Nowadays, there are many sources educators can consult to learn about Internet safety, how we are protecting our students while surfing the net, or how we ensure their online safety. I then realized that this "issue" was discussed and taught effectively more than thirteen years ago, when I first started teaching in the United States. Today, more than ever, I have to admit that my experience as a High School teacher in the U.S gave me a vast knowledge of the subject, trained me many years before this topic was arisen in some other parts of the world, mainly in my home country, Argentina.
Working in a Young Learner Centre and being a techie teacher (we have IWBs and a computer room) means that online safety for my learners is very important. I tell my learners about my acronym N.A.I.L., which stands for
While browsing a site about online safety, I found this idea for a short play to do with students: http://kidsmart.org.uk/teachers/KS2/drama.aspx. The staging of a play seemed a very interesting activity to try as part of language lessons: there is the use of authentic language, creativity, smart use of technology. The play was perfect for my 12 year-olds. I wrote to the authors, got the full script, three lesson plans and a lot of other help.
Using the Internet for teaching young learners can be very rewarding, and I do it a lot.
However, there is an issue of keeping young students safe online, which the teacher must address before planning the activities. These are the steps that I have thought so far to take:
Last year, I read a very sad story of a school girl who committed suicide because of cyber bullying. As soon as I read the news, I posted it to my facebook wall so that more parents could learn about this and take precautions for their children. I’ve read a couple of posts on the use of facebook and other social networks to teach English. But, I’ve great fears about that.
Dear all, As far as I know, my school does not have a specific policy regarding cyber bullying. Does yours? At my school students are not allowed to carry cellphones or any other electronical gadgets. Any cellphone/gameboy/ipad/camera (etc) spotted by a teacher is confiscated and the student disciplined. Students are also not allowed unsupervised access to the internet from school. A teacher is always present in the computer labs with the students. Therefore, cyberbullying is considered "not likely to happen" during school hours.