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According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, ICT literacy is a skill that students need to master in order to succeed in work and life in the 21st century. ICT literacy involves using technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate and communicate information. It also involves using digital technologies, communication/networking tools and social networks appropriately to access, manage, integrate, evaluate and create information to successfully function in a knowledge economy.

Here are some ideas for increasing your students’ ICT literacy.

Draw Your Own Line

A Thin Line is a digital safety education resource produced by MTV in collaboration with other media partners. The purpose of the site is to educate teenagers and young adults about the possible repercussions of their digital activities. A Thin Line offers a series of free fact sheets about such topics as sexting, digital spying and excessive text messaging and instant messaging. A Thin Line gives students advice on ways to recognize those behaviors, the dangers of those behaviors and ways to protect their digital identity. Students can also take a short quiz to practice identifying risky digital behaviors. The site is accessible in English and Spanish.

Stop the Gossip

The Virginia Department of Education has produced an engaging and useful site for teaching students web safety lessons. Learn with Professor Garfield offers two free animated lessons—one on cyberbullying and another about online safety. As the site’s name implies, the lessons feature the cartoon character Garfield. Both online lessons use the same model: students watch a cartoon, take an informal quiz and then apply their new knowledge in various scenarios.

Protect Your Turf

Own Your Space is a free, 16-chapter ebook designed to educate ‘tweens and teens about protecting themselves and their stuff online. Each chapter goes into great detail explaining the technical threats that students’ computers face online as well as the personal threats to data that students can face online.

For example, in Chapter 1, students learn about different types of malware and the importance of installing security patches to prevent malware infections. Chapter 2 explains the differences between secured and unsecured wireless networks, the potential dangers of an unsecured network and ways to lock-down a network.

Spots Tricks and Traps

To teach children about potential dangers online and how to avoid them, the Council of Europe offers a free, online game called Through the Wild Web Woods. The game is designed for children aged 7–10 to learn how to spot dangers on the Internet and what to do when they do spot a danger. The game is accessible in 24 languages.

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