The British Computer Society (BCS) describes itself as The Chartered Institute for IT. It is a charity with a distinguished past and an important future. Previously BCS did some excellent work promoting the “European Computer Driving Licence”. As the name suggests the ECDL is pretty generic. The course they do which is associated with it can be an excellent introduction for people coming to computers for the first time or who are in need of a refresher. The ECDL covers the basics explaining, among other things, about database software, presentation software, word processing and spreadsheets as well as the internet, email and the fundamentals of good security practice.
Now the BCS has developed a new package which, quite simply, it calls “e-safety”. Whereas the ECDL is designed for a range of potential audiences, “e-safety” has been expressly put together for schools. And of course it is all about the internet. I did the test and passed! Not sure what I would have done if I’d failed. Probably banished myself to Siberia.
The package comprises 30 hours of learning, of which 20 are guided. 20 lesson plans are provided mapped to the curriculum for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 and there is the test which I took to verify that the candidate has understood the concepts that have been presented in the lessons.
You are taken through fundamentals like how to delete files and the role and importance of the Recycle Bin, the history file in the browser and similar. You also learn about malware and how to combat it by ensuring you keep all your software up to date. The importance of firewalls and anti-virus software are explained and triple underlined.
Social networking sites get a lot of attention
Social networking site do’s and don’t, understandably, get a great deal of attention as they are probably the most used applications by children and young people across the world.
Sadly cyber bullying will be an issue in practically every school in the country. A lot of it will be linked to social networking sites, but some will not and may involve mobile phones or other internet enabled devices. These are also dealt with in some depth on the course, and there is a particular section which addresses reporting abusive behaviour, whether to the site where the bad behaviour happened or is happening, or to the police or CEOP in certain types of cases.
Cookies are explained and real situations are simulated so that students can learn from and in environments which they will readily recognise. The language is typically plain and straightforward, which of course it needs to be, not for the kids but usually for the teachers!!!
Not funky, but effective
It wasn’t the funkiest presentation I’ve seen of late but it certainly was thorough, plus you’ve got the extra reassurance of the BCS imprimatur. Anyone who gets beyond their pass mark will definitely have shown they have the knowledge to use the internet safely. It covers everything that might be referred to in any of the curricula used in the schools of the four nations within the UK.
Demo being arranged in London
Any teachers living in or around London and the South-East might like to take a closer look. They are putting on a demo of the materials and the examination at their London office on 15th November. Not sure if they are doing a roadshow for those who live too far away to make a mid-week trip to the capital a possibility but you could always ask.