It is rare that I publish something non-‘free’ or open source on this blog, but internet safety is an issue that every classroom teacher must deal with. With all the internet tools out there, great for educational reasons but alarming for other reasons, the US government will require that all students in districts receiving eRate funds receive internet safety training. eRate is the programs that provides basic connectivity and some other necessities to schools and libraries. You know the Universal Service Fee on your monthly phone bill? This is where it goes. For years the FCC who manages eRate, required participating schools to provide some way of blocking student access from pornography. Well, the easiest was to do that, of course, was filtering software/hardware. Now, though, they see that even with blocking pornography, students still access this at home and access social networking sites as well. Beginning in 2010-2011, they will require schools to providing instruction on using the internet safely, something we asked for all along.
One really good resource in doing this is NetSmartz (netsmartz.org). The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Boys & Girls Clubs of America are the two groups behind NetSmartz. On the site, you will find a large collection of videos, lessons, activities, and more all geared to students, parents, teachers, and law enforcement. I especially like how they separate teens from kids. This really would help teachers communicate with teens, as we know, they are much different from elementary school aged children. And while they offer all their materials under a Copyright license, as you can see below, it sure sounds like a non-commercial attribution Creative Commons license:
etSmartz materials are to be used unaltered and in their entirety for educational, noncommercial purposes. Under no circumstances are NetSmartz materials to be used for fundraising purposes.
If you are not yet working with your students on Internet Safety, now is the time. We all must take this responsibility, or else allow the children to learn ‘on the streets.’ While no one tool is perfect, NetSmartz resources definitely provide a great starting place for your classroom or district.