Whilst e-safety teaching should be something that is embedded into any lesson in which children access the Internet, it is still necessary to spend some time specifically teaching it at some point for each year group so that they understand what good online behaviours are and why they are needed, at an age-appropriate level.
As is important to show progression in ICT skills from one year group to the next, I start with the basics in the the first 'e-safety' lesson that I do with Year 3 - learning about the historical development of communication technologies and how different digital devices enable different types of messages to be sent.
To start, we have a discussion about what communication technologies they can name/are familiar with, emphasising how digital devices are those which are powered by electricity. I explain to them how different digital communication hardware allow you to do different things:
- portable devices let you communicate whilst travelling;
- a microphone and headphones/speakers are required to send/receive audio;
- a screen and a camera are required to send/receive video.
I also point out to them that some methods have limits (e.g. attachment sizes, character limits).
Next, I ask them to create a poster in PowerPoint comparing and explaining the functions of three different digital communication devices - a webcam, a computer and a mobile phone. (Thanks to Bev Evans for the original idea!)
I provide them with a sheet prompting them with some key words/phrases that they might find useful to include:
After that, I teach them about the historical development of communication technologies - notably how older methods in comparison to modern methods only let you send short messages and these were slow to send. I let them have a go at completing three on-screen learning activities I've made using 2DIY to cover the history in an interesting way: a cloze procedure about the history, a sorting activity about old/modern communication methods and a drag/drop timeline to show the order in which electronic communication methods were invented. Children really enjoy doing these activities - they seem to like learning about how people communicated in the past and how technology has developed/improved over time. They are always espescially fascinated to learn that emailing came before the World Wide Web so I use it as a convenient point to explain how the Internet is millions of computers connected together and that emailing and web browsing are just things that you can do over the Internet.
I find that the lesson is nicely pitched at a Year 3 level and enables the children to understand/appreciate how different communication devices are suitable for different purposes.