Friday, June 19, 2009

Cyberbullying Curriculum From Seattle Public Schools

The Seattle Public Schools has spent the last two years or so developing a middle school curriculum. Mike Donlin, one of the authors of the curriculum, recently contacted us to let us know about the free curriculum that is posted online. Here is what he had to say:

I want to pass along the link to the cyberbullying curriculum which we here in Seattle are rolling out to help ensure online safety for all our students.

The curriculum you find here is complete and useable. However, it is not
done. We continue to add more wonderful student writing activities and home-school-classroom communications as we move along. We are also working on a set of extended "culminating activities" for teachers and students.. As they are added, we will seamlessly change out the pages. We are also hoping to get some good feedback as people use the evaluation/feedback forms which are included on the web site with the materials. Even as we say that, we also know that this curriculum will never be really done. Things change too much and too fast for that. The materials were designed to be incorporated into ongoing bullying prevention programs. However, the individual Lessons were created to be flexible enough shorter classroom meeting-type settings or to be used in longer classrooms periods. If they are used in longer classroom settings, they would also fit nicely into existing Technology, Health and Language Arts units. They can also be used as stand-alones within an Exploratory-type setting.

So check these resources out this summer if you are looking to integrate some cyber-safety lessons in your middle school classroom next year!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Three BPS Students Named Winners of Mass State Internet Safety Poster Contest

Three students from two different Boston Public Schools have been named as winners in the Commonwealth's 2009 Kids Safe Online Cyber Security Awareness poster contest. The statewide contest challenged students to create hand drawn posters depicting internet safety strategies such as being careful not to download viruses, not giving out personal information on the internet, not cyberbullying, and not meeting anyone “offline” that you’ve only met online. Ingrid from the John Eliot School and Tim and Daniel from the Joyce Kilmer School had their posters chosen as finalists out of over 200 poster submissions from schools all over the state. Daniel's poster was named one of the top three finalists in the state and therefore will be submitted in a national competition. All thirteen winning entries will be formally recognized in a ceremony as part of National Cyber Security Month in October. You can view all thirteen posters on the website. The three winning entries from Boston are posted below.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Harmful Effects of Texting and the CyberSafety Campaign is on Facebook

Usually when we teach about internet safety, we don't talk so much about physical injury when using technology, but a recent New York Times article reported that some physicians are worried about repetitive stress injuries in teenagers that send a lot of text messages. Teenagers send and receive an average of 80 text messages per day according to the Nielsen Company. The article also explores how obsessive texting may lead to sleep deprivation, anxiety and distraction in school. There is even a psychologist from MIT who has studied texting among Boston area teenagers for the last three years. She found that texting may even cause a shift in how adolescents are developing. It is definitely a very interesting article, one worth reading. I guess the lesson would be to text in moderation!

I caught the CBS Sunday Morning show this weekend and they aired a story about sexting and the ongoing debate on how severely teens should be punished for sending nude or provocative photos via their cell phone or computer. The video of the story isn't up on the website, but the print story is there. This might be a helpful resource for teachers of older students to use if they want to integrate internet safety with a lesson on debating or persuasive writing. What should the punishment be for underage students who willingly send inappropriate pictures of themselves or others online?

The BPS Cybersafety Campaign is on Facebook!

Eric Esteves of Tech Boston created a page of Facebook for the BPS Cybersafety campaign. Still in its infancy, the page contains links, information, pictures and video of internet safety efforts in Boston. Search for it on Facebook and become a fan! Facebook is still blocked by the BPS network, so don't become a fan while you are on the school's network, become a fan outside of school and join the campaign!