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Posts Tagged ‘Cybersafety’

It’s hard to believe, but text messaging reached a milestone last week!

25 years ago – December 3rd 1992 to be exact – the first text message was sent by Engineer Neil Papworth when he wrote “Merry Christmas” on a computer and sent it to Richard Jarvis, the then director of Vodaphone.  It was an event which changed technology forever and along with it, set in motion a colossal shift in social norms.

While it’s debatable whether SMS today is being overtaken by social media platforms, the impact of texting on our lives has been profound.   Twenty five years is a very long time!  A generation of young people know no other way to communicate, a fact which raises a whole range of issues including whether or not the art of interacting face to face is being lost.  Have a listen to this discussion to gain a greater understanding:

I’ve been in teaching long enough to remember the days when fears for students’ ability to spell beyond texting shorthand was a serious concern.

Educational concerns however are constantly evolving.  As reflected in a presentation by New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman at a conference earlier this year and repeated regularly since, he advocates the need to teach all children how to talk to each other on the internet and how to understand fact from fiction:

Believing in the importance of starting to educate children from a young age, the DQ Institute has developed a 15 hour free online curriculum aiming to teach digital citizenship covering a range of key skills:

Underlining the importance of school students learning digital civics, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) will, from next year, assess ‘global competencies’:

From next year PISA will test not only maths, science and reading skills, but “global competencies”, which its education head, Andreas Schleicher, described as young people’s attitudes to global issues and different cultures, analytical and critical skills and abilities to interact with others. The first results will report in 2019.  (“Don’t teach your kids coding, teach them how to live online” The Sydney Morning Herald, March 25 2017)

How appropriate it would be to see teacher librarians take the lead to ensure the introduction of digital civics lessons during library sessions!

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Hooked on Pokemon?

With more than 30 million players worldwide traveling around catching cartoon characters using phone GPS and cameras, it certainly seems that phenomenal records have been hit.Pokemon

I have to admit though, I did a double take yesterday afternoon when driving down Dandenong Road, a major arterial road here in Melbourne,  to see a road sign hung up over the busy road warning drivers to not play Pokemon while driving!

Photographed by someone at night and uploaded onto the Internet, this is the wording of more than 40 signs that popped up mid-way through last week on our roads.

News reports tell the story!

Hard on the heels of news reports are all kinds of warnings, such as this one from the

I’ve also spotted stranger danger videos posted on Facebook warning of the dangers of following others in the trail of playing Pokemon.

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Ever had that feeling that you’re being watched or that someone is listening into your conversations?

The reality is that you are being watched or at least your online behaviour is being monitored and recorded!  Almost everything we do online is being tracked whether we are aware of it or not.  And I must admit it’s kind of spooky!

Just the other day, I received an email – yes on Gmail – from a friend who sent me to a link about a cool travel itinerary.  Fiddling on my iPhone while waiting to meet a friend at a cafe, I opened the link but had no time to read further.  Forgetting about this incident, much later that day, I opened Facebook on my laptop.  For an instant I was blown away to see Facebook suggesting I ‘like’ the very company for which my friend had emailed me a link – a company I had never previously heard of!

How these connections are established remain a mystery to most of us.  It’s impossible to not think though that this is a total breach of privacy.  Then again … well … how many of us have read the fine print of those ‘agreement policies’ that pop up during the installation process.   How many of us check all the security settings, let alone fully understand them.

So when I read about the controversy sparked by Samsung later in the week, I must admit I wasn’t all that surprised:

Samsung has caused controversy with the revelation its voice-recognition system enables internet TVs to collect sounds and send them to a third party, including any sensitive information you might happen to talk about in front of the box.”  (The Age: Tim Biggs, February 10, 2015)

Work colleagues were mortified at the thought that what they said in their lounge rooms in front of the TV could be ‘listened to’.  What most of us don’t realize though is that many of the devices we use on a daily basis increasingly require us to submit data to enable the device to work.  Listing some of these frightening realities, Biggs outlined how smartphones, video game consoles, coffee machines and air-conditioners, to name but a few of the devices we have around us in our homes and in our daily lives, were regularly and constantly collecting data about us, our habits and our preferences.  Stop for a moment and have a read – it’s quite enlightening!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard friends steadfastly refusing to create Gmail or Google accounts or shy away from Facebook and other ‘out to get you’ social media platforms or refuse to enter any form of identifying details that could lead to being tracked or monitored.

