L2SN overview

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Living and learning safely with the net - L2SN overview

Introduction

Welcome to L2SN - the open course about how to use web technologies safely and effectively to support your own and other people's learning. The title reflects our world view, which is that living involves learning (and visa versa). The sub-sections below provide an overview of the intended audience, aims and outcomes for the course.

Given the focus of the course (on learning about learning safely with web technologies) we thought it would be appropriate to use those same technologies within the course itself. This will provide you with the opportunity to develop your technical skills in using web technologies, your conceptual understandings of issues related to using them to enhance learning, your knowledge of safety issues, and your practical expertise in supporting other people in using them safely in their own learning.

The course is divided into eight sections:
1 Overview
2 Web technologies

  • Developing your own use
  • Applications of web technologies
  • Safety issues
  • Frameworks and guidance
  • Supporting learning

8 Pulling it all together

The intention is that you study Sections 1 and 2 first as basic preparation that sets you up for studying the rest of the course. The five central sections can be studied in any order - indeed we would anticipate that you will jump between them as the need arises to focus on different aspects. Section 8 is intended to be studied last as it provides you with the opportunity to synthesise everything you have learnt into a coherent whole (we hope!).

The course is organised as a set of activities - where an activity may involve reading something, trying out a piece of software, contributing to a discussion (via the course discussion topic in the forum), reflecting upon what you have been doing, recording your thinking in some way, or any number of other tasks. Engagement is critical - you need to do the activities.

Given our focus on web technologies, and the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 (ie from the web as a publication medium to the web as a participative medium) our intention is that you will be able to change (and we hope enhance) the course as you work on it. There will be specific activities that ask you to add 'chunks' to the course - for example you might be asked to add a mini case study about how a new web technology has been used to support learning. There are two practical reasons for this:

  • it is one way of keeping the course up to date and interesting
  • our experience of developing courses suggests that creating the course is a better learning experience than studying it - so we want to engage you in that creative process

Clearly, you also have the opportunity to edit/change any aspect of the course - so if you think this introduction is a bit naff you can (and should) enhance it.

Audience

Parents and professionals working with learners of all ages. Eg teachers, youth workers, educational professionals, students, early years practitioners, adult educators, ...

Aims

By the end of the course you will have an understanding of web technologies and how to use them safely and effectively.

Outcomes

  • Knowledge and Understanding
    • To understand current and emerging web technologies and their applications
    • To understand the educational and collaborative potential of web technologies
    • To understand the issues related to safety and the need to safeguard users
    • To have knowledge and understandings of relevant legislative frameworks
  • Cognitive skills
    • Applying your knowledge and understanding to the safe use of the web in a range of contexts
    • To be able to describe, analyse and synthesise knowledge relevant to the effective use of web technologies
  • Key skills
    • Learning how to learn
    • Communication
    • Collaboration
    • Critically evaluating and using information
  • Practical and professional skills
    • To have developed your practical and professional competence in using web technologies
    • To be able to locate and critically apply relevant legislative frameworks
    • To demonstrate creativity in applying web technologies safely in your personal and/or professional contexts
    • To demonstrate an awareness of relevant ethical issues

Course safety issues

One of the core elements of the course is about safety issues when using web technologies. This Course safety issues sub-section is focussed on some basic guidelines that you need to follow whilst studying this course - as such it is a pragmatic and somewhat superficial attempt to highlight important issues which will be addressed in much more detail in the core section on safety issues later in the course.

This course is hosted on the Schommunity website and uses the Schommunity wiki, forum and blog. You should be aware that the schommunity includes people of all ages (our youngest member so far was 6 years old) and from all around the world. You have a duty to ensure that you help keep all members of the schommunity safe. So you need to:

  • ensure that anything you post/contribute to the Schommunity website is appropriate for all its members (ie no 'mature' content)
  • protect your own and other people's personal information
  • contribute in a way that is inclusive and acknowledges the diversity within the schommunity

The Schome Park Programme - one strand of activity within the Schommunity which involves young people in using virtual worlds - has an acceptable use policy (AUP) that encapsulates key aspects of keeping safe. This AUP was devised with teenagers and virtual worlds in mind - however, it provides useful guidance about how you should act within the Schommunity more generally.

If you have any concerns about your own or anyone else's safety within the Schommunity then you should take action:

  • if there is an entry in the wiki that is inappropriate then edit it
  • if there is a post in the forum that is inappropriate then report it to the moderators (using the 'Report to moderator' link at the bottom of every post in the forum)
  • raise your concerns with the moderators by emailing mailto:schome-sl-help@open.ac.uk

Living and learning safely with the net - L2SN overview