Informing students about online safety, privacy and citizenship in a fun and engaging way
In today’s world, the Internet has become a regular part of our youth’s life. Forward-thinking teachers can no longer ignore the incredible potential of utilizing Web 2.0 tools and social media in an educational context. Embracing the possibilities of online interaction is one of the steps towards raising technologically savvy adults, but for this to happen responsibly, it is imperative that we consider the issue of online safety and privacy. Teaching young children to behave responsibly online can be a difficult task due to the serious and often dry nature of the subject matter. Literature in the field demonstrates the importance of taking a different approach when teaching young ones how to become better digital citizens. This project addresses this issue as it offers a response to the critical question, ‘How can intermediate teachers effectively reach their students and inform them about online safety, privacy and citizenship in a fun and engaging way?’ The ensuing eWarrior workshop was developed as a blended learning opportunity composed of a child-friendly website populated by lighthearted characters and an accompanying workbook. Through a series of varied and interactive hands-on tasks, the eWarrior crew guides students in a quest towards better digital citizenship so that they too may become eWarriors. Activities align with the BC Ministry of Education’s Grades 3 to 6 Curriculum as well as with the Core Competencies for those grades. Several printable materials are available as well as a walkthrough guide for teachers. Initial feedback was very positive, with respondents asserting they believed the website and activities had met the goals of the project, and many teachers hoping to try the workshop with their classes in the coming year.