With October and Connected Educator Month just around the corner and more and more educators taking the leap to utilize online resources, it is important to note that October is also National Cyber Security Awareness Month. While I am all for embracing the power of digital tools for all of the learners in our school communities, I also have concerns surrounding whether or not we are spending enough time supporting our staff and students with a review of some basic online safety lessons. Therefore, while you are considering how you and those in your school community can become more “connected” in October, you also need to be conscious of ensuring that this higher level of connectivity comes with a higher level of awareness surrounding online safety.
One great way to promote responsible connectedness is by directing staff to online resources that can help them understand some of the more common threats that are out there impacting internet users. The goal is not to create hysteria in regards to the worst-case scenarios of online activities. However, I am concerned that too many people just click away at links and jump into online communities and conversations without a moment of reflection. It is much better to do some work up front on this than deal with the fallout after an individual or a group makes some uniformed decisions.
A great place to find resources to help inform stakeholders is The Stop, Think, Connect campaign sponsored by the National CyberSecurty Alliance and the United States Department of Homeland Security. StafeSafeOnline.org also has a wealth of resources to support schools and school leaders who want to play an active role in National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). The rapid growth of technological gadgets has grown exponentially faster than the knowledge of technological gadgets by those who use them. With this in mind, I encourage all school communities to host an event in October to educate community members about some basic online safety guidelines. School leaders need to have an idea of where the gaps of knowledge are in regards to digital safety awareness in their school communities.
The opinions expressed in Reinventing K-12 Learning are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.