Birmingham eSafety strategy launch

November 17, 2009

Earlier this week I was made aware of the fact that Simon Whitehouse from Digital Birmingham had used some of my work with 4OQ on web tools at the launch of the new Birmingham eSafety Strategy.

You can read his write up of the event here, and his presentation is below.

It sounds like our work provoked much discussion, with some people asserting that is raised “concerns about using social media tools in practice and how it might lead to inappropriate behaviour and a blurring of the relationship between (in this case) youth workers and young people.”. I would have been interested to hear these points of view, and the chance to respond, especially as I feel a lot of the thought that has gone into my work is not really visible from looking at the end products.
It was really encouraging to see my work being defended by Andy Pyper, the lead on e-Safety within Link2ICT, and Tony Howell, the Director of Childrens Services for Birmingham. It is nice to see figures of the establishment in our city looking at what we are doing, and being realistic about weighing up the benefits with the dangers rather than clamping down on it, as large establishments can sometimes do in matters of eSafety.
As an NQT it is also encouraging to see what I am doing recognised and debated at this level, and has encouraged me that despite this year being challenging it is well worth pushing on with what I am trying to achieve.
The first part is about Home Access programmes (which looks very interesting), our work begins on slide 26.

Where’s Klaus?

September 24, 2009

On Tuesday I went to a conference for NQTs newly appointed to Birmingham LEA. Once of the sessions focused on using new technologies in a school context, and the presenter showed us this video aimed at encouraging parents to become aware of esafety.

I am a bit conflicted about this film. On the one hand I really don’t believe in scare tactics with regards to esafety, and I think trying to scare people who do not fully understand the benefits of new technologies is likely only to lead to over the top blocking and rejection of these technologies. For me, blocking is not the final answer to this, as I can only see it leading to ignorance up until the point young people are finally let loose on all the unsavory content the web has to offer. Instead I strongly feel we need to educate people to be responsible internet users. Some of them will access this content later in life, but the least we can do is educate them so that this happens out of choice, not out of ignorance.

On the other hand, people need to know just how horrific some of the content on the internet is, and at least through films like this they can do so without actually stumbling across it by accident. For this use I thought this film was brilliantly executed, although perhaps needs to be tempered with some discussion of the likelihood of some of these scenarios happening, and the easy steps that could be taken to avoid them.

It’s such a tricky thing esafety; you want people to understand and appreciate the dangers without turning them off to the hugely beneficial aspects of the technology that makes those dangers possible. I guess all we can do as teachers is try to reach the right balance.