HTML Heroes is the latest primary school Internet Safety resource for third and fourth class. The publication of this resource by the Webwise/PDST – TIE (PDST – Technology in Education) team is timely in the light of the recent publication of CyberSafe Ireland’s survey of 8-10 year old’s use of technology, which found that over three quarters of eight year olds owned a smart device. Our own experience in school has been that a few years ago, problems related to internet and social media emerged in sixth class. However today, this has changed with the proliferation of internet enabled devices available to pupils in school that problems are now being encountered in fourth class and lower.
This new programme aims to support primary school teachers who wish to introduce the very important topic of internet safety into the SPHE (Social Personal Health Education) Curriculum of the Primary School. The resource consists of two sections, each of which has four lessons.
The first section, Lessons 1 – 4, deals with issues such as the skills needed for safe browsing, how to determine if the online content being viewed is reliable and managing screentime. Each of the lessons has between two and ten activities. Each of the lessons uses the active learning methodologies of the SPHE curriculum. An important feature of the programme are activity sheets to bring home to bring the learning taking place in the classroom home. The final lesson incorporates a pupil assessment of the content studied and a pupil certificate for those who have passed the assessment.
The second section, Lessons 5 – 8, deals with skills essential for communicating safely online. Issues and topics dealt with include sharing personal information online, gaming online and how to treat others online with respect. Lesson 8 features an assessment and a pupil certificate if the assessment has been passed.
There is a comprehensive teacher info section included for each of the lessons. Each lesson has a variety of lesson activities – paper based activities and digital interactive activities. The minimum technology required by the teacher is access to a computer, screen, projector or interactive panel in the classroom. If a set of devices are available to individual pupils or pairs these can also be used in the lessons or the option of paper based activities is also available making use of this resource very flexible.