Friday, October 25, 2013

Protect My Rep: Social Media Awareness for Middle School Students


This week I began rolling out iPads to our students in grades 3-8. Before students use these devices I go into each classroom and conduct an online safety presentation.  We talk about staying safe online and the students have a contract that needs to be signed by them, their parents and the administration of the school; all pledging to be safe online.

The presentation for the younger students (found here) is definitely applicable to the middle school students but they need something more; something that relates a little bit more to social media use online and deals with what students can and cannot do legally. 

Recently in my classes at Dominican and National Louis Universities I spoke with my undergraduate students about “digital tattoos”. We completed an exercise on data-mining strangers (which I will post about soon).   Whether at the middle school level or pre-service teacher level all students need to be aware of their digital image!  Jennifer, one of the students that presented on this topic, introduced me to a site that I haven’t heard of before.  This site was so impressive to me that I decided to create a presentation for our middle school students based almost exclusively on the site’s contents.  The site is “ProtectMyRep”.



ProtectMyRep is a creation of ThreeSixty Journalisma youth journalism program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. This site, funded through a grant was created by teen team members- all high school juniors and seniors from Minneapolis, St. Paul or the suburbs (including one member from Wisconsin). 

ThreeSixty Journalism has a great website that contains more information about the organization as well as information for students, teachers, partners and volunteers.  They publish a print magazine (also available on the site as a pdf) that focuses on issues important to teens.  The September 2013 edition dubbed “The Technology Issue” had some fantastic conversations about digital footprints including an article about how Minnesota police track social media sites.  Be sure to check it out. ThreeSixty Journalism encourages teens to join the conversation by using #protectmyrep on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

The following Prezi is the presentation I created for my middle school students to begin the discussion on Internet Safety.  While I could have simply taken them to the site to view it I decided to make a Prezi so that we could pause the conversation as we talked and have it available for any of my teachers that wanted to lead the discussion on their own.  It also enabled me to be offline and not worry about an Internet Connection.  By leading presentations such as these we begin to build awareness in students and help them learn how to make wise choices online. 




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