this resource could not work towards other qualifications around the world.

A big aim of the resource is that it will answer some of the questions that people have about the earthquake. A common question for example is, “What is liquefaction?” Hopefully, also, a resource like this might help people to be prepared for another disaster of this kind (if you can ever be fully prepared).

If you have something you are able to add to this resource, please do so. It is exciting to think we can collaborate on a project like this. Like I said before, it’s only in it’s beginning stages. It needs to have some structure given to it, but the hope is to have something prepared as quickly as possible – within the next 2-3 weeks.

Looking forward to the collaboration and the opportunity to work with a variety of different people!

Here’s the link: http://wikieducator.org/Earthquake:_Christchurch_2011

 

Our thoughts continue to go out to those affected by this tragic event.

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