Friday, 31 January 2014

Back to School: Digital Passport Review

As a teacher and a parent I have learned that cybersafety and cyber citizenship are a big deal as children start to use their own devices and online research. This landscape is constantly changing and I believe it's vital to start the practice of modelling and discussing appropriate ways to behave and interact online from the time kids begin to use digital devices and computers. It's right up there with teaching manners, stranger awareness and crossing the street.

The great thing is that there are a LOT of FREE resources out there now to help parents and educators to support children as they enter online and digital spaces.

screenshot from mobile App
Name of App: Digital Passport
Publisher: Commonsense Media (you can find a link to their site from this blog)
Format: iOS 4.3 or later - there is also a web-based version available to schools
Cost (at time of review): Free
Target Age Group: 8+
What does it do?
This App has a series of short exercises, videos and games centred around different issues such as creating good searches, sharing online and appropriate use of cellphones (which can be applied to tablets,smartphones etc). Your child's school might already be signed up, in which case it us worth asking your child to show you some of the things they have learned about. As a parent, I think the video clips and games are fantastic as a springboard for opening up discussions about how to use technology. You and your child could formulate guidelines around appropriate use of technology at home and how to tackle problems or issues they might be experiencing. It's also a good way for you to reflect on your own use of technology and help you to be safe online too.

The downside of this App is that it's built around an American rather than Australian context, so you may need to come up with parallels of your own when discussing some of the video clips. One video talks about the term pitcher as it's used in baseball and as a water jug, but given how many American pop culture references we use daily, some kids might be able to relate better than us parents!

Rating: 5 out of 5
This App is supported by the Commonsense media website which has wonderful resources to help parents. This is well worth a look for your own information and education. 

Are there any other similar Apps or websites you have come across that you have found useful related to this topic? Please comment below!


1 comment:

  1. Bummer! Just went to check out this app and it is now priced at $2.99. And the classroom edition is $4.99. Not exactly a deal breaker at that price (for an individual/family) but I like to know what I am getting before I plunk down my moolah so a free version is always appreciated as a trial...


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