Barrow Hills School in Surrey has recently been involved in trialing a pioneering game which aims to improve the awareness of the importance of e-safety, and is the first prep school in the UK to move towards a ‘digital school bag’ which includes a state of the art tablet that helps to establish a range of digital learning techniques.
The school already has a ‘digital literacy’ lesson that teaches children about how to use the internet safely and the appropriate use of social media channels, but pupils from year seven were invited recently to try out a game developed by UCL Institute of Education student, Veronica Cucuiat, as part of her dissertation into increasing children’s online safety and security.
The creation of an interactive detective game as a key element of Veronica’s dissertation sees children having to use their wits to identify true facts within various scenarios. There are a wide range of scenarios within the game which focus on areas such as, ‘what can go wrong if you give out your personal details online’, and ‘what can go wrong if you leave yourself prone to having your account hacked into’, all the way through to more social, current and widely discussed situations such as, ‘what can go wrong if you post a photograph of yourself online’.
The game intends to provide the players with experience of the fundamental importance of e-safety and the trial has produced much positive feedback from the children involved, with those who participated quickly grasping the game and helping Veronica to note that their levels of awareness surrounding e-safety are prevalent and are ever-increasing.
Headmaster, Matthew Unsworth said that at Barrow Hills they want to instill a strong awareness of the importance of e-safety which is at the heart of everything they teach their children in the digital classroom. The school also wants to do all they can to enhance the understanding of the need to adopt appropriate safety protocols.
Under new Government plans to better protect pupils from exploitation and radicalisation, every school will be required to use internet filters and teach children about online safety. Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has published a consultation which looks at how to keep pupils safe when they use the internet in schools and colleges. Parents have also been offered a handbook which details ways in which they could bring up the topics of cyberbullying and other online dangers with their children. For more information follow this link: http://schoolsimprovement.net/every-school-forced-to-use-internet-filters-and-teach-online-safety-under-government-plans.