May 12

C is for Cookie

Middle School Digital Literacy Lesson

Whenever you visit a new site, you will most often get a message notifying you that the site uses cookies.  Sometimes it will give you an option to choose to continue with cookies or not.  You may have felt very confused about what a cookie was… is it a good thing or a bad thing?  Could it harm my computer or device?

Or maybe you were talking about something with your device near at hand, and then noticed an ad for something connected to what you were talking about an hour later.  Coincidence?  Not at all.  This video explains how and why this happens, and what exactly a cookie is.

Your Assignment:

After watching the video, I want you to pair up with a friend who you share often with on social media.  Imagine you are trying to collect data from each other’s information to target them with ads.  What can you find out about your friend that would help you target products to them?  Example:  I notice that my friend is always posting photos of her dog online.  If I were an advertiser, I would target her with ads for fancy dog toys, furniture, and biscuits.  She often comments about how much she misses her family in Israel.  I would target her with ads for chat products like Houseparty, Zoom, etc…  See how many you can come up with.  Write them in a Google Doc and submit to b.ruel@theojcs.ca

May 11

Remembering to be a Digital Citizen While Gaming

By now you are all amazing digital citizens when you’re online; you protect your private information, you don’t post mean comments on other people’s blogs, photos, or videos.  You are careful about the websites you visit and you balance your time online.  Now let me ask you this…

Do you remember to be a good digital citizen while you’re gaming?

What I mean by that is, when you are playing a game online like Roblox, Fortnite, or other games where you interact with other players online, are you remembering your online safety and digital citizenship rules?

Scenario 1:

You are playing a game in which players can chat with one another and you make a new friend.  This friend starts asking you personal questions like ‘what school do you go to?’ and ‘what’s your address?’

What do you do?

Answer:  It is great to make new friends online, but we still need to make sure and always protect our personal information.  Don’t tell strangers where you live, what school you go to, personal passwords, your full name, etc…  It is never safe to share this kind of information online.

Scenario 2:

During a game you notice one character won’t leave you alone.  They are continuously attacking your player or making rude comments to you in chat.  You really want to be mean back but you are afraid to get reported and blocked.

What do you do?

Answer: Don’t retaliate (i.e. be rude back.)  Just report the players behaviour to the game and show your parents or teachers.  These kind of players will end up getting blocked (kicked-out permanently) from the game.  Better them and not you.  After reporting them, log out for a while and try again later.

Scenario 3:

You have been playing a game for over an hour and you still can’t beat a certain level.  You notice your anger level spiking really high.  Your little brother keeps coming in your room and distracting you and you want to yell at him because it’s his fault you can’t beat the level.

What do you do?

Answer:  It is important that we notice how our emotions are being affected by the games we are playing.  If we are starting to feel angry, frustrated, rageful, and irritated, that is an indication that you have played long enough.  That is your body’s way of telling you you’ve had enough screen time.  Turn off the device and go outside to play if you can.  Nothing clears away those bad feelings faster than fresh air.  And bring your little brother with you to play!  He was only bothering you because he wanted a bit of attention too!  When next you play the game you will be playing with a clear head and have a much better chance of beating that level.

Here is a video where you can see some of these online scenarios in play.

Your assignment:

Play a video game (Yes, you heard right.  Make sure you have permission of course!)  While you play, notice and write down a few examples of some of the positive and some of the negative interactions you have with other players.  If your game doesn’t involve other players online, just write down some positive or negative feelings you experience while playing (having fun, getting frustrated, fighting with your brother etc…)  Then you will post your observations in the comments on this page.  It will be interesting to see what we all experience.

April 28

Steering Clear of Online Tricks!

Lower School Phishing Lesson

Have you ever had a message pop-up on your computer saying that you have a virus but if you click a certain button you can fix it?  Or that if you click on a link you can get a free iphone?  Or an email in your inbox from someone you’ve never met asking you for something?  These are the most common examples of online tricks and scams called ‘PHISHING.’  Yep, the word sounds just like FISHING.  That’s because, the scammers are fishing for your personal information.  Your address, your phone number, your passwords, and sometimes your bank information or your parent’s credit card number!

They are doing this because they want to be able to get money from us or to pretend to be you when they are online.  It is important that we learn to recognize what these kind of tricks look like so we don’t get tricked into sharing our personal information online.  Learning to decide what is real and what is fake is one of the main skills of a great digital citizen, and a great online detective!

A few ways you can avoid phishing tricks online;

  • If you get an email from someone you don’t know and it looks suspicious, don’t open it!  Show it to your parents and they can show you how you can report it as spam/junk mail.  Spam is a kind of bad email that nobody wants.
  • If you get a message saying that you’ve won some big prize, or that you can get something free by answering a survey or paying a very low price, don’t believe it!  If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
  • If something pops up on your computer saying that your computer has a virus and you need to do something to get rid of it, don’t click the button.  Show it to your parents or teacher and they will know what to do.
  • Protect your private accounts by always signing out of public devices (like school or public library computers and ipads.)

To learn some of these tricks and scams and what to do about them, we are going to play the Google game Interland, and the world/level called Reality River.  You will listen to each question.  You will then be given answer choices.  You can see each of the choices by clicking on each different platform.  Once you’ve decided where you want to go, double-click it to select it.  You will find out if your answer was correct or not.  If it’s not you will fall in the river!  Have fun, and if you have questions about phishing or online scams you can post them in the comments on this page and I will answer them.

Click Here To Play Interland Reality River

April 27

Phishing For YOUR Personal Information

Middle School Phishing Lesson for the week of May 4th

You may have heard the word phishing  in relation to online safety and wondered what it meant.  Imagine that YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION is the fish these phishers are fishing for.  Your phone number, address, financial information, passwords, etc…  Phishers are online scammers who are trying to get you to provide them with your personal information so that they can use your identity and/or get financial information from you.

