25 Replies Latest reply on Apr 29, 2014 8:04 AM by jpillmon

    Protecting Yourself Online


      The Heartbleed Bug is in the news putting passwords and credit cards at risk and possibly compromising routers and other networking infrastructure.  One of the many suggestions shared with individuals to deal with the issue is to change passwords; especially for banking and other personal passwords. This presents a great opportunity for teachers to teach a lesson on internet security and follow up on an earlier discussion on Protecting Yourself Online.

      What constitutes a strong password?

      • It should be at least 8 characters long
      • Do not include your user name, real name or the name of your business
      • Consider using the first letter of a phrase (i.e. My 6 sisters are my best friends! (M6sambf!))
      • Create an acronym based on easy to remember information
      • Substitute a symbol for a letter or word to create a memorable phrase
      • Make a compound word by combining small words (Mydog8thOmeWrk)


      Strong passwords are comprised of these different categories: 

      • Uppercase letters (J, K, L, etc.)
      • Lowercase letters (c, d, e, etc.)
      • Numbers (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9)
      • Symbols found on your keyboard (#$*&=+, etc.)

      The internet provides a number of exceptional lessons that can be used to facilitate teaching internet security to students. A number of lessons that can be used include:

      How can a safe password protect your information

      Manage Your Digital Footprint

      Privacy Online

      What lessons and or resources are you using to teach internet security and help students to develop into safe online users?



      Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8258413

        • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

          Janice Ricks, Bertie County Schools

          In my school district the Instructional Technology Facilitator and Media Coordinator conducts several trainings during the school year to inform students and parents about how to keep children safe while using the internet.  We invited the District Attorney to participate in a roundtable discussion with the students to talk about  laws that are applicable to cyber-bullying. We created a PowerPoint Presentation that highlighted internet safety procedures and standards, cyber bullying, CIPPA laws and the district's acceptable use policy.


          Valerie Asbell District Attorney.jpg



          Webcam Safety

          • Never do random chats.

          • Only chat with family and friends.

          • Never do anything on a webcam you would not want up on this screen.

          • Think before uploading video responses.

            • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

              Another password suggestion is to change it every 3 months or so (we are required by our school district to do so). It can be a pain, but is probably worth it.

              • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                Janice, what an awesome way to engage students, parents and teachers in a discussion on the effects of cyber bullying.  I would like to challenge other schools/district to share how they are making a difference in their school or district.  Glen, I tag you.  Share what you are doing and tag a new community member.

                  • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                    These are all excellent reminders of online safety. I recently had a hallway discussion with a couple of our Student Council members. I was surprised (unfortunately) that they mentioned using the same online password for all their social media sites. I took time to share how to create a more secure password than the "name of their pet." They were excited to learn the idea of substituting a "0" for the letter "o" or a "$" for the letter "s." Both promised to change their passwords that same day.


                    With regards to the "tagging" - since I am currently "IT." If you just use a person's name such as "Blanca" or "Deb" that person does not learn they were tagged unless they happen to visit that web page. To tag a person you need to do the following:

                    • Use the "@" symbol before the person's name - e.g. @Blanca or @Deb
                    • This will bring up a pop-up menu with names on it. Click the name of the person you are tagging and their name will show up in the discussion.




                    With that explanation, I tag both blancaedu and deb_norton to share their ideas on how teachers can and should help students protect themselves online.

                      • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                        HI glen_w and thanks for tagging me. I tagged you back. I've been dealing with travel and bronchitis but feeling better today so I'm able to respond. Thanks for being patient (I know you have tagged me before - I promise to get around to those too.)

                        I believe students and teachers should be aware of how to protect themselves and how to properly interact online. Learning about citizenship should include all aspects of how students interact with the world, including online. Many districts who embark on digital journeys including 1:1 learning initiatives and BYOD don't always think of the consequences of not teaching their students about how to be good digital citizens or how to stay safe (or secure passwords) online. Until we (education) begins to see this as necessary to embed throughout our students' learning journey in school, it will stay where it sometimes is, in a computer class around 7th or 8th grade in middle school.


                        Fortunately I have worked with some wonderful districts who see the value of not only educating students and modeling good social and online behavior, but who have also included parents and teachers in workshops, to help them learn about digital citizenship as well.


