Option 1: Pen Pals in the 21st Century


Year level – Year 2

Unit of Work – Pen Pals in the 21st Century

Overview – In this unit of work students will have ongoing communication with a class in another country or state using different appropriate online platforms and software.

Firstly, as a class, students will brainstorm and list all of the different methods to communicate online. In an appropriate manner, explicitly teach the dangers associated with the different platforms that are suggested, such as the various social media platforms (ie. cyberbullying, authentication, privacy and inappropriate content).

Each week chose a different ‘safe’ method of communication, such as email or a digital pen pal software, such as PenPal Schools or ePals. Discuss why these methods are considered safe in comparison to other platforms. Set-up the different accounts as a class. Explicitly teach how to set-up a safe password (refer to Using Technology link below). Discuss and brainstorm as a class what an appropriate and safe profile picture and username / email address would be. Take the class through the process of logging-in and logging out of the platforms and discuss why this is important. Each week write an email or post (if using an ePals software) together as a class. As students are brainstorming ideas of what to write in the letter, conduct discussions on what is appropriate and safe content to share online and what is not.

Helpful links

http://www.brainstormproductions.edu.au/cyber-safety-for-students-seven-tips-to-protect-their-privacy/

http://www.usingtechnologybetter.com/blog/two-classroom-activities-for-teaching-students-about-password-security/

http://www.wgu.edu/heyteach/article/how-pen-pals-expanded-world-my-students1808.html

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