If we are to make useful decisions about supporting our students as they use technology, it is important to have a baseline from which to make our decisions. A recent survey from Netsafe might be a useful starting point in this regard.
How confident are teachers in managing cybersafety?
This question was posed by Netsafe, an organization that understands well the challenges that schools need to overcome in order to allow students to use technology safely. The survey [http://www.netsafe.org.nz/Doc_Library/teacher-confidence-summary.pdf] was grounded on the Netsafe model of cybersafety, and key findings included:
- Teachers do not feel confident supporting students with cybersafety, with secondary and intermediate teachers less confident than those teaching at primary level. A knowledge of cybersafety issues was needed by teachers.
- In terms of managing issues, generally students were not involved in discussions about appropriate use of ICT, filtering was seen as only one element of managing cybersafety, and
- That issues extend beyond the school gate, but that educators were seen as vital in guiding students.
The survey concluded that
“significant proportions of New Zealand educators are not confident about their cybersafety ability and knowledge. This demonstrates the need to increase the confidence and ability of NZ educators. For a variety of reasons, the secondary sector may potentially require the most assistance in these domains. However, it is important to note that the primary and intermediate sectors still demonstrate significant cybersafety needs in some areas.”
What are the implications for schools?
The ways in which schools mediate learning through ICTs, and manage the challenges that occur as part of that, is a discussion that needs to occur throughout the school, from BoT, to leadership, community whānau, teaching staff and students. Listening to individuals’ concerns about working online, gathering information on students’ experiences, and comparing these with the aspirations reflected in the New Zealand Curriculum’s vision for our students is a complex strategic planning process.
It’s an issue that won’t be going away anytime soon. How does this survey resonate with your own experiences?