This post is sponsored by Google
With today’s kids accessing media in a number of different ways throughout the day, lessons on digital citizenship are more important than ever. However, the critical learning our kids need won’t happen with just one person having a single conversation.
As a parent, I’ve talked to my kids about the importance of being kind on and offline and have worked hard to foster interests that make my kids want to unplug in favor of digital wellbeing. I encourage other parents to have conversations at home to reinforce kindness, change the way we talk about screen time so it feels like less of a battle, and model expected behavior— especially when it comes to managing our own tech use.
At school, I remind my middle school students to be conscious about their digital footprint. I encourage them to be mindful of what they capture and share online to be respectful and stay safe in the digital world. I also urge them to prioritize classwork over watching YouTube and computer games. The struggle is real in the classroom too!
As a parent and teacher, I want the teens I know to be safe, confident explorers online and off. For this to happen, conversations about safety need to happen at home and be reinforced in school and vice versa.
A recent survey findings from Google found ⅔ of parents believe kids should learn about online safety BOTH at home and in the classroom.
I know first-hand how much classroom teachers have on their plates and why integrating conversations about digital safety can seem like just one more thing. Technology is an amazing tool that facilitates student learning but it comes with a responsibility.
Every time our students sit down at a desktop computer or reach for a Chromebook or a tablet, we have an opportunity to infuse digital citizenship into our curriculum.
Lessons don’t have to be lengthy or boring. The best learning builds upon what kids already know and uses varied techniques to appeal to different learning styles. Knowing how to have a tech talk allows you to seize upon spontaneous teachable moments in your classroom and integrate learning in a relevant and meaningful way.
About Be Internet Awesome Curriculum
Be Internet Awesome curriculum gives educators all the tools, methods, and resources necessary to teach digital safety and citizenship in the classroom in English or Spanish. These free age appropriate lesson plans were designed by Google for educators who want students to be safe and successful citizens in our networked world. They’re correlated to ISTE standards for technology education and make it easy for all teachers to have tech talks with students
8 Reasons to Use Be Internet Awesome Lessons to Teach Digital Safety
If you haven’t heard of Be Internet Awesome curriculum, here are 8 reasons why you’ll want to use these free resources from Google to teach digital safety.
Free Age Appropriate Flexible Lessons
Be Internet Awesome lessons are best suited for grades 3 to 6, but as a teacher who knows your students best, you’ll find materials that can be used with both older and younger students. Be Internet Awesome curriculum covers the following fundamentals of digital safety and citizenship:
- Share with Care (Be Internet Smart)
- Don’t Fall for Fake (Be Internet Alert)
- Secure Your Secrets (Be Internet Strong)
- It’s Cool to Be Kind (Be Internet Kind)
- When in Doubt, Talk It Out (Be Internet Brave)
Google encourages educators to experiment to find what works well for your learners and your classroom. This could mean using the curriculum start to finish or going deep on the one or two lessons of greatest importance for your class. You can also pick and choose how to integrate key vocabulary, class discussions topics (aged up or down), and game play in order to fit your student needs.
All Instructional Materials in One Place
In order to make it easy to implement lessons, Google worked with Pear Deck to create presentation decks for teachers to use for instruction. The collaboration between Google and Pear Deck makes it easy to get materials to teach digital citizenship to present, distribute, and share with school colleagues.
With one click, you can install the full Be Internet Awesome curriculum through a folder on Google Drive. This folder can be shared with anyone and includes:
- Comprehensive Teaching Guide
- Ready-to-teach Pear Deck lessons
- Vocabulary lists ready to play in Flashcard Factory
- Recognition materials including Badges and Certificates
- The Safety Pledge for kids and parents to review and sign
Interactive Gaming Component Reinforces Classroom Learning
When I teach, I always like to start with a whole class lesson followed by hands on time for students to learn and master the material. Be Internet Awesome lessons are reinforced by gamification techniques, using Interland.
Interland is a free, web-based game by Google that makes learning about digital citizenship a fun, engaging and hands-on experience. This online adventure puts key lessons of digital safety into hands-on practice with four challenging games where kids are asked various questions about real world scenarios that they could encounter.
