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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Five Good Resources for Teaching Digital Safety and Citizenship to Elementary School Students

Following yesterday's post on Seven Deadly Digital Sins I received a couple of requests for digital safety and citizenship resources appropriate for elementary school students. Here are some of my favorite resources for teaching digital safety and citizenship at the elementary school level.


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.

In an effort to teach children about potential dangers online and how to avoid them, the Council of Europe has offers a game called Through the Wild Web Woods. Through the Wild Web Woods is designed for students ages seven through ten to learn how to spot danger on the Internet and what to do when they do spot danger on the Internet. The game is available in twenty-four languages.

Professor Garfield is a free resource developed in part by the Virginia Department of Education. Professor Garfield teaches students how to be safe online, how to recognize and respond to cyberbullying, and how to decide if something is a fact or an opinion. These educational activities can be found in the free Professor Garfield apps; Online Safety, Fact or Opinion, Cyberbullying. All of the free Professor Garfield iPad apps use the same format. The format is a set of comic strips that students read to learn about the issues the app is focused on. At the end of the comic strips students play some simple games to practice recognizing good online behaviors.

AT&T's Safety Land is a nice game through which kids learn and practice recognizing danger on the Internet. The game is set in the city of "Safety Land." As students navigate from building to building in Safety Land they are confronted with a series of scenarios and questions to respond to. If they respond correctly to each scenario they will capture the cyber criminal and send him to the Safety Land jail. Students who send the cyber criminal to Safety Land jail receive a certificate that they can print out.

Digital Passport is an online program from Common Sense Media. The purpose of the Digital Passport program is to provide students in grades three through five with lessons and games for learning responsible digital behavior. Digital Passport uses videos and games to teach students about cyberbullying, privacy, safety and security, responsible cell phone use, and copyright. Students earn badges for successfully completing each phase of the Digital Passport program.

The Monty Hall Problem - A Math Lesson

The Monty Hall Problem is a Numberphile video in which Lisa Goldberg, an adjunct professor in the Department of Statistics at UC, Berkeley explains why over the long-run contestants on Let's Make a Deal should have always switched doors. Numberphile published a short version and a long version of this video. The long version explains the mathematics behind the strategy that Goldberg suggests. Both videos are embedded below.



Applications for Education
As I watched these videos I thought about a couple of ways to use them in a mathematics lesson.

I would present the scenario to students and ask them for their ideas about whether or not a contestant should switch doors. Then I would show the video as part of the explanation to the problem.

Another way to use these videos is in conjunction with a hands-on lesson in which students survey schoolmates during lunch or after school. Your students could create a simple three choice game, eliminate one choice, then ask if the player wants to stick or switch. The data that students gather through this activity could be used by them to determine what they think is the best strategy. Show the video explanation after the data is collected and the students have shared their data-based strategies.

What Makes Fluorescent Lights Buzz? - A Video Lesson

Earlier this year Minute Physics released a video explanation of how light bulbs work. I shared that video along with some other resources for teaching about electricity in this post. Brain Stuff recently released a video that offers a good explanation of why we hear a buzzing sound coming from fluorescent lights found in many schools and office buildings. The video is embedded below.


Applications for Education
Why Do Fluorescent Lights Make That Buzzing Noise? could be useful in helping connect a lesson on electricity to an experience that most of your students share, hearing that buzzing sound in your classroom. Have your students create a list of possible causes of the buzzing sound before they watch the video to see if their hypotheses are correct.

Newseum's Digital Classroom Offers Good Resources for U.S. History Teachers

Newseum Digital Classroom is Newseum's effort to bring some of the elements of the Newseum museum into your classroom. The Newseum Digital Classroom offers video lessons, primary source document collections, and three complete lesson modules for teachers. Two of the three lesson modules are useful at any time. Those modules are about the First Amendment, Civil Rights, and the the Women's Suffrage movement. The third module is about the role of media in elections, but it is based on the 2012 election season.

The lesson modules incorporate multimedia timelines, videos, and primary source documents. If the lesson modules don't quite match what your students need, you can can choose to simply browse the primary source document gallery and the video gallery.

Applications for Education
In addition to the videos and primary sources, the Newseum Digital Classroom's lesson modules contain dozens of stand-alone lesson plans that you can download. The lesson plans are divided into sections for middle school and high school teachers.

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