                        Some ways that I would suggest helping students protect themselves online include:

                        • Asking students to come up with scenarios around digital online interactions they can discuss and have conversations around
                        • Introducing digital safety topics to students at an early age and embedding safety and security throughout library and ELA classes (I suggest all classes but only after teachers get educated about it too)
                        • Promoting responsible use instead of Acceptable use
                        • Inviting community members to meetings throughout the year to talk with teachers and their children about how to stay safe online, interact responsibly, etc.
                        • Making sure that teachers (as well as students) are educated about social media, the district policy and allowances around Internet use
                        • Asking students to promote digital awareness as part of projects in their classes
                        • Using resources like Common Sense Media and National Tech Goes Home with students and parents to help them become more digitally aware
                        • Sending away for Internet safety kits from the FCC and/or NetSmartz
                        • Embedding the Digital Passport or Learning.com curriculum in school (even though I believe conversations are best, some learners take to digital content best, plus there are online assessments students can take to let you know whether they understand the material)


                        In one of my districts we came up with a 3 part approach to teaching digital citizenship. The first was an introduction to Internet Safety, then to Social Media and then to Digital Footprints. This lesson is one of my favorites and one that can be repeated throughout the grades.


                        I suppose the main thing that I would say to teachers about keeping students safe online is knowing children's boundaries, respecting that they use the Internet differently than we do, allowing students to have a voice in how technology is used in school, and providing a safe place for them and a person to go to, if they find themselves in trouble. I don't think I approach the teaching of Internet safety or digital citizenship any differently than I would with my own child. Sometimes just asking questions, even if your child has repeatedly said everything is fine, can make a difference.

                          • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                            Blanca, this is great information. My district has been reviewing and revising our AUP to determine how it can best support 21st century learning. Some previous wording was quickly deleted and discussions are happening relating to digital citizenship. I'd love to learn more about the 3 part approach (Internet Safety, Social Media, and Digital Footprints.)

                              • Re: Protecting Yourself Online


                                The approach that we took was taking all the different components that comprise Digital Literacy and embedded learning about Internet Safety, Social Media and Digital Citizenship within the larger goal of becoming digitally literate. That being said, here are the topics that were included. I hope this is helpful to you:


                                We broke it down into Internet Safety, Digital Citizenship and Social Media: Internet Safety included Internet predators and Cyberbullying; Digital Citizenship included texting, responsible use, understanding copyright and plagiarism, and understanding your own "teacher" and "student" digital footprints. Finally Social Media included helping students and teachers understand how to use social media to help them learn, grow professionally and highlight the district. We used the videos on CommonSenseMedia as much as possible but also used lesson plans that included lessons that helped students understand what their digital footprint said about them.


                                Here are some examples:


                                HS Grade 9-12 College Application lesson: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/college-bound-9-12


                                Two lesson plans that teachers can use with students to see their "digital footprint"




                                Resources for schools:


                                National Speak Up Survey - http://tomorrow.org/speakup/

                                Nielsen Mobile Stats - http://www.nielsen.com

                                Common Sense Media - http://www.commonsensemedia.org/

                                National Tech Goes Home - http://www.nationaltechgoeshome.org/

                                  • Re: Protecting Yourself Online



                                    Thanks for the additional information. I shared the Password link and my screenshot with our Computer Science teachers today. I explained how I created the Password in about 3 seconds and it was one I will easily remember if I use it. (It, however, is NOT something I've used as a Password before.) I suggested they share the link with their students and let them play with different Passwords on their own. I also offered to let them use my screenshot to see if students could beat my results. The teachers were very excited about it. (One teacher told me after school that he ONLY uses ONE password for everything he does because he will otherwise forget it. This teacher, by the way, is the youngest in our building. I guess there is still room for growth.)


                                    I cannot wait to review the ideas you shared about Digital Literacy.

                              • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                                I'm not sure if you have ever seen this Intel resource but it's fun to play and interesting to see how sometimes we think passwords are strong but they are not. Typically (generally speaking) the longer the password, the harder it is to crack.


                                How Strong is Your Password?