Interland consists of these four games that serve as a way to reinforce learning in a fun way:
- Kind Kingdom: It’s Cool to Be Kind
- Reality River: Don’t Fall for Fake
- Mindful Mountain: Share with Care
- Tower of Treasure: Secure Your Secrets
This adventure-packed online game makes learning about digital safety and citizenship interactive and fun. For more information about each game and how to play, visit my post: How Kids Can Play their Way Through Interland to Learn Digital Citizenship.
Bilingual Lessons and Materials
According to research commissioned by Google, Latino parents in Spanish-speaking households are almost twice as likely as their English-speaking counterparts to favor talking about online safety at home, as a family (39 percent to 21 percent).
Google’s Be Internet Awesome lessons, materials, and Interland game are available in Spanish through Sé genial en Internet. Sé genial en Internet provides free guidance and resources to Spanish-speaking families looking for online safety resources.
Correlated to National Technology Education Standards
The International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) completed an independent audit of Be Internet Awesome, recognizing the program as a resource that prepares young learners to meet the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students. ISTE has awarded Be Internet Awesome with the Seal of Alignment for Readiness.
Not Tech Savvy? Don’t Worry!
You don’t need to be a digital citizenship expert to use this program. The Be Internet Awesome curriculum is designed so that any teacher can pick it up and teach it to their class.
Free Digital Citizenship Professional Development
Whether you’re tech savvy or not, Google for Education provides a free Digital Citizenship and Safety course for teachers through their Teacher Center.
This self-paced online course consists of the following units:
- Why Teach Digital Citizenship and Safety?
- Teach Students About Internet Safety and Privacy
- Online Safety on the Go
- Savvy Searching
- Stay Safe from Phishing and Scams
- Manage Your Online Reputation
The 6 units contain two lessons each, for a total of 12 lessons in the course. Each unit takes approximately 10-13 minutes each so you could complete the course in 75 minutes.
Facilitate a Home-School Partnership to Benefit Student Learning
Not only does Be Internet Awesome provide a wealth of free classroom resources in English and Spanish, but Google also makes it easy for teachers to facilitate a home-school partnership to benefit student learning. Here’s a look at some of the bilingual materials you can share with your families to help ensure they’re continuing the conversation at home.
- Parent introduction email/letter template— Located on page 4 of the Educator Guide, this letter shares how new education tools are helping their kids learn to make good decisions about their online safety and behavior through Be Internet Awesome. I love that this letter can be customized so each teacher can make it more personal by sharing what they’re doing in their classroom.
- Internet Awesome Tips— As you cover each of the pillars of Be Internet Awesome (Be Smart, Be Strong, Be Alert, Be Kind, Be Brave), send home the one sheeter that features tips correlated to each pillar to remind kids to Be Internet Awesome at home. They’re colorful, fun, and perfect for hanging on the fridge at home as a reminder to always Be Internet Awesome.
- Family Guide— For parents wanting more information about online safety and citizenship at home, the Be Internet Awesome Family Guide gives families the tools and resources to continue learning. It’s designed to make it easy for families to incorporate and practice good digital habits in their everyday lives by helping them discuss, learn, and think about online safety with their kids.
- Family Pledge— Encourage families to work with their students by taking the Family Pledge. This serves as a great conversation starter and ensures that parents and kids are working together to be digitally safe.
- Family Link Parent’s Guide— For parents looking for tools, the Family Link app from Google can help them schedule and set the ground rules for screen time. The companion guide for the app can help them start conversation with their child about devices in their homes.
- Digital Wellbeing Family Guide— Since every family is looking to have their kids unplug a bit more, Google’s Digital Wellbeing Family Guide is a great resource! It provides tips on how to tackle tough topics, guidance on sparking productive conversations, and help identifying healthy habits for every age and stage of your family. More digital wellbeing tips and tools can be found to help families at google.
Be Internet Awesome curriculum is a great way to teach digital safety, empower students to be responsible digital citizens, and disempower bullying behavior and encourage healthy, productive interactions throughout the school year. Learn more about how to Be Internet Awesome at co/BeInternetAwesome
This post is sponsored by Google but all opinions are my own.