The program was developed by NetAlert Limited, Australia’s Internet safety advisory body. NetAlert was established by the Australian Government in 1999 to provide independent advice and education on Internet safety, and to manage access to online content.
As a precursor to developing curriculum materials, NetAlert commissioned an audit of Internet safety content in current curriculum frameworks, syllabuses and policies within Australian school systems. The results highlighted significant gaps and inconsistencies in the teaching of Internet safety, which is yet to be formally included in State and Territory school curriculum frameworks. In the 2004 NetAlert Education Plan, the Australian Government and educational departments unanimously agreed on the importance of Internet safety skills in the curriculum.
Delivery of the program to Australian schools is occurring in three phases, over three years. Phase 1 of the program was launched in June 2004. CyberQuoll is the Phase 2 primary resource. The first in a series of online interactive activities will be progressively released from 4 April, 2005.
Educational materials for all three phases are designed to be cross-curricular. The materials are integrated to promote wide use of the resources by teachers across a range of subject areas.
These resources were delivered to every school (primary and secondary) in Australia, and are available from the CyberSafe Schools website.
Phase 2 – CyberQuoll and the primary classroom
Phase 2 of the CyberSafe Schools program is called CyberQuoll. Under CyberQuoll Internet safety curriculum materials will be sent to every Australian school with primary school students. Delivery is occurring incrementally over the first half of 2005.
NetAlert is very excited about CyberQuoll, as it will provide teachers with multifaceted educational strategies, expertly designed for primary school students. The resources will include an interactive CD-ROM presenting student activities, as well as offline teacher support materials.
The CD-ROM will specifically include an engaging interactive feature, in which a range of Internet safety issues are examined through multi-scenario animations and pedagogically relevant games. The resources will also be accessible from the Internet, and the supporting materials available for download. Parents and children will have the opportunity to view the materials on their home computer, providing an extra learning dimension to the resources.
CyberQuoll will deliver a number of stand alone learning modules, which have been identified using an analysis of major global research on current Internet safety issues facing primary school aged children. Each new learning module will focus on a critical online safety issue relevant to primary students.
The flexible computer-based program allows teachers either to use all of the learning modules in their class, or to use individual environments as fully independent learning programs.
As with CyberSafe Schools Phase 1, NetAlert have enlisted the services of the Curriculum Corporation. Curriculum Corporation is an independent developer, which has expertise in the management, production, and distribution of educational multimedia resources and associated teaching materials and student activities.
For CyberQuoll, NetAlert have also chosen the innovative production house Nectarine, which has over a decade’s experience in creating highly engaging educational projects.
The use of information communication technologies (ICT) is still growing exponentially, and it is anticipated that the Internet will continue to play a central role in people’s lives. By 2006, secondary students will face new online safety challenges, and any Internet safety education will need to reflect the contemporary challenges of the day. With this in mind, NetAlert is committed to delivering a progressive online safety package that will not only match the target audience’s ever increasing computer savvy, but also provide up-to-the-minute online safety resources.
As these new resources are developed, they will be delivered free to Australian schools, and will also be made available from the CyberSafe Schools website.
To support the program NetAlert has developed a CyberSafe Newsletter to keep you updated and informed about CyberSafe Schools project developments.
We encourage you and your colleagues to subscribe and take advantage of the many free educational resources we will promote in the months to come. We welcome contributions and are keen to hear your thoughts and suggestions on Internet safety.
In the curriculum
Ensuring the integration of Internet safety into school curriculum frameworks is a worthy social investment in the future of Australia’s youth. Teaching about Internet safety within the context of various teaching programs is essential if students are to make full and informed use of the Internet as a safe and rich source for learning.
CyberSafe Schools represents an important contribution to the broader goal of Australian education to produce students who are confident and creative in the use of information communication technologies. We encourage all teaching staff to take advantage of its free resources.
Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training; State and Territory Education Departments; the National Catholic Education Commission; and the Independent Schools Council of Australia, Curriculum Corporation, NetAlert Education Plan, February 2004.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Computers in society