Helping to Make You Cyber Safe and Information Literate

Activities and Lessons

Forensic Problem Solving and Einstein - This lesson addresses a wide range of U.S. core curriculum standards as well as the International Society of Technology Education's National Educational Technology Standards and the American Library Association's Information Literacy Standards. Students will use fifteen seemingly meaningless clues to track down a hacker who has broken into a movie studio computer and stolen three unreleased movies. Based on a puzzle created by Einstein, students will get a clear understanding of the the term "proof" and how to organize and synthesize information. Students will use three different problem solving techniques and solve a puzzle that Einstein predicted could only be solved by 2% of the world's population. This lesson has been used successfully with grades three through college. The powerful cyber safety message of this lesson is delivered to students through the realization that they created complex profiles of all the suspects with seemingly useless fragments of information, and that Internet predators can do exactly the same thing with useless bits of information that children supply.

Evaluating Information -The validity of information at web sites is an important issue in doing quality research. As students go through these activities they will gain an understanding of the level of quality on web pages. They will learn to evaluate the validity of information and begin to examine it with a critical eye, remembering that one cannot always believe what one read online unless it is verified. This holds true for web sites and live interactions with people online, a point that should be made throughout these activities.

It's a Wild Wiki World - Wikipedia is the world's most popular encyclopedia on line or off line. As of this writing it is the 19th most visited site on the Internet. It is used extensively by students for research, yet many teachers and students are unaware of the dangers and pitfalls when students use it as their main source of information. This presentation gives students and teachers an overview of the Wiki concept and an understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.

Profiles, Postings, & Predators -Teens share information at social networking sites through their profiles, messages, chat, and blog entries. The are aware of the First Amendment, but often exercise it without fully understand their rights and responsibilities. This can lead to serious consequences. Information they post can often be seen by not only friends, but by family, teachers, prospective employers, college recruiters, law enforcement, and predators. This activity takes a look at free speech, blogging, profiles, the enduring nature of online postings along with the consequences of not fully understanding the nature of online postings.

Put Your Best Foot Forward - If you care about the impression you make in real life, you should care about the impression you make online. What you post online stays online! What you post online can be seen by others and can have serious consequences for those who post inappropriately or carelessly. This activity my open your eyes.

Blogs in Education - Blogging is a powerful journalistic tool that has spread far and wide. Writers and journalists started the trend and teens have joined the movement in a big way. It is estimated that one-third of all teens online have blogs. The majority of these blogs are located at social networking sites. Blogs are powerful vehicles for driving transformation in the classroom, yet teachers have been slow to understand and embrace their power. This presentation gives teachers an understanding of how teens are using blogs, how it can be a powerful classroom tool and what the responsibilities of the school and teacher are in implementing them in an educational setting.

How to Avoid PowerPoint Poisoning - Having judged literally thousands of PowerPoint presentations in our county's annual computer contest, I have come to realize that PowerPoint can turn mediocre presenters into poor presenters. This is because they place PowerPoint before presentation. In other words, their focus becomes the software, and the presentation gets lost because they do not understand that the software is simply a tool to assist them in making their point. This condition is compounded by their not understanding of design concepts and audience consideration. This presentation provides some simple guidelines and techniques to help make students better presenters.

Making a PSA - Public service announcements are great vehicles for developing media literacy. This lessons shows what it takes to get an effective message across in the form of a PSA.