Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Online Security and Research for Freshmen Seminar

High school students have a variety of needs in the areas of cybersecurity and web utilization. The students have more freedom than ever before and higher expectations to meet. All freshmen at Jefferson High School take a freshman seminar class, which includes lessons on career paths, study skills and strategies to get the most out of high school. The class is one trimester long.

The freshman seminar class provides an ideal opportunity for instructing students in methods to stay safe while using the Internet. It is also a great time for students to learn how to improve their research skills in order to meet the higher expectations of high school. In order to meet the needs of high school teachers, students and parents, I propose a combination of lessons focused on online safety and research skills.

Freshman parents will attend a session during the September Open House. Commonsense Media provides a great presentation to introduce the subject and begin a dialog Digital Life: Our Kids’ Connect Culture. Parents and students will complete the Common Sense media agreement for parents and teens in high school as an artifact. The intended outcome is to raise awareness and improve the dialog between parents, students and teachers. Students will discuss the agreements when they begin the safety lessons during their seminar.
When students begin the research lessons during the seminar, the following resources will also be available to parents.
• Parent Tip Sheet: Smart Search Online
• Parent Tip Sheet: Research and Evaluation
• Parent Tip Sheet: Wikipedia
• Parent Tip Sheet: Managing Multitasking
• Parent Tip Sheet: High Tech Cheating
• Wikipedia Tips
• Managing Multitasking
• Cheating Goes Hi-Tech

The Privacy and Digital Footprint Overview describes two lessons in which students learn about managing their privacy and the dangers of the permanent nature of Internet contributions. Commonsense Media provides the following objectives for these two lessons:

Students will:
• Learn that they have a public presence online called a digital footprint
• Recognize the importance of context in posting or viewing online images
• Reflect on how to protect the privacy of others online
• Consider how to present an authentic and positive image of themselves online

Students will complete these lessons during the first week of the freshman seminar. They will begin the discussion of their online footprint by sharing the media agreement they created with their parents. As the lessons progress, they will be required to discuss their learning with their parents and share the Privacy and Reputation HS Parent Tips. The two lessons are Private Today, Public Tomorrow (9-10) and College Bound (11-12). Although the second lesson is for juniors and seniors, it applies to the seminar class because one of the goals of the class is to prepare students for life after high school.

The Searching Unit Overview describes one lesson in which students learn strategies for conducting online research. Commonsense Media provides the following objectives for this lesson:

Students will:
• Understand the importance of using a variety of search strategies
• Master new strategies for effective and efficient online searches
• Learn to create and execute a five-step plan for conducting an online search

Students will complete the Strategic Searching (9-12) lesson during the fourth week of the class before they begin the career research project. The lesson and the practice will help students be more productive when they research during the rest of their high school years.

Teachers will complete a training session during the pre-service meetings in August. They will complete the online Curriculum Overview tutorial, which introduces curriculum concepts and materials. The focus is on safety and protecting students’ online presence. The teachers will be introduced to the schedule, concepts, and curriculum that will be provided during the freshmen seminar. Teachers will also complete the Strategic Searching lesson in groups in order to help reinforce the skills throughout the students’ high school careers. During these pre-service meetings, teachers will also have the opportunity to discuss implementing more lessons in their own classes and discuss the parent information.

This was written in a word processing software, and pasted into this space. During the transfer, all of the links were lost. You may see the post here with all of the links in the correct places.


  1. JKies - Nice. I also aimed for my teacher sessions to be during pre-service in August. I our district, I doubt if it would get any time for, as you well know, we usually have more important things to tend to ... whatever. We can still keep pushing, though. Great resources - a few of those look familiar. :)

  2. You have a good set of resources. I must admit that I am impressed with your salvage move in the final paragraph where you linked to the Google Doc that contains all of your links.