Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Netsafe embraces social networking: Learn, Guide, Protect

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A couple of weeks ago (August 26th 2010) I was lucky to be invited to a preview of NetSafe’s new cyber safety school initiative: Learn, Guide, Protect. I must admit to a certain frisson of negativity as I feared another 'lock it down, lock 'em up' solution. Instead, I was bowled over by the way that Netsafe has gone out and listened to what people would like, which has resulted in a superb conceptually shaped site where community members create the content, comments, feedback etc - and self-moderate. The idea is that educators develop "an online repository of material schools can use and adapt to promote a student-centred approach to digital citizenship and cyber safety" (Nancy Groh).

The site is still very much in its beta version (in the words of Sean Lyons, one of the key developers, beta = some things don't work yet), but those that do work, work well. The resources members contribute are entitled 'bits' (and yes, there was general chuckling around this) for several reasons, not least because a posted 'bit' could be made up of several other resources, and have ideas for using the resources in a range of contexts. Community members can link to and embed resources, add tags (to their own and other members' bits), edit, flag, and also do more exciting things such as vote for, comment on and 'remix' other bits (which enables members to add to the original posting).

To give some background to the underpinnings of the initiative it's worth looking at the Learn, Guide, Protect (LGP) framework that gives the community space its name. The framework is designed "to help schools develop a culture of responsible, safe use of digital technologies" (Nancy Groh).
Learn, Guide, Protect concept model

"The Learn Guide Protect framework has three components:
  • Learn: Bits designed for students to help them develop positive, ethical behaviours in cyberspace and build the skills and attributes of a good digital citizen,
  • Guide: Bits to help educators integrate the concepts of digital citizenship across into the curriculum all learning areas and into school culture,
  • Protect: Bits to guide senior school personnel in developing local policies and strategies on effective, safe use of technologies.
To get a more in depth insight into the Learn, Guide, Protect initiative, please click HERE.

Netsafe community (beta) space
Netsafe community space

 Netsafe would be delighted if you visited and contributed to the Learn, Guide, Protect site. They will continue to work on the site’s functionality, in particular for in preparation for the launch in October at Ulearn in Christchurch. Please feel free to also offer Netsafe feedback over the next few weeks, as it is vital.
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