PROMOTING DIGITAL AWARENESS AT SCHOOL: A THREE-YEAR INVESTIGATION IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
1 Themis Research Center (ITALY)
2 Univ. Roma "Tor Vergata" (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Educating to the responsible use of digital technology has become a hot topic over the last few years. Because of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, educational institutions have relied on online learning to adapt to the situation (Teras et al., 2020), thus increasing the need for fostering in teachers and students awareness on security and privacy issues. Considering that children access online activities at an early age, they need to be conscious of the risks to move safely in the digital environment.
In this paper we present the results of a three-year analysis regarding teachers’ perception about their students’ digital awareness and actions needed to promote an effective responsible use of digital technologies.
Teachers of the sample study (3,893 in 2018; 2,229 in 2019; 1,764 in 2020) belong both to primary and secondary schools and are involved in a national project (project name blinded for the review), whose goal is to spread the scientific principles of computer science and the basic concepts of digital awareness in primary and secondary schools. Active since 2014, the project has involved more than 2.5 million students and almost 40,000 teachers.
Once a year a monitoring phase is realized to evaluate the activities performed. A monitoring questionnaire, periodically updated and sent to the participants through the project platform, evaluates the level of involvement of teachers and students in the various activities. A special focus of the questionnaire concerns the area of digital awareness.
The comparative analysis of the questionnaire answers over the last three years confirms the increasing interest of teachers for digital awareness issues, both for them and for their students. The general tendency is to associate the concept of “responsible use of digital technology” with being informed about the risks of digital technologies, as well as with the ability of using them effectively. Training on specific topics is perceived as an essential activity to support students in moving safely on the Internet. In particular, teachers underline the importance of preparing students not just to recognize and manage cyberbullying, but also to handle privacy and fake news. Moreover, sharing experiences is considered the most important action for developing digital awareness among their students. Teachers are also aware of the need to receive training courses and webinars focused on the proper use of digital technologies and social media, including security issues. Finally, the qualitative analysis of open answers stresses the role of parents in supporting teachers’ educational actions and the need to include online safety behaviour in curriculum planning.
Keywords: School education, Digital awareness, Security and Privacy.