Resource: Children’s Literature – Once Upon A Time Online by David Bedford.
Incorporating fairy tale elements with technology in the classroom is a fantastic way to engage students to learn about online safety or other aspects of technology. In particular, the book Once Upon A Time Online by David Bradford follows some of our favourite fairy tale characters who have received a laptop and learn an important lesson about online safety (most specifically online spending). For example, Red Riding Hood buys more red cloaks while Cinderella buys everything she needs for the ball. The Big Bad Wolf even gets involved and uses the laptop for online gaming. Eventually a very large bill arrives and all of the characters discover some issues with going online without permission.
This book would be a great hook/motivation for the introduction of a lesson/unit of work on online safety. It could be used as a prompt to spark discussion with the class about their personal experiences or someone they know experiences with the internet, online -spending, gaming and so forth. Enabling discussion like this gives students opportunities to critically think and reflect on their experiences and will contribute to deepening their understanding of online safety and why it is important.
From here, students should be encouraged as a class to come up with questions that they would like to know about online safety. This could simply be as a whole-class brainstorm onto butcher paper or an enlarged KWL chart. Students can be prompted by key themes such as:
- How can I protect my privacy online?
- What things can I share/ what things shouldn’t I share?
- What is online spending?
- Meeting people online
- How can I share safely online?
- What are the warning signs to look for?
After discussion as a class, read aloud book again and talk about some of the ways that the characters weren’t being safe and come up with solutions.
This resource/ lesson is linked to the Year 1 & 2 Digital Technologies curriculum code: ACTDIP006: Share and publish information in a safe online environment, with known people.
This resource could be easily integrated within the English curriculum across various year levels. In particular, it could be easily integrated when children learn about fairtytales in Year 1: ACELT1582, ACELT1584, ACELT1832 or Year 2: ACELT1833. It could also be linked to Health: examining health, well-being and safety in Year 5: ACPPS053, ACPPS057. Lastly, it can also be integrated with The Arts by creating online safety posters or through the use of role play in drama (performing a skit or scenario with a focus on online safety).
Prior to reading this book, it is important to build background knowledge about fairy tale elements as well as the characters that will appear in this story so students can truly enjoy this text.
It could be beneficial to incorporate additional literature to compare and contrast and to strengthen students’ understanding of online safety.
These books could include:
Dot by Randi Zuckerberg and Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis.