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Google launches gamified digital citizenship programme
Fri, 9th Jun 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The pitfalls lurking online can be avoided with a little know-how and some engaging learning. Equipping kids with the skills they need to safely navigate a digital world is an important part of education.

The latest offering from Google's education team has paired a comprehensive set of caregiver and teacher resources with an engaging browser game to encourage online safety and awareness.

Be Internet Awesome offers kids, guardians and educators a way to build internet skills and is completely free.

Google VP of engineering for kids and families, Pavni Diwanji says building these skills is one of the most important tasks children's role-models have.

“We need to provide guidance as they learn to make their own smart decisions online.

“This is one of the most significant issues that we all face as a new generation grows up with the Internet at their fingertips. It's critical that the most influential people in our kids' lives—parents and teachers, especially—help kids learn how to be smart, positive and kind online, just like we teach them to be offline. It's something we all need to reinforce together.

The program has been developed with online safety experts in the US, and features five key lessons that all children should learn.

  • Be Internet Smart: Share with care
  • Be Internet Alert: Don't fall for fake
  • Be Internet Strong: Secure your secrets
  • Be Internet Kind: It's cool to be kind
  • Be Internet Brave: When in doubt, talk it out

Educators will have access to a classroom curriculum that will help instill these lessons in young people. International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) senior director Carolyn Sykora says this programme meets their requirements and comes at an important time for education.

“Be Internet Awesome provides materials educators and parents can use to help students learn about online safety in a fun and engaging way.

“Building these skills in our students will require ongoing attention as new technologies pose challenges and opportunities for students both at home and at school.

A cool and colourful, browser-based game has been designed for the programme and gives children the opportunity to guide an avatar through the dangers of Interland.

Interland's floating islands represent themes and dangers of the internet and users must navigate challenges to progress.

This type of gamified experience is what is being seen in many areas of education at the moment. Teachers around the world are using using technology to engage and teach student about the digital world.

Teachers also have an opportunity to involve the wider community with a set of resources and a pledge that brings children's guardians into the picture.

Having solid guidance at home is an important part of learning. When dealing with a topic that parents themselves may not be well versed in presents some difficulties.

Be Internet Awesome involves these role-models in the learning process with a series of internet videos and a pledge to be brave and alert when their children are online.

New Zealand educators can access the Be Internet Awesome resources here and get their students gaming their way to digital citizenship here in Interland.