When it comes to teaching students about how to safely obtain information online, what makes a website secure, or the importance of managing privacy online I have not done an adequate job. Last year I did three inquiry research projects with my students. I gathered all of their research for the first two projects and then let them have more freedom with finding their own on the third. Thankfully I had a support teacher help me, or it would have been a nightmare! We did a quick lesson on what to use for keyword searches to find their information, allowing them to practise as we walked around the room. There is such an overwhelming amount of information to sift through and many students gave up, wanting us to provide the information for them. Some students discovered that not all information is given freely and were signing up for subscriptions so they could obtain it. Thankfully they didn’t go through with the whole subscription process, but that would have been a perfect learning opportunity for me to teach students how to protect their information!! As teachers we are so strapped for time to complete units with our class. I wish I had taken the time to address that situation properly. So this year I will do things differently. I will begin our research journey with some lessons on how we can be digitally literate.
Before even talking about research I will do a lesson in regards to privacy and security. I’d follow BC’s Digital Literacy Framework (n.d) that states, “A digitally literate person knows how to protect his/her privacy, respects the privacy of others, and employs strategies to maintain information and data security online”. The lesson, ‘Data Defenders: Understanding data collection online’, from MediaSmarts (n.d.) is a perfect activity for my students to engage in. It has students play an online game that brings to light how easy it is for games to gather your personal information. There is a pen to paper activity to do after, but with my age group I would opt to do the activities together as a class so we could have a discussion about each of the privacy tools: mighty masks, alter ego, hide me, total control, private browsing.
- Develop an understanding of:
- the commercial objectives underlying the websites, services and applications they use
- the importance of managing their privacy online
- their rights as citizens and as children online in terms of privacy and data collection
- Identify the methods and purposes for data collection on most of the websites and applications they use
- Learn a variety of tools and techniques to help them manage their privacy online
MediaSmarts. (n.d.). Data Defenders: Understanding the data collection online Retrieved from https://mediasmarts.ca/teacher-resources/data-defenders-understanding-data-collection-online
Province of British Columbia. (n.d.). BC’s digital literacy framework. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/kindergarten-to-grade-12/teach/teaching-tools/digital-literacy-framework.pdf