Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Survey: Educators lack training to teach online safety -

I have been reading literature discussing ways to instill within kids/teens the tools they need to be safe when online. Consider the following findings from a recent survey on teaching online safety in the classroom: "79% of teachers said parents should be primarily responsible for teaching their children about cybersecurity, compared with 60% of administrators and 45% of tech coordinators." "55% of teachers "strongly agree" that online safety should be covered in the curriculum, compared with 82% of administrators and 85% of technology coordinators."
What do we learn from the teacher perspectives? On the surface it seems right that about 8 out of 10 teachers feel it is primarily a parents responsibility to teach online safety- A math or history teacher would wonder "where do I carve out time in the curriculum to teach online safety/digital citizenship?"
Yet at the same time 5.5 out of 10 teachers think that online safety should be covered in the curriculum (perhaps not within their own subject areas...)
So what is the right approach towards teaching online safety? Should curriculum be redesigned in a way that weaves online safety into its fabric? According to the survey findings for every 10 teachers only 2 would embrace this change. Should there be a separate class on online safety/digital citizenship as some public and private schools are currently doing? That approach can create, among other challenges, budgetary and time constraints.
Can their be a happy medium? Does a scenario where administrators factor in enough budgeted professional development time allowing technology coordinators to effectively educate teachers to the point where teachers can easily weave online safety into their curriculum (deep breath) sound plausible?   What do you think? What is realistic to you? Is it a 'cop out' to scrap everything and say the onus should fall primarily on the parents shoulders- or do parents need to step it up in the digital age?

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