So, why start a blog? Well, there are many great things about blogging that will be invaluable to the students in year 4. A blog is a wonderful way to build ICT skills in students and to communicate with parents and caregivers (aka you).
Learning to use the internet safely is an important skill in the age of technology that we live in. It is considered so important it has been integrated into the Australian Curriculum. As part of their learning in year four, students need to learn about applying social and ethical protocols and practices when using ICT.
What does that look like in our class?
Students will learn to recognise intellectual property by learning how and when to acknowledge sources of information in their work. As part of this, we will be looking at creative commons and using images from websites such as Flickr that allows others to use images freely and legally.
When creating for the blog students will demonstrate their understanding of this process. Students will have the opportunity to post their own writing and work. This process will involve working with students to create online profiles, communicating in the online space and demonstrating safe and ethical practices. It is therefore very important that we spend time looking at online safety.
Our class will look at the appropriate use of ICT to communicate with an unknown audience, specifically when on the blog. What behaviour is risky online? What choice can we make to keep ourselves safe online? Who can see what we are posting? How can we tell if something is untrustworthy? These are all important questions we will be asking throughout the process.
As you may have seen in class, we also have some class guidelines (see image adjacent) that we will use to ensure students use secure practices when online.
Throughout the students’ learning, we will be working on Budd:e, a cybersecurity education package designed by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner. This is a great program that you too can explore with your children (you might even learn a thing or two).
You may even like to have a look at the Parents Guide to Online Safety as it gives you great information about how you can support your child’s learning online. So as you can see we aren’t just doing the blog, we are busy bees when it comes to learning about and using ICT.
The Benefits of Blogging
Blogging gives all students an opportunity to practice social skills, such as communication, in a virtual world before transferring these learned skills to the real world. Blogging also supports students’ literacy skills. As mentioned above students will contribute their writing to the blog, and collaborate with their peers to edit and improve their work.
As part of their learning, students will look at other class blogs and analyse what students are posting online: pieces of work, reflections on class outings or activities, or just positive school experiences. This will assist their reading comprehension.
Blogging is a great way to develop the students’ technology skills. I want to encourage all students to contribute content to the blog using different media including text, image, and video. As part of the Australian Curriculum, students will use ICT to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively with others.
They will be using a range of devices, including iPads, computers, the SMART Board, and digital cameras. In the age of technology students’ ability to successfully use these devices will be a crucial part of their education.
Bridging the Gap
One of the aims of creating this blog is to bridge the gap between students’ home and school life. To keep learning transparent I want you, as parents and caregivers, to be part of your children’s learning experience and create a window into our classroom. By checking the classroom blog you can keep up with all the wonderful things we are doing and take part in the learning by providing your own comments.
Venturing Online – The risks attached
As we venture further into the online world it is almost inevitable that we will encounter cyberbullying. That’s where I need the support of parents and caregivers. Recognising cyber bullying and assisting in reporting such events is an important part of teaching the students how to behave online. If you see any behaviour resembling hurtful messages, images or videos, imitating, excluding, humiliating or gossiping about others online please contact me via email ASAP. As a school we do not accept any form of bullying and, in following the Cyber-safety: Keeping Children Safe in a Connected World policy, we will deal with any incidents of online bullying.
The risks faced online are not limited to the classroom. Increasingly the students in year 4 are venturing into the social networking world. This comes with its own risks. I ask you, as parents and caregivers, to monitor what sites and apps your children are using. This includes Facebook, Kik, Instagram and some popular games all of which require a user to be 13 years or older. For other websites and age limits click here. I strongly encourage all caregivers to read this article on age limits of social media as it highlights the risks associated.
All of this requires a level of communication with your children. I do heavily recommend starting this conversation while they are still only new to the online world. For information about the importance of talking to your children about internet safety, check out this Telegraph article or see 7 ways to manage technology in your home.
As a teacher, it’s my role to ensure I can demonstrate my understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching. This is part of the Australia National Professional Standards for Teachers. This set of standards ensures that teachers meet certain standards in our practice. These guidelines ensure that teachers are of a high quality and are accountable for their own professional development.
Stay tuned for all the wonderful creations and adventures of year 4!
From Miss Fisher
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