Listening to the impassioned and powerful voice of Andrew Keen in a Big Think video: Google Should Charge for Its Services left me with much food for thought.

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The more you talk about it, the more likely it is to happen.

In the lead up to Safer Internet Day tomorrow – February 8th – one can only hope that increased ‘talk’ about cybersafety does have an impact.

About a week ago, I was lucky enough to attend a session showcasing ICT at our school.   As a conclusion to the session, one of the presenters screened Flash Mob Gone Wrong by Tom Scott.  Running for around five minutes, it has a very powerful message highlighting the speed with which information can be disseminated on the web.   It is also holds a short, sharp, powerful message of the dangers that can occur when personal information is posted online.   Of course, an underlying concern is how easily personal identities can be found, corroborated and breached without the individual even being aware. 

My thanks go to Jon for sharing this video with us.

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Just catching up on seeing some of the videos that were listed this week.  Some of them are outstanding such as a presentation by Jenny Luca of Toorak College and the video created by students and uploaded to You Tube.  Kerry O’Brien’s focus on bullying on the 7.30 Report which highlights programs set in place by Jenny Luca at her school as well as the implementation of the Allanah & Madeline Foundation Cybersafety Pilot Program also makes for interesting viewing.

While I have, from time to time, considered the dangers of cyberbullying, I’ve not really considered the need to run dedicated sessions such as those mentioned in this week’s readings.   Certainly the many excellent articles, programs and videos listed this week have made me re-evaluate.

In between reading about cybersafety, it has been fun to explore Google Docs a little more.  There is certainly much to be learned in this area.   One of my VicPLN buddies out there pointed out the many Google tools available…. the mind boggles!    If you haven’t seen it yet – just select more from the menu just above Google to see the amazing array of tools!

Google

Over the last few days, I’ve spent some time exploring Google Wave.   The opportunity to meet up with other PLNers in a group session should be a fun and interesting session in which we can share and learn.

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The wide range of concerns related to cybersafety is quite overwhelming.

The Allanah & Madeline Foundation: Cybersafety and Wellbeing Initiative is a great stepping stone to lots of information.  It will be interesting to read about the progress of the pilot program that is about to be launched in a variety of Government, Catholic and Independent schools later this year.

There acma: cyber(smart:) site (acma stands for Australian Communication and Media Authority) is another stepping stone to a vast range of valualbe resources.   The Libraries page includes a range of downloadable resources and videos for use by Library Staff.  In particular the The Cybersmart Guide for Library Staff  is packed with much valuable information.   And if this isn’t enough information, go check out all the resources available at the Schools GATEWAY where a range of facts, online pages and videos are available.  This resource looks excellent!

Cybersmart K-12 Curriculum has a well thought out program that can be utilized across the curriculum.  The acronym smart summarizes the range of aspects incorported into this site.

SMART

Reading Tania Sheko’s post Whose job is it to teach responsible online behaviour is a great reflection of the complexity of cybersafety education.  Her comments about the difficulty of tackling this issue with secondary aged students and the confusing issues of whose responsibility it is to purse education with this cohort is interesting.   Apart from that I am very inspired by the fact that Tania is a graduate from the 2008 Web 2.0 program run by SLAV!

Apart from learning much over the last few hours spent exploring these sites, I am pleased that I’ve utlized this blog to take notes and bookmark links.  I know that in a few weeks or months it will be great to be able to revisit some of these sites.

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