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| Published 4. 12. 2014. 11:58 | RSS

"Child Online Safety" Project Results Presented in CARNet

Results of the "Child Online Safety" project were presented at CARNet today, 4 December 2014. For the purposes of the school curriculum on the safe use of the Internet within the "Child Online Safety" project, school teachers from five elementary schools in Croatia have created more than 800 various digital educational contents.

Textbooks and e-textbooks in virtual classroom, manuals for teachers and parents and various multimedia such as quizzes, animated stories, computer games and video recordings are available free-of-charge to elementary schools at the project's web site petzanet.hr and its YouTube channel. The objective of this curriculum is to improve digital competences of children and encourage them to take responsibility for their own safety, with emphasis on strengthening and highlighting the responsible behaviour of digital citizenship, as well as increasing the knowledge and understanding of the problem of online safety of children in general. That's what the representatives of Veliki Bukovec Elementary School, co-ordinator of this project, and their partners, Mato Lovrak Elementary School from Nova Gradiška, Popovača Elementary School, Gripe Elementary School in Split, Mladost Elementary School in Osijek and CARNet, the host, said on today's media conference.

During the course of 16 months, project partners have created a school curriculum, organised in four modules according to the age of school children and containing five units: information, communications, content creation, safety and problem solving. Some of the topics covered by the curriculum are personal data protection, netiquette guidelines, dangers of social networks, sharing and copyright, identity theft, digital traces, critical information evaluation and prevention of electronic violence.

Textbooks and manuals were prepared in PDF and flip format, and the authoring team is particularly proud with e-textbooks in virtual classroom and multimedia educational contents with games and animated stories which provide students with an opportunity for self-supported learning, identification with real characters and real-life situations. Also, original online games were developed for all ages of school children in order to train and develop motor abilities by solving various problems, and adopt appropriate behavioural patterns for responsible and safe use of Internet, computers and mobile technologies. Advantages of Internet platforms were also used and quizzes prepared in Zondle.

While solving quizzes, school children are provided with feedback and the opportunity to play a game of their own choice. Such a method of knowledge assessment encourages school children to exercise independently and acquire new knowledge through play, while providing school teachers with the option to organise a competition (Zondle challenge) in order for school children to show their knowledge individually or in groups.

The materials contain numerous links to other contents or external information sources, and are also characterised by responsive design, which means that their content automatically adjusts to the screen of the device. Another special feature are manuals for parents following each teaching unit from the textbook, explaining to them why some topics are discussed with children, what they should know about the particular topic and what they can do to support their children so they could easily find their way and grow up in the virtual world. Also, manuals can be very helpful to parents, because many of them do not know much about this subject matter.

Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet has been actively participating in this project from the start, consulting teachers, promoting contents and enabling storage of all educational contents on its servers.

CARNet systematically conducts research activities in the field of online security of its users; it also used the analysed data from those research activities in this project. CARNet also assumed an important role in dissemination of project results to the entire educational system, by means of stimulation and support to schools in the preparation of school curricula on the online safety of children and youth.

Throughout the project, more than 5400 school children and parents from five counties were included in various activities, while more than 20 thousand people participated in numerous workshops, exhibitions and interactive round tables. During the final phase of the project, school curricula got evaluated by schools which participated in the project as well as by external advisors, and pilot testing with 440 school children and parents was also performed. All participating schools have also been equipped with mobile classrooms, with each containing an interactive board with a projector and a total of 120 tablet devices with keyboards for school children.

The partners presented this project in numerous domestic and international conferences, and they are also proud because Microsoft included five of their schools into the 'Showcase Schools' programme for the school year 2014/ 2015, among 120 schools from all over the world, on account of innovative application of technology in teaching activities leading towards a new transformation of the educational system.

The project was financed from the European Union IPA programme with HRK 2.5 million, and was also supported by the Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet, Education and Teacher Training Agency, Croatian Personal Data Protection Agency and a number of local institutions and organisations.