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Pre 2901
Child Safety OnlineMr. Martin Debattista

133358920480Joanna Borg (445596M)
B.Ed Primary (HONS) 3rd year2015-2019
1000000Joanna Borg (445596M)
B.Ed Primary (HONS) 3rd year2015-2019

An interview with an educator about digital literacy and online safety in class and at home.
This interview has been done with a teacher who teaches a year 4 class in San Gwann primary school. Consent to conduct the interview was given by phone from the Assistant head and the teacher herself.
Interview transcript:
What do you understand by the term digital literacy?
I understand that digital literacy means the use of technological devices to deliver literacy lessons. All lessons not just literacy.
Does the fact that students are digitally literate help or hinder them in their education? It helps them a lot, their thinking processes are very fast when using technology and they can do so much more things nowadays then when we were young. They can look for information about any topic so quickly.
What is your opinion on the rise of digital literacy in education? I believe that we are succeeding well and digital media is being used very effectively in the classrooms.
What led you to incorporate technology into your classroom? I think that teaching and learning by technology is more fun especially for the children. It helps low ability or low achieving students more.
How do you ensure technology in the classroom is used for the purpose of education and not just for entertainment? The apps used in class are all educational so the tablet will surely not be used just for entertainment, even though they enjoy themselves while using the tablet to do classwork, but I don’t think that can be classified as entertainment.
What kind of technologies do you and your students have access to at your school? In class, we have the All in one which I use for the interactive whiteboard and the children have their tablets.

What kind of feedback have you received from students and parents about the use of technology in class? Students love it and parents encourage its use however we haven’t received much feedback from parents in general.

Do you have any training related to technology? Have you done any professional development related to digital literacies or technology? Yes, I had an in-service course which was for 3 days at the beginning of the year in September of last year but it depends according to the year group you’re going to learn. I had professional development regarding I-learn and Frontel
What kinds of skills do you think digital literacy helps with? (ex. Problem solving skills etc.) It definitely motivates children and that is a priority. You can do a lesson without them knowing that it is a formal lesson, a lesson without their knowledge. I also use it a lot at the end of topics or to do revision and I do it through games so they won’t know that it is revision but they will still be learning.

Did students have any lessons about online safety? Do you think that children are aware of how to be safe online?
Yes, online safety lessons happen once a year. I’m not sure if the students had one this year or if it was last year but they usually do have one sometime during the year. I think that most of them know how to be safe online.

Are parents aware of online safety measures they can use with their children? It really depends on the parents in this case.

How are students practicing online safety while in class? In class, online safety is not a problem. The tablets are locked in class to access educational applications only and they have no access to search engines so there will be no roaming as it is not allowed.
What kind of access to technology do your students have outside of school? They all have computers and tablets other than the ones given by the school. Some of them also have mobiles I think.
Do you think that children follow online regulations regarding age restrictions? No. Some of the students in class have Facebook.

Do you think that students have rules about online safety when they are at home?Depends on the family, some parents cannot care less and leave the children doing what they want on the internet but other might have strict rules about times and websites children can go on.

How do you think that digital media is used mainly while the children are at home? They use the internet to play games mostly and also chat amongst themselves using Messenger and Facebook.
What do you think is the biggest threat when children go online? What scares me is them playing with or talking to people they don’t know.
What does the word cyberbullying mean to you?It could be anything from talking to anyone you don’t know to sexual abuse and mental abuse. Sexual abuse doesn’t always meant that two people have to be in physical contact but they can also convince young children to send them photos.
How can the issue of cyberbullying be tackled? For me, cyberbullying can only be tackled by the police because it is not something to mess around with.
Analysis of interview
Questions related to digital literacy.

