Over the past two years, the COVID-powered shift to online learning has meant that our digital relationships and behaviour are more significant than ever before.
This week, St Michael’s is participating in the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s National eSmart Week, an opportunity to share knowledge and celebrate being smart, safe and responsible when using digital technology. It is a time to raise awareness and elevate education on the issues of cyber safety, cyber bullying and wellbeing.
For National eSmart Week, St Michael’s teachers have the opportunity to join online events, such as live storytime sessions for Junior School students, interactive and thought-provoking discussion topics, and topical quizzes for Junior and Senior students.
Staff are also encouraged to use the Virtual Staff Room SchoL page, to share images of the things that are helping them through life in lockdown and reconnect with each other in a positive online environment.
St Michael’s has been a registered eSmart School with the Alannah & Madeline Foundation since 2019. This association ensures that we continue to re-evaluate our approaches to cyber education, ICT policies, that we strive to promote positive and respectful digital relationships, encourage appropriate self-representation online, and provide students and staff with the latest educational resources around technology.
St Michael’s accreditation with the Foundation could not have come at a more opportune moment. In 2020, as the School was plunged into long periods of online learning, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation framework helped to ensure the safety of students and professionalism for staff. Staff were supported in learning new skills in relation to curriculum delivery and assisted in the management of issues that may arise in the digital space.
The situation allowed many staff to become proficient in various modes of delivery, which not only enhanced their teaching repertoire but also created a varied and interesting way for students to receive and complete work.Mr Tim Roberts, Head of Positive Learning
Now, the eSmart curriculum takes a meaningful place in learning across the school, such as in our newly designed Personal Wellbeing subject. Students learn about cyber bullying and cyber safety, are provided with a toolkit of strategies to use when confronted with difficult situations online, and learn best practice behaviours in the use of all devices. Students also learn about their digital footprint, online reputation and how this affects their long-term social image.
The framework also ensures that we regularly communicate with parents regarding technology, cyber safety and wellbeing through newsletters, SchoL posts and specific events and webinars relevant to cyber safety and technology.
By continuing to build an eSmart population, we can reduce online harm to children and increase wellbeing in our community. Thanks to the Alannah & Madeline Foundation for helping us to create a smart, safe and responsible digital environment for all.