Giga-Smart in a Wired World
Classroom Activities and Strategies
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Giga-Smart in a Wired World
Classroom Activities and Strategies
As our world goes more and more high tech, your students need to be ready. There are a lot of fantastic strategies in this issue, and all of them help prepare youngsters to live in a wired, wired world. Students who face barriers, challenges, family problems, crisis, or other concerns, are especially vulnerable to online danger. Hello from Youth Change Director Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. The picture on the right shows me teaching one of our many online professional development courses— just one more part of the real world that has gone cyber. This issue of our online magazine– yet another cyber entity– is packed with strategies and activities to help keep your students safe in an increasingly wired world.
It is easier to stay safe in cyberspace when you have learned at least the basics. Girls sometimes can feel that tech is for boys. The relatively low rates of girls getting involved in STEM classes is a clear indicator of a trend that sadly continues into the workplace where women are often woefully underrepresented. Use humor to combat the stereotypes that girls can have about tech. This activity focuses on a very funny worksheet for girls and young women. It humorously overturns many stereotypes about girls and tech. You can download the activity worksheet on our website and print it for use in a discussion with female students. The worksheet can also be printed as an 11" x 17" poster, free to you for being a subscriber of this internet magazine.
How to Tell a Good Guy From a Bad Guy
This activity is a clever way to help students discover that in cyberspace, it is impossible to tell a good guy from a bad one if the two people don't know each other in the real world. Create about a dozen brief conversations that appear ripped from a typical social media site that you can call "FaceSpace." These online conversations could look like this:
Stranger: So do you want to meet up later?
Stranger: Do you want to come over?
Print each conversation on one side of the page. On the other side, in big letters, put either "Good Guy" or "Bad Guy." Be sure that some conversations, like the one above, are relatively clearly reflecting a Bad Guy. Have other conversations that are more neutral, and some that appear safe but all/most should ultimately show Bad Guys in a way that conveys that "strangers online mean danger online," a phrase you can ultimately write on the board and discuss with students.
Dude, What's Your Cyber Q?
This activity helps you discover how cyber-smart your students really are. Test students' Cyber Q– "Q" is a shortened version of "IQ"– by asking them to define high tech terms like these: captcha, phishing, ISM, MB, pixel, SSL. They will need to know these terms to survive on our high tech planet. (Answers: captcha is a challenge that shows you are human not a robot; phishing means a scammer is "fishing" for your passwords and confidential information; ISM is the high paying job of Information Systems Manager, and he or she oversees computer networks; MB is a unit of measurement that describes the size of a file or data; pixel refers to the quality things like a photograph or monitor; SSL is short for Secure Socket Layer, and indicates whether a web page has been made secure for credit card transactions and other private activity.)
We All Work in a Wired, Wired World
Tech-averse students may not fully understand how difficult adult life will be without cyber skills. This activity can convince them to acquire more critical, basic tech skills. Inform students that nearly all jobs have a high tech component, from clocking in on an electronic time card system, to operating a PDA, to using a barcode scanner, so they can discover that more and more work increasingly includes technology. Put two columns on the board, then ask students to list jobs not normally associated with high tech. Put their responses in the first column. Next, ask students to name how each low tech job might still require high tech skills. Put their answers in the second column. For example, waitresses may need to use smart phones and tablets to key in orders, scan credit cards, and tabulate bills. Another example: Baggage handlers at airports have to scan luggage tags and navigate through complex computerized security systems. Assist the class to realize that almost all jobs require tech skills because we are increasingly living in a high tech world.
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Cyberbullying: Your Anti-Social Network
Write the word "cyberbullying" on the board, and ask students to discuss what the term means. Assist students to identify strategies to cope with, reduce, or eliminate the cyberbullying they may experience. For example, students can block bullying "friends" on Facebook. Give this guideline to help students recognize cyber bullying: "When it's no longer social networking but has become anti-social networking, that's cyberbullying, and means it's time to find a new network."
Grades by Facebook
This intervention activity helps students realize that problematic postings can come back to haunt them forever. Begin by asking students what kind of content is posted on Facebook and other social networking sites. Allow them to note that students sometimes post about partying, substance abuse, personal problems, and so on. Next, ask the group who views the content. Assist students to realize that content may be viewed by colleges and universities, and that some colleges, universities– and even employers– are requiring candidates to give them access to all their social networking pages prior to being accepted or hired. Help students to realize that problematic posts can negate the value of good grades when it comes time to be accepted at college, or hired for a job. Ultimately, you can help students see that hard work in school can be instantly destroyed by problem social media posts. You can call this phenomena "Grades by Facebook."