Internet Safety: Professor Garfield (the cartoon cat!) helps out

Following on from our blog about the Cartoon Network’s efforts with regard to Internet safety, here is another very uesful site for the younger set (kindergarten through eighth grade) put together by the Infinite Learning Lab (a team of the Garfield Foundation, Virginia Department of Education, and the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia).  Check out what Professor Garfield is up to – we think your students will find his guidance both engaging and very useful.  There are some great resources for teachers and parents, too.

Professor Garfield’s Internet Safety and You site is part of infinitelearninglab.org, where you will find a series of interactive, animated lessons on Online Safety, Cyberbullying, Fact or Opinion, Forms of Media.  There is a tutorial (WATCH), guided practice (TRY), and an interactive challenge (APPLY), and each lesson delivers a supportive and scaffolded learning environment for students.  The tutorial is very well done (great interactive graphics) and designed to engage young minds about this subject at a developmentally appropriate level.  Students will really learn something useful about Internet Safety and cyberbullying after completing the exercises.  At completion of the unit, an Internet Safety Certificate can be printed.

Additionally, there are some great resources for teachers on cyberbullying and online safety, which include: Learning Objectives; Build Background; Introduce Vocabulary; Guide the Viewing; Monitor Comprehension; Consolidate Learning; and Wrap Up Topic.  The site also hosts a “Teachers’ Lounge” which is “filled with downloadable resource materials, lesson plans, and links to other outstanding educational websites.”   There is also a section on “Tips for Parents/Caregivers.”

Check out the two Infinite Learning Lab Apps – Professor Garfield Cyberbullying, and Professor Garfield Online Safety – for use with the Apple iPad.  We like the fact that you can also print off much of the content so that it can be used offline, “benefitting the students who do not have internet access” (see our blog on danah boyd and what she has to say about the participation/gap different access in young people’s access to technology).

Don’t forget to check out Professor Garfield’s own educational website, too.

Our Editorial: This looks like a great resource for young students and we think it will really resonate with them, and their teachers.  We particularly like how young people are put at the center of this interactive, collaborative, learning experience.  Way to go, Professor Garfield!  We will be following your achievements and reporting more in later blogs.

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