Course Syllabus

Welcome! You're about to learn some great stuff about Internet safety, social networking, online learning tools, and digital privacy and security.

You might be thinking, "Why do I need to know this stuff? I'm happy with being able to do what I like on the Internet and all the warnings about web safety are over-hyped by anxious teachers and parents."

Well...teachers and parents are supposed to worry about your health and safety so get used to it. And....there are lots of reasons (besides getting super smart) to learn about these things. I won't give the the entire list but I'll mention five important reasons this matters:

1. You could be involved in cyber-bullying without realizing it which could get you in a ton of trouble. It could basically ruin your life.

2. You could share your personal information with someone who is pretending to be trustworthy when in fact they are total slime balls trying to steal your personal information.

3. You could find things you're looking for more quickly - saving you a heck of a lot of time for doing more fun things like listening to music or shopping for things you want.

4. You could become the most knowledgeable person in your school, home, and neighborhood about the Internet. Knowledge is power! 

5. You could enjoy all that the Internet has to offer (and it offers a lot of cool things) while not putting yourself, family or friends at risk. There are bad people out there looking to attract and take advantage of kids who think they know it all. You don't want to be one of those kids.

Now that I have you interested in finding out more, here's what you're going to have to do to be smarter than the above average Internet user. You'll even know a lot more than most adults at the end of this. REMEMBER - knowledge is power.

Things I’ll do for you

Things we’ll do together

Things you will do on your own

Introduce relevant information

Discuss

Read

Ask thoughtful questions

Clarify

Think

Assign interesting work

Argue

Analyze

Recognize and reward your hard work

Create

Present

 

Stuff we will learn about

Why you need to learn it

Browsers and Email

 

Browsers are what you use to access information and content on the Internet. E-mail is a tool everyone uses for personal and business to communicate.

 

Social Networks

 

The Internet is organizing around social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, Linked-In, Twitter, etc. The minute something is “social” it means there are certain rules, regulations, agreements, rewards and consequences. There are also issues about privacy, the content you share (pics, music, thoughts, feelings, and opinions). Finally, social means anyone, anywhere can see what you are doing – yes…even people you don’t friend or invite.

 

 

Privacy and Security

 

Imagine getting into the shower and discovering that the entire world is watching you. Well….the Internet is like a virtual shower stall. Once you log on – your digital self is exposed. And, anything you post (pictures, poems, stories, rants, or ideas) are being stored on a server somewhere which means that someone, somewhere (even years from now) can expose you to the world. You probably won’t want that to happen – in fact, I know you won’t. So…understanding privacy and security is more important than just about anything else when it comes to digital citizenship.

 

Safety and Ethics, Online Community, Culture, and Citizenship

 

 

 

 

You wouldn’t stand in front of someone you don’t know in a grocery store and call them a bad name. Why would you call someone names on the Internet? The same social rules that exist at school, in your family, and in your community apply to the online community. You are just as responsible for what you say and do on the Internet as you are for what you say and do in the real world. And…remember, you can be identified, even when you think you are doing a great job of pretending to be someone else.

 

How To Evaluate a Website

 

Just because something is on the Internet and looks real or true doesn’t mean it is. The Internet is full of websites that are misleading, even dangerous. Anyone can make a website but only smart people can make websites that are useful and accurate. You will learn how to look at websites like expert bankers look at money. Even though two dollar bills may look the same, one might be real and the other a counterfeit. Even the fanciest and most technically slick websites can be false.

 

Research and Keywords

 

The Internet can be an overwhelming place to look for something. Have you heard the expression, “…looking for a needle in a haystack?” That means, if you don’t know how to look for something, it could take you forever to find what you need. Most kids today don’t realize how lucky they are because they weren’t around when researching something meant going to a library and spending an entire day or longer searching through old, musty books for hours and hours. Google wasn’t even a word 15 years ago. While search engines like Google are fantastic time savers and getting smarter all the time, you still have to have some skills to find what you’re looking for. You also need to know that there are tricks to researching things on the Internet. Knowing those tricks can save you hours and make sure that the information you do find is accurate, reliable, and valid.

Using and Citing Online Sources

Copy and Paste is nearly everyone’s best friend. But think for a second. What if you spent a ton of time coming up with a very original drawing, photo, or piece of writing. Imagine you posted this on the Internet to share with friends and the world. You discover that you’re super popular and that everyone is copying your work for their own projects. Then you find out that people are using your great idea but not giving you credit. They are acting as though the idea dropped off a big idea tree – free to anyone who wants it. That’s not how the real world works. There’s something called intellectual property. This means that your ideas belong to you. The law is on your side with this. That’s why when you watch a DVD, there’s an FBI warning at the beginning. It says you could get in big trouble for copying or distributing the movie without the owners’ permission. Most people ignore that warning. Bad idea. You’ll learn how to give people credit for the stuff you borrow. You’ll also learn what you are allowed to copy and paste and what you are not allowed to copy and paste. Remember, just because the Internet is easy to get to doesn’t mean it’s a place where everything is free for the taking.

Copyright, Creative Commons, and Public Domain

 

If there are laws protecting people and intellectual property, there are also laws that protect things businesses create, develop and distribute. So…if you are creating music and making it available to fans, you copyright the material so people can’t sell and distribute your music without giving you a share of the profit. Some things are so old, like songs from the 1800’s, that they no longer belong to a specific person or company. That means they are in the public domain – anyone can use the song in any way they like. The Internet has both copyrighted and public domain materials. Knowing which is which will save you time and frustration.

 

 

Course Summary:

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