O2 supports e-safety education in schools

In September 2014, the new Computing Curriculum will become a mandatory part of every child’s education, offering opportunities for students to develop the skills to participate confidently and safely in the digital world. The new curriculum aims to develop a combination of analytical and creative skills to help students create purposeful solutions to everyday problems. They’ll learn about ‘computational thinking,’ developing the ability to analyse and solve problems and to design systems that bring ideas to life.

The Computing Curriculum will also place new demands on teachers to further develop their knowledge and resources to support its delivery. It will focus on three key aspects of computing competence:

  • Computer science – introducing the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming
  • Information technology – using information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content
  • Digital literacy – using, expressing and developing their ideas through technology, at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

Since 2012, O2 has been working with schools across the UK to support young people to develop their digital and enterprise skills, as part of our Think Big School programme. Our award winning programme has supported students to use the latest digital technology to develop and prototype their ideas online, exploring both the computer science and information technology elements of the new curriculum.

We know that for many teachers, the refreshed computing curriculum is a chance to build on more traditional ICT lessons in new and exciting ways. For others, whilst they understand the value and relevance of computing, they express real concerns about the knowledge, skills and resources required to respond with confidence to the requirements. We want to do more to help.

That’s why O2 is teaming up with DigitalMe, non-profit agency, to co-develop the Safe programme. Safe, together with O2, is a free programme of practical activities that develop young people’s skills, self-confidence and safety awareness when using social networking sites. The programme, originally developed with support from the Nominet Trust, has already engaged over 3,000 schools in England, helping teachers to deliver the digital literacy aspects of the new Computing Curriculum, teaching children aged 7+ the competencies they need to stay safe online – from setting up a safe social profile, to connecting and commenting and copyright.

Safe encourages students learn through doing, rather than learning offline, like some other e-safety programmes. Teachers and students use a secure, moderated online community to undertake practical digital activities or ‘missions’ exploring their attitudes towards safety, privacy and conduct online. Students are rewarded for successfully completing ‘digital missions’ through Open Badges, an exciting new digital currency, which help to recognise and reward skills gained online.

Digital skills are fast becoming the fourth literacy – as important as reading, writing or maths. Through the Safe programme, O2 and Nominet hope to support thousands of schools to teach the building blocks of staying safe online, helping children and young people to get the most from the digital world. Importantly, the Safe programme also provides resources to enable parents to continue embedding online safety practices with their children at home, equipping parents with the information they need to guide their families in a fast changing digital world.

For more information about the Safe programme or to sign your school up, visit: http://www.digitalme.co.uk/safe/. To find out more about the range of ways that O2 supports customers to stay safe online, click here.