As stated by “Digital Literacy 21st Century Competences for Our Age The Building Blocks of Digital Literacy From Enhancement to Transformation”, (2015), The National Curriculum Framework for All (NCF 2012) sees Digital literacy as a cross-curriculuar theme where students will, “acquire skills that include confident and critical use of IT for communication, work and leisure.” The definition of the word digital literacy is very broad and even though during the interview, even though did not give the exact meaning for the term by saying that it means giving a lesson while using technology, the rest of her answers show that she understood well the meaning of the term ‘being digitally literate’. By delivering lessons using technology, it implies that the students are digitally literate in order to understand and be able to participate in these lessons.
In the second question, the teacher compares the use of technology nowadays to the past where information could not be grasped so easily. Being digitally literate can help both the children and the teacher during lessons and throughout their learning process since information could be given to them in a fun manner and without their knowledge such as the examples given by the teacher in questions 4 and 10 where she emphasizes the fun that children have and the motivation that technological devices give while using them in lessons. She also points out an important factor when she mentions that the use of technology in class also helps of students who are of lower abilities than the rest of the group. Such a statement is backed up by “Does tech in schools help teachers cater to different learning abilities?”,( 2017) which states that these students may struggle when learning in a traditional learning setting and so may lack the motivation to strive to do well in class, however “These students may have a passion or skill that sits outside the traditional academic spectrum. Technology can be the precise catalyst to emphasise this skill, or pique their interest by activating their minds in a different way.”
The safety of using digital technologies in class is emphasized in questions 5 and 12 where the educator asserts that both in class and at home, the tablets cannot be used as a form of entertainment for play since they are programmed to be used for educational purposes only so safety is ensured.
Questions about online safety
It is a positive thing that the teacher points out that students have a lesson about online safety once a year, however I do believe that more lessons are needed in schools to reinforce online safety behaviour and to help children overcome any challenges they might face while being online to enhance digital literacy.
The result of combining the educator’s answers to questions 13, 14 and 15 can be slightly worrying. These answers reflect that all students have a sort of technological device available to them at home, some students don’t obey age restrictions especially when it comes to playing games and using Facebook and the teacher also implied that some of the student’s parents don’t restrict their internet usage. “Keeping Children Safe Online | US-CERT”, (2011) assert that children present dangers which adults may not be aware of when trying to protect their technologies. These are: curiosity, fear of punishment and innocence and online predators present a significant threat, particularly to children. “Because the nature of the internet is so anonymous, it is easy for people to misrepresent themselves and manipulate or trick” children.
Cyberbullying
Questions 18 and 19 tackled cyberbullying. When asked about the definition of cyberbullying, the educator only focused on abuse coming from people who are unknown to the child, and although this abuse does form part of cyberbullying, this may also come from people whom the child is familiar with such as classmates. This type of cyberbullying may include name calling, spreading of rumours and also posting rude or mean comments online. Even though the police cybercrime unit is mentioned by this educator, the schools can also step up and help with the issue of cyberbullying. Adams, (n.d) expresses how this harassment may take place at home during the hours in which children are not at school, however the impact is felt also in the school environment since their distress about the bullying may cause them to lose concentration or even not want to go to school. Hence, when this happens the problem would become a safety issue for the child even at school. As a way to tackle this bullying teachers may advise the school together with the parents of both students and the possibility of school counsellors where possible, exclusively if the cyberbullying is happening between students of the same school.
References:
Adams, C. Cyberbullying: What Teachers and Schools Can Do | Scholastic. Retrieved from https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/cyberbullying-what-teachers-and-schools-can-do/
Digital Literacy 21st Century Competences for Our Age The Building Blocks of Digital Literacy From Enhancement to Transformation. (2015). Retrieved from https://education.gov.mt/en/elearning/Documents/Green%20Paper%20Digital%20Literacy%20v6.pdf
Does tech in schools help teachers cater to different learning abilities?. (2017). Retrieved from https://resourced.prometheanworld.com/tech-teaching-different-abilities/Keeping Children Safe Online | US-CERT. (2011). Retrieved from https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST05-002

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