Thursday, May 5, 2011

Learning about Internet Safety

Back from Spring break, ready and full of energy for the last stretch of the school year. Five or six more weeks to go until the end of the year!

The focus during this last school period for third, fourth, and fifth grade tech classes will be Internet Safety. Students undoubtedly need to master the skills and knowledge on the subject since they surf more and more often the Internet to find information.

Fifth grade classes will dive deeper into the subject. These groups had already started with the unit before the break, so they will now center their attention on website evaluation. The lesson includes an amazing activity created by Kathy Schrock, that comes along with very helpful resources. The main objective is to encourage students to develop valuable critical thinking skills that will lead them to identify reliable websites and accurate information.  Hopefully students will end up questioning themselves about the sites they normally choose and will figure out if those sites are the best ones to use.

During this activity, fifth graders read together a poster that contains the 5 Ws of Website Evaluation, also created by Kathy Schrock, and then in groups of 2, answer her website evaluation activity sheet. For the task to be effective,  a few words such as "bias", "cache", and "citations" have to be clarified before starting with the assignment so that students will have an entire understanding of the questions being posed.  In fact, going over each question as a class before the activity starts really helps students work better.

Fourth graders are also learning about Internet Safety during tech class.  In groups of 2, they choose a few online games to play from the following list:

Safety Land
Online Safety Quiz
Phineas and Ferb
Dongle's Guide to Be Smart
The First Adventure of the Three CyberPigs
Surf Swell Island
Internet Safety Hangman
Internet Safety Game

Once they have connected to their prior knowledge and have gained ideas playing the games, students use Keynote to create a multiple-choice trivia game for third graders to answer. A question along with a set of answers is entered on each slide, and all answers are converted into text hyperlinks, which act just like buttons. This feature allows the user to advance to the next question when the right answer is clicked or get a "wrong" message and be forced to try again when the wrong one is chosen. Once the slides are all created and linked, the final document is exported as a quicktime movie and selecting the option: Hyperlinks Only.

The Internet safety trivia games are currently being built. Soon they will be completed and posted in the technology class' Schoolworld site where third grade students will be able to test themselves on their Internet Safety knowledge. So far, fourth graders have been enjoying the learning activity as they take a teacher role and try to reach an authentic audience.

If you have taught a similar lesson on Internet Safety and would like to share your experience, please add a comment.  I would like to read about your lessons!