Students study i-SafePublished 9:54pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Thanks to a new countywide program called i-Safe, students will spend October becoming Internet savvy.
“Under the child protection act, there’s language in the act that says that we must provide education on three topics (appropriate online behavior; cyber bullying awareness and response; and interactions with other individuals on social networking websites) to any student that’s going to be using the network within the schools,” said career technology education director Stacey Gerard.
Cyber bullying and the issues covered in the program are not prevalent in Beaufort County. But, Gerard said the district had a responsibility to include the lessons in the curriculum for several reasons.
“Rather than be reactive (to future problems), we’d rather be proactive and help our students,” she said.
The program is also tied to the district’s E rate funding, which discounts the software used on school computers. The funding requirement prompted the district to research programs and eventually adopt i-Safe.
The organization’s website (www.isafe.org) provides packaged lesson plans that focus on the three topics.
All of the schools and all of the grades that have access to the Internet will be exposed to the i-Safe program.
“The lesson plans are grade-specific and very interactive,” Gerard said. “And they include webcasts and audio files.”
The programs stay current with regular updates and relatable examples.
Teachers have the option of teaching the course in one day or spreading the lessons throughout the month.
“My goal is … to provide our students with skills and resources to treat each other respectfully on the Internet,” Gerard said. “I think it’s wonderful. And I think it’s important that we’re teaching our students how to protect themselves while they are online.”