A few common examples of phishing scams are;

  • emails from people you don’t know, saying that you’ve won something you didn’t try to win, or saying that something is wrong and you need to immediately provide them with information or something bad could happen
  • a pop-up link saying you have a virus and need to provide information to get rid of it
  • a pop-up link offering you something for free if you do a survey

It is important that we learn to recognize these scams so that we keep our own and our parents personal information safe.  Never respond to these kind of links or emails and report them when possible.  And when in doubt, show them to a parent or teacher to find out if it’s real or not.

I want you to watch this video and then post in the comments if any of these phishing scams has ever happened to you or someone in your family and what it looked like.

Share information about phishing scams with parents, grandparents, and friends so that everyone can protect their identity online.

April 23

A First Look At Online Safety

Online Safety for Grade 1

The internet is an amazing place to spend our time, but we need to learn some basic safety rules for when we are online.  Just like how when we learn to drive we learn the rules of the road first, we need to learn online safety rules before we start exploring on the internet.

ABCya! is a great site for educational games, but it also has a great online safety video and quiz we can use to learn the most important rules of internet safety.  It is called Cyber-Five.  Click on the picture and get started with the video, and then take the quiz when you’re done. 

If you have any questions after you’ve watched the video and completed the quiz, be sure and include them in the comments on this page and I will answer them to the best of my ability!

Webinars for Parents

Parents can participate in Trend Micro’s 20 minute online safety webinar series.  They are free and led by some of the world’s foremost experts.

Internet Safety Webinars For Parents

April 21

House Hippos and Cabbits

First we are going to watch a video about the North American House Hippo…

When this video started, for a moment did you believe that this could be real or did you know immediately that it was not?  What were some of the reasons you did or didn’t believe it?  How could we be sure?

Some of the most important skills we need to be a great digital citizen are our critical thinking skills.  A big part of critical thinking is our ability to find out if what we are seeing, reading, or hearing is true or not.  There are some easy quick tricks we can use to verify (which means to check out or investigate) information.

So let’s try one of the easiest tricks.

Here is a picture that I found online a Cabbit.  Online it says it is a cross between a cat and a rabbit.  Isn’t it adorable?

So let’s run a Google Search on the information we want to verify.  So open up Google and type the word cabbit in the search box.  Or, if you’re on an ipad or have a home assistant, ask it out loud what a cabbit is.  What did you discover from a simple search?  Is it real or fictious (not real, imaginary).  Type your answers in the comments on this page.

This shows us that the fastest way to check if information is true or not is to look around… look in other places!  Check a couple of different websites.  See if what else you can find out.  Websites we use to find information are called our sources.  Always check more than one source, especially if something sounds fishy!

Here is a video that offers you a few more special tricks you can use when you are choosing websites and videos to use for your research projects.  Write down the 5w’s so that you can remember them when you need them!

March 18

Online Sharing Safety Game – Share Jumper

Lower School Digital Citizenship Lesson Week of March 16th

Everyone enjoys connecting with others online (especially when we are all stuck at home!)  This game is perfect for all of us right now because in a simple and clear way, it explains what kinds of information is okay to share online and what kind of information isn’t.  The only way to get your jumper higher and higher is to make the right choices about what is okay to post online.  If you make a wrong choice you get sent back down!

Make sure you read each question carefully.  It will help you to make the correct choices.  THIS GAME IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH IPADS OR OTHER TOUCH SCREENS.

Now have fun!!

Click here to play: Share Jumper Game

For anyone who might struggle with the game, watch ‘We the Digital Citizens’ for a refresher on online safety!

December 2

First Footprints with Grade 2

Our two grade two classes got their first lesson about online footprints and how we leave them.  They learned how to make sure that the footprints they are leaving online are the good kind!

I made sure to highlight a few other ways we can leave our footprints online that were not touched on in the video;

  • Comments left on websites (ex. youtube), video games, and blogs.
  • Our search history
  • Posting information that is intentionally not true
  • Posting embarrassing photos or videos of ourselves or others

We played a game where two characters – Ellie the Elephant and Mervin the Mouse left their online footprints all over the library.  Students had to find these card footprints and decide which footprints were and were not the right kind to leave online.  We all had lots of fun with this lesson!

 

October 17

Introduction to Digital Citizenship

Our grade two class got to meet some fun friends today, the super cute Common Sense Media Digital Citizens!

Each one represents a different aspect of digital citizenship;

  • Arms: Use your arms when you’re online to balance your time. 
  • Guts: Listen to your gut to stay safe online. 
  • Feet: Use your feet carefully when leaving tracks online.
  • Legs: Use your legs to stand up to bullies online.
  • Heart: Use your heart to be kind and respectful online.
  • Head: Use your head to ask questions about what you see online.

 

Our students listened to the song we discussed what they think the song was about and they gave examples of their own experiences.  They then drew a picture to represent how they can be good digital citizens.

May 22

What is a Digital Footprint?

Today students were introduced to the concept of a Digital Footprint.  We used the example of tracks left by animals and how we can use our own deductive capabilities to infer quite a lot about an animal based on its tracks.

The same is true for us when we go online.  The sites we visit, the comments we post, the videos we upload, the games we play, all of those things create a digital footprint that can tell people about us and will exist online for a very long time.  We tied this in to the concept of responsibilities and discussed what our responsibilities are to ourselves and to others online.

Our grade 3 and 4 students came up with some of the following ideas;

Our students are getting the foundation they need to navigate the sometimes scary world of the internet in a safe and responsible way.