That may sound a rather strange question. After all, the internet is there, and young people use it every day.
But what the National Education Network and Lancaster University want to know is, “how do young people and schools use the internet?” “Have they had any bad experiences?” “Do they understand about filtering and esafety?” “And how do their views of digital technology relate to the views of their teachers?”They also want to know about their attitudes to social networking sites. Are they worried about what can happen through the use of these sites, or do they see them as an unremittingly good thing?
Going further, there’s also the question of their mobile phones – how do they use them? When do they use them, and again, do they have any concerns? And indeed should educators, be concerned with how these devices are being used.
At the moment no one is quite sure what young people feel about these digital devices, and how their feelings accord with those of their teachers. Because of this we can’t be sure if current approaches to such issues as filtering and e-safety are the best approaches, or whether we should be working in different ways to ensure that pupils and teachers remain safe when using digital technology.
This new research, (to be conducted across the UK), is being undertaken by the National Education Network (the UK collaborative network for on line education funded by government), and Lancaster University. It consists of simple surveys, one group directed at teachers and personnel in schools (head teachers, safeguarding officers, teachers, non-teaching staff, and governors), and one at pupils – obviously with different questions for each different age group (14-19, 12-14, 10-11, 8-9, and 5-7 years of age).
To find out more, and to access the surveys, go to: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/projects/nen/
The hope is that the results from these surveys will help us develop strategies and educational programs for the future. School teachers, e-Safety Leads and other adults working with children are all encouraged to complete the survey. The results will be viewed in geographical location and all schools who participate can receive an analysis (with no personal details) of the findings for their specific school .