A couple of years ago our school signed up the E-Smart Schools program overseen by the Madeline and Alannah foundation. The program has involved us following a process that has been really great for our school to follow, We started the journey with a thorough audit of our current practices and from this audit we worked out the areas we needed to improve on. Following the audit way back then we established a bit of a to-do list. Included in that initial list were:
- Forming an E-Smart committee
- Conducting regular E-Smart meetings
- Including E-Smart updates in our sections and while staff meetings.
We have come along way since the initial planning stage of the program. Two years on and we feel as a whole school we have a much better direction in terms of a coherent whole school approach to teaching kids (and the community) about staying safe online. As a result of the program we now have a number of initiatives in practice in our school. Some of the items that have been implemented as a result of our E-Smart program include:
- Establishment of an E-Smart policy
- Updated Internet and email policy
- Updated enrollment forms-to include sections about the responsible use of technology
- New whole school behavior/incident tracking system.
- The introduction of ‘Cyber Safety’ Shows for our student shows.
- A P-6 curriculum document that outlines the explicit teaching of cyber safety behaviours
- Regular professional development for teachers (from both internal and external providers)
- Information sessions for parents and students from the same providers.
- Regular presentations not just from ACMA’s outreach program but also from local police (cyber crime unit) to share information with our students.
- Regular E-Smart meetings and updates
- A parent communication program where they get regular cyber safety tips and updates via email and the school newsletter.
We are very proud of how far we have come as a school but we are also aware that the technology is changing rapidly and will continue to do so. We know that we have to continue to learn about new online technologies and more importantly how people use these technologies. Overall, we know that the internet is a fantastic tool and we want to encourage our students to use it for the many positive things it has going for it .