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Online Educator

Title: How do we develop our student’s digital skills and stay safe online?
The digital world is growing rapidly, and countries are considering how to best prepare students for this open educational environment. JISC 2014, identified seven elements of digital literacy important to future success in a technology rich environment. Betham and Sharpe’s (2010) framework suggests a development process from functional skills to higher level capabilities, however, can we reach these higher capabilities and still keep students under the age of 18 safe online? Priscilla Idele (UNICEF) noted that ‘We often hear so much about the risks associated with children using the internet, but less about how we can build their online resilience and digital skills,’. Professor Sonia Livingstone (LSE) at a (December 2019) recent Westminster eforum policy conference on key issues and emerging trends in protecting children online, suggested the media is creating a narrative that it is dangerous for children online but the cases are few in comparison to the numbers using it.
The workshop will consider the views of students and parents expressed in a survey from an online school as well as information from studies from EU Kids online and Global Kids online, to review how we develop the digital skills needed yet keep those under the age of 18 safe online.
The workshop draws on research from Professor Sonia Livingstone, who has advised the UK government, European Commission, European Parliament, Council of Europe and other national and international organisations on children’s rights, risks and safety in the digital age. In following her Twitter feed, I was also presented with many opportunities to review the latest research in this field by those studying at the LSE and follow others such as UNICEF and Enurture (promoting mental health outcomes for children in a digital world). It will also use research from parents and students who have chosen to learn entirely in an online environment in the form of ‘InterHigh’ an online school. This research draws comparisons with that undertaken by ‘Global Kids online’ and noted that children want increasing access to the online world but that a number of parents restrict these opportunities or wish to restrict them in order to keep them safe.
The workshop will consider ways of increasing student access to the web 2.0 and what models and actions could ensure this is done in a safe environment rather than choosing the option to restrict access and therefore hinder the development of digital skills. Research (Global Kids online 2019) has shown children access the internet more at home than at school and particularly for those between 9-11 years is this now the time to redress the balance and move learning into the 21st century?
Keywords- digital literacies, safeguarding online, digital world, open education
Council of Europe- Children’s rights in the digital environment (2018).
Global Kids online- Children’s rights in the digital age
GOV.UK Teaching online safety in schools 26th June 2019.
GOV.UK Online Harms White Paper 26th June 2019.
LSE EU Kids online. LSE Department of Media and Communications
Westminster eForum- Protecting Children online: content, age verification and latest thinking on industry responsibility. 10th December 2019


2 thoughts on “Online Educator

  1. Hi Stephen

    Here are the questions and comments from your conference presentation – please respond in whatever way you wish!

    Best wishes

    – Access time is limited; cost factors; digital skills to be developed across all age groups
    – Canada story – excellent idea. My kids are current off school as Storm Ciara damaged their building
    – My son is a teacher in a private school in China (though he’s at home currently due to virus) – he uses a lot of online lessons but in a classroom setting rather than kids learning online independently
    – my desire is to get into oniline teaching and I think this presentation is really of interest to me Stephen.
    – How does DBS check work for online teaching?
    – My son was so put off social media by his year 2 teacher that he still doesn’t have a FB / big social media presence…he’s at University now…
    – That’s a bit of a shame isn’t it – he might avoid danger but there’s a lot of good in social media too
    – I like the idea of sharing best practie. Tht’s how networking might help us.
    – This is a very meaningful research, Stephen!
    – is there something about the time spent by people spend on social media , and is here an age aspect to this?
    – Great research and has implications for Adults too…


  2. H818 Presentation Star
    Congratulations Stephen!
    Your presentation at the H818 Online Conference 2020 has been voted by audience members as one of the most effective presentations, and you are one of the winners of this year’s Presentation Star awards!
    You may download your award certificate from

    Well done and many Congratulations!

    Simon Ball
    H818 Conference Organiser


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