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Friday, January 28, 2011

11 Resources for Teaching & Learning Web Safety

Over the last three plus years I've reviewed a lot of resources related to web safety. Here are some of my favorite resources for teaching web safety.

Welcome to the Web is a series of lessons for teaching young students how to navigate the Internet. There are seven lessons in the series although the first lesson is really just an introduction to the site. The other lessons in the series teach kids the basic vocabulary of the web, online safety, and search techniques. The series concludes with a challenge exercise in which students test their new knowledge and skills. Every lesson in the series comes with an optional worksheet in PDF form.

LMK Life Online is a website created for the purpose of educating girls about online safety. LMK Life Online is sponsored by the Girl Scouts and Microsoft. On the site girls can learn through articles and videos about protecting themselves from online predators. Girls will also find lessons about cyberbullying and online privacy. After reading the articles and watching the videos, girls can test their knowledge through interactive quizzes.

The Google Family Safety Center introduces parents to and shows them how to use Google's safety tools including safe search, safe search lock, and YouTube's safety mode. Google has partnered with a number of child safety organizations to develop educational materials for dealing with topics like cyberbullying, strangers online, protecting personal information, and avoiding malware online. Finally, Google's Family Safety Center contains a collection of videos featuring Google employees sharing the strategies they use with their own kids for teaching online behavior and keeping their kids safe online.

Own Your Space is a free, sixteen chapter ebook designed to educate tweens and teens about protecting themselves and their stuff online. This ebook isn't a fluffy, general overview book. Each chapter goes into great detail explaining the technical threats that students' computers face online as well as the personal threats to data that students can face online. For example, in the first chapter students learn about different types of malware and the importance of installing security patches to prevent malware infections. The fourteenth chapter explains the differences between secured and unsecured wireless networks, the potential dangers of an unsecured network, and how to lock-down a network. Download the whole book or individual chapters here.

The Virginia Department of Education has produced an engaging and useful site for teaching students web safety lessons. Internet Safety With Professor Garfield currently offers an animated lesson on cyberbullying and an animated lesson about online safety. As you might guess from the site's title, the lessons feature Garfield. Both lessons use the same model in which students watch a cartoon, take an informal quiz, then try to apply their new knowledge to a few different scenarios.

PBS Kids offers the Webonauts Academy in which elementary school students can learn about safe online behaviors. When students have completed all of the Webonauts missions they will graduate from the Webonauts Academy. The educators tips page offers some practical suggestions for using Webonauts in the classroom or in a school library.

A Thin Line is a digital safety education resource produced by MTV in collaboration with other media partners. The purpose of the site is to educate teenagers and young adults about the possible repercussions of their digital activities. A Thin Line offers a series of fact sheets about topics like sexting, digital spying, and excessive text messaging and instant messaging. A Thin Line gives students advice on how to recognize those behaviors, the dangers of those behaviors, and how to protect your digital identity. Students can also take a short quiz to practice identifying risky digital behaviors.

Common Craft offers four good videos designed to educate viewers about safe online practices. 

Secure Passwords Explained by Common Craft.


Secure Websites in Plain English.


Phishing Scams in Plain English.


Protecting Reputations Online in Plain English.

Quicklyst - A Quick Way to Create Outlines

Quicklyst is a nice tool for taking notes and creating outlines. Quicklyst provides a simple outline template that you can use to take notes. There are two neat features of Quicklyst that really stand out. First, you can do basic web searches within the framework of taking notes. To do a search just type a question mark (?) before a word then press enter. Quicklyst will then fill-in that line with some basic information about that word. For example, when I typed ?egypt that line on my outline was filled with some basic information about Egypt. The other useful feature offered by Quicklyst is the option to search within your notes. If you've created a lot of outlines in your Quicklyst account you can use the search function to quickly locate your notes about a particular topic.

Quicklyst can be accessed from your computer, your Kindle, your iOS device, or your Android device. You can also download and print your notes from Quicklyst.

Applications for Education
Quicklyst could be a good resource for students who need help creating notes and outlines in a consistent format. The built-in search function could be handy when students are taking notes during a lecture and they hear a word they don't understand. By typing a question mark before that new word, students can quickly get a basic definition to fill in their outlines.

Remembering the Challenger 25 Years Later

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Challenger explosion CNN Student News has included a segment about how Christa McAuliffe is still inspiring students today.


CNN also has a three minute video containing footage of the day including the audio transcript of NASA's communications that day. The video ends with Ronald Reagan speaking to the nation.


Most of us over the age of 30 can remember where we were when we learned that NASA's Challenger shuttle had exploded. For our students, it's a lesson in 20th Century history.

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