                                  • Re: Protecting Yourself Online



                                    Thanks for the reminder of an excellent resource. I've attached a screenshot based on how I create passwords. (By the way, my tech person said he "HATES" my passwords. When I asked, he said it was because his fingers to not naturally use the keyboard that way .


                                    I think we should have a competition and see who can break the 1000 year mark! Susan Gauthier! and dougemints - have at it and see how your password strength is!

                                      • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                                        Hi Glen and Blanca,

                                        You seem to have such an interesting conversation going, I though I would get involved and share a little about what we did in one county in North Carolina. The district was preparing to go 1:1 and wanted to get the entire school community involved.  So prior to distributing computers to the students, they scheduled a week long internet safety extravaganza.  They started by collaborating with my co-worker and me to help design the week.  We began the day before it was to begin by introducing it on the local radio station with a call in discussion on internet safety.  We then traveled each day visiting two schools daily (morning/afternoon) to have a panel discussion with students.  We ended the week attending the PTA meeting and presenting to parents.  It was an awesome way to get everyone involved and listening to strategies, asking questions and thinking about the importannce of effective technology and internet use.


                                        Thank you both for sharing.  I would also like to share with you this site for checking the strength of a password.  @Janice Ricks, I tag you.  How strong is your password?

                                          • Re: Protecting Yourself Online



                                            Your idea of including the local radio station and PTA meetings is great. Helping the public recognize how school's value Internet Safety is very important. I am hopeful my district's updated AUP is done soon and that it is more appropriate for today's Internet use. Thanks so much for starting this discussion. I hope jpillmon responds to your tag.

                                            • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                                              Gail, thank you for sharing your ideas - they sound wonderful.What a way to include the whole community in learning and modeling what an important conversation the one around and about Internet safety is. I love the ideas and will share with others (and link this post).


                                              Glen, it looks like you have been busy making sure your students have secure passwords. Creating awareness is a great way to help adults and children become more digitally literate! 


                                              Kudos to the both of you for spreading the word (little w)!

                                              glen_w holmesg

                                                • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                                                  Our newest computer teacher was shocked when he checked his password. (He uses the same password for everything - including his banking.) The time to hack was 0.0012 seconds. He showed me the score and then blurted out "maybe that's why my email was hacked yesterday. Do you think I should change my password?"


                                                  I was polite and said to only change the password if he did not want someone playing with his bank account. He then continued "I don't know what to use for a new password." We had a NICE chat about options. He tested one idea three different ways (lower case only, upper and lower case, and then mixed case with a symbol.) He was shocked at the difference case and symbols made.


                                                  Have you seen any such password horror stories?

                                                • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                                                  Sorry, I did not see this tag. I think my passwords are strong. I always use caps, symbols and numbers when creating passwords. I try to think of events that are only known to me to uses as a basis for my passwords. Ex… 9_3rdKraM: This password denotes my 9th grade year in school, during 3rd block I kissed a boy named Mark under the stairs. (First kiss and only known by me and of course Mark) LOL.

                                                • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                                                  Um, my first attempt scored 71 years! I need to probably try harder

                                              • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                                                What? glen_w tagged me?  A week ago?  I wonder why I didn't get a notification of being tagged?  I just happened to come across this thread tonight and was surprised to see my name was mentioned.  I'm so out of the loop!


                                                So many great ideas have been shared in this discussion that I don't have a whole lot to add.  I will share that when I teach students and staff about digital footprints I actually call them a digital tattoos because the pictures, videos and text that are posted on the Internet are very difficult to remove, much like a tattoo.


                                                Our district is in the process of writing policies for student privacy and digital citizenship. I really appreciate all of the fabulous ideas that have been shared in this discussion.  I only wish I had come across the conversations earlier.


                                                Thanks for sharing everyone!

                                                  • Re: Protecting Yourself Online



                                                    I like the concept of a "Digital Tattoo." You are correct that what is posted digitally is very difficult to remove.


                                                    I wonder if you did not get the "tag" notification because of a preference you have set. I did not know it was possible to "not get tag notifications." Please let us know if there is a preference setting we should notify everyone about.

                                            • Re: Protecting Yourself Online

                                              Thank you everyone for sharing all of these terrific ideas and resources! This will come in handy with the teachers I train!