e-Safety and Web 2.0 report published

Becta recently commissioned the University of Nottingham in conjunction with London Knowledge Lab and Manchester Metropolitan University to research Web 2.0 technologies for learning at Key Stages 3 and 4. The aims of this research was to help shape Becta’s thinking and inform policymakers, schools and local authorities on the potential benefits of Web 2.0 technologies and how their use can be effectively and safely realised.

The 5 reports can be found here.

A report on “e-Safety and Web 2.0” has now been published. This report is focused on e-safety issues relevant to the use of Web 2.0 in education.

The main issue in considering the use of Web 2.0 in School is how to support children to engage in productive and creative social learning whilst also protecting them from the risks. Most learners questioned in the survey were aware of internet dangers, although many demonstrated poor practice such as around password security.

Key pointa:

  • E-safety concerns can be a barrier to the adoption of Web 2.0 activity
  • Schools have a clear role in educating children for safe and responsible engagement with Web 2.0 and the internet in general. As most learners have access to the internet outside of school, this education is important even if Web 2.0 sites are blocked on the school network.
  • Despite a desire from some teachers to explore its benefits for creativity and social learning, they are often constrained by real or perceived limitations set by local authorities and schools
  • In an increasingly risk-averse society, where schools and local authorities are vulnerable to legal action, there is a strong incentive to avoid risk to children from internet predators and abusers. This concern was often focused on avoiding the most extreme, but rare cases.
  • Parents have concerns about e-safety, but are generally positive about the use of technology to support learning.

The majority of the experts surveyed advocated an ‘empower and manage’ approach, in which schools allow children access to public Web 2.0 sites in a supported and structure way. Children should be educated and helped in school to use Web 2.0 activities for responsible and creative learning. Children’s web activity should be monitored and action taken against any using threatening behavior or unsafe practices online.

However is this practical in schools? Are any Schools in Kent (or otherwise) actively engaging in Web 2.0 in the classroom?  Should we be moving away from blocking and filtering young peoples access and enabling them develop safe online behaviours and attitudes towards being a responsible online citizen?

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