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05.06.2011 Balakovo
Balakovo Students and Educators for Safe Internet
 
In late May – early June teachers, students and parents review the academic year and plan their long summer vacations. Traditionally, before school’s out, teachers talk to students about safety rules for the summer, including water safety, road rules and ways of handling emergency situations. Since the Internet has now become one of the most attractive and accessible entertainment environments for children, many families can’t imagine how they used to live without it. Modern secondary school students spend a lot of their free time online, and during the summer their online usage is likely to increase. That is why educators from the town of Balakovo decided to include children’s online safety into their traditional pre-vacation safety training.

Over the last few years, in early June, the Tvoy Kurs: Digital Literacy project has held Children’s Online Safety campaigns throughout Russia. In the town of Balakovo the campaign is held by the local Educational and Instructional Center which launched its own Tvoy Kurs Center in February 2010. On 30 May – 4 June 2011, the Tvoy Kurs Center team visited local schools, holding various types of events on Online Safety Foundations (for educators) and Online Safety Lessons (for students).

Every school individually decided on the best format for the training, whether it was a seminar, a round table or a class meeting. Eight local schools participated in the program, including four rural schools from the villages of Malaya Bykovka, Novopolevodino, Matveyevka and Novonikolayevsky, training the total of 285 people (144 students and 141 educators). The teachers used materials developed by the Tvoy Kurs: Digital Literacy project after attending a special consultation at the Tvoy Kurs Center.

What were these events about, what activities did they include, and what impressions did they leave? At the seminars for educators, teachers looked at basic children’s online safety rules, reviewed helpful resources and materials, and developed strategies for increasing online safety awareness among parents. Students played interactive games on online safety rules, looked at basic netiquette principles featured by the Online-Land website, created presentations on “Online Safety Rules,” made online safety signs and then used them to create colorful collages.

All the campaign participants, both children and adults, appreciated the training for its timeliness, importance and practical usefulness.
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