Tuesday, November 23, 2010

FBI & Internet Safety

At the Illinois Education & Technology Conference last week, I learned of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Safe Online Surfing (FBI-SOS) Internet Challenge.  It contains some amazing Internet Safety activities, available free for schools and parents!  What's more, it allows teachers to track which students have completed modules on which topics, allowing for easier documentation of activities and a simple way to be certain that schools are complying with Internet Safety mandates.

The FBI-SOS curriculum is concise, with each module consisting of pre-tests, scavenger hunts, and post-tests, in the following areas & grade levels:

There are a couple of drawbacks:
  1. Participation does require the collection of parent permission slips (available in both English & Spanish), as student names are required to assign usernames in the system.  The FBI-SOS Privacy Policy is very clear about what data is collected and how it is used.
  2. Each module's pre-test, scavenger hunt, and post-test must occur within the same calendar month, which could make for some tricky scheduling in some cases.

However, these drawbacks are fairly minor considering the benefits:
  1. Comprehensive, levelled curriculum from arguably the most reliable source for quality information about student safety on the Internet.
  2. Fun and interesting activities that entertain, engage, and inform.
  3. Pre-tests & post-tests that measure student growth & learning.
  4. Students do not need email addresses to participate.
  5. Teachers have no papers to grade - the site does everything for you.
  6. Teachers and administrators are provided with reports on student progress through topics covered, to ease documentation for Internet Safety Mandates.
  7. Come on, it's the FBI!  How cool is THAT?

This might be a nice addition to your current Internet Safety lessons in Grades 3-8.  If you're still wondering how to help your school comply with Internet Safety Mandates, this would be an excellent way to start!

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