Safeguarding Importance In An Ever-Growing Online Education World

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With the introduction of the digital age, online safety for children has become subject to an influx of threats from a whole host of intimidatory factors.

Unsurprisingly, COVID has heightened safety concerns, especially for children and it is our mission to ensure that their online safety is secured to the best standard ultimately to save lives.

The harsh facts about safeguarding online

The BBC produced an article stating that:

“child deaths increased from 89 to 119 and those seriously harmed rose from 132 with 153 compared with the same period in 2019.”

This is according to data from The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel when conducting a report on the number of serious incidents reported from April last year. So why is this a concern?

Evidently, an increase in child deaths is the significant issue as another child death becomes an additional statistic yet, it doesn’t correlate to what effect it has internally on all parties concerned. With the emerging digital age, it is vital that everything online is scrutinized and it is our responsibility as educators to guarantee a child’s safety.

Reducing the number of deaths is the obvious priority but subsequent factors of the online world such as crime, county lines, sexual abuse and grooming all have increased. A survey produced by Children’s Commissioner for Wales Professor Sally Holland stated that:

“four in 10 of the 17-year-olds taking part in her survey said they felt lonely most of the time while 30% of 17 to 18-year-olds said they felt worried most of the time.”

Isolation and loneliness will lead young children to become involved in dangerous predicaments as their intrigue is raised. This is where online safety is paramount as it is an accessible route for criminals to target potential victims to exploit.

According to the Children society:

“County Lines has contributed to 807% increase in children referred for support by councils in relation to modern slavery.”

With this excessive increase, it demonstrates how important safeguarding is in online education. Gangs will utilise social media as a ploy to flaunt a lavish lifestyle and lure young children into Country lines due to their naivety and inability to comprehend that they are indeed victims.

Not only will children be exploited for financial gain, but online it allows predators to seek out young vulnerable people for their own gratification through grooming. Last year the NSPCC stated the Police recorded:

“over 10,000 online child sex crimes in a year for the first time.”

But not only in the UK is this prevalent, the problem is increasing Internationally. The Times reported that in Thailand during the pandemic:

“Police and child protection organizations say that cases of abuse, including the extracting of pornographic images from children, increased last year by as much as 40 per cent.”

With less school time because of recent lock downs, it has led to less education whilst increasing vulnerability. With schools now reopen it is critical that children are being supervised.

In addition to this, the UK has seen an increase in radicalization. COVID has led to more seclusion resulting in close relatives and friends taking advantage of young children. Sky reported that over the past 2 years there has been:

“more than 1,500 children under the age of 15 [who] were referred to the Prevent counter radicalization programmer.”

Ultimately the diminishment of social interaction due to COVID that young children will have with their peers and teachers leaves them exposed, further highlighting the importance of safeguarding young children online.

Educational barriers need to be broken online

Online education is a valuable asset as it enables learning remotely and breaks down the barriers at home unveiling a glimpse of what may be going on behind close doors.

Unfortunately, not all children can be monitored online due to a number of factors, one including, inadequate resources due to socio-economic backgrounds.

A tragic example of safeguarding importance lies with Chadrack Mbala Mulo, 4. Had there been sufficient communication between his school and home prior to his mother’s death, he may still be alive. He died from starvation as a result of being unable to feed himself due to him being mute and having autism.

His unexplained absences, which were not pursued in thorough depth, ultimately led to his death. Remote online education would have ensured that his scarce logins on education portals would have raised flags and an investigation would have occurred properly.

Sadly, this is just one case of thousands who are at risk in similar situations exemplifying why safeguarding children who are learning online is vital.

Educating children about the dangers online is the key

Our opinion is that educating young children before they can be exposed to the dangers will be the best option to minimize exploitation.

Here at EdClass It is our mission to guarantee that every child home or abroad gets the chance to learn safely with our DBS checked staff ensuring remote learning is completed in a correct and secure manner.

All chats are recorded and sent to their corresponding schools’ server to guarantee safeguarding elements.

Our EdClass Designated Safeguarding Lead Cara Radford said:

“Safeguarding online is massively important especially during COVID when everyone is online. Pre-COVID, a lot of parents were looking into what their children were doing online but now parents are busy balancing working from home and parenting which has meant more opportunity for people that are looking to groom children.

So, educating children into not befriending people they don’t know on forums and not disclosing personal information is really important, more so now than ever.”

Source: Safeguarding Importance In An Ever-growing Online Education World – EDBlog

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More Contents:

Platform updated to support the ‘catch up’ generation with built-in live learning

Ofsted reveals impact of school closures

Department for Education warns of insufficient high-quality teachers

Masks are mandatory in school communal areas

5 simple strategies…to encourage students to use their local library

Common barriers to learning and how to eridicate them

How to stop your students from arriving late to lessons

What is digital poverty?

How do pastoral and academic leaders differ in their approach to school management?

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Online safety is now part of the wider safeguarding requirement for schools but it is a fast changing and sometimes seemingly inaccessible world for staff. However, all members of the staff team should have at least a basic awareness of online safety so that, should an incident occur, they can respond appropriately and quickly.
This is the first in a free series of videos that will not only help raise awareness in the team but also has a partnering child-friendly version of the principles discussed to extend the training into the classroom. The content is appropriate for everyone from Senior Leadership to new to education staff in any role and can be used to support a combined staff and classroom awareness campaign. In this first episode, we look at some key elements of online safety and some of the safeguarding responsibilities of the team will need to be aware of.
Our team at the Child Protection Company have been creating high quality training solutions since 2008 and every one of our courses draws on the experience of expert safeguarding professionals. Our training courses are developed in house, and are regularly updated to remain in line with the latest government guidance and legislation.
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Together While Apart: Classroom Communication

By their very nature, pandemics shake the systems of society, and that is certainly true for the global educational system right now. Institutions have had to adjust their entire structures, and for many educators, that has meant being thrust into remote learning environments, often without time to study or plan for the change. Until now, many educators have rightfully spent the bulk of their energies on meeting students’ most urgent needs, checking on physical and mental well-being first. Now, though, we find ourselves beginning to plan and conduct actual instruction, and the realities of remote learning bring new challenges. However, it may also bring opportunities to innovate, and, in the way of teachers across time, chances to flex our problem-solving muscles.

Our hope is that the Turnitin team can support you in ensuring student needs are met. This post, the first of three in our Together While Apart series, is part of our effort to help, but that’s not all that we’re doing. We have officially launched Turnitin’s Remote Learning Resources page and populated it with all the best materials, including past publications and a stockpile of brand new content specifically designed to meet the challenges of remote learning.

Remote learning is a broad term encompassing many different approaches. Often, these approaches fall into two brackets – synchronous or asynchronous. When classes meet at specific times in much the same way that they would in person, except that some form of technology is connecting everyone, that is known as synchronous learning. Because of the emergency nature of COVID-19, many institutions are finding themselves more likely to pursue asynchronous learning. In asynchronous learning, collective meetings are not always happening in real-time, and students often independently access content, assignments, and assessments virtually (or even through paper formats, in some places) on widely varying schedules.

Of the many shifts in instructional delivery, one of the most dramatic will be the methods by which educators communicate with their students. The challenges there will impact nearly every aspect of asynchronous instruction, so let’s begin there.

Instructor Challenge: How will I help my students combat a feeling of having limited live access to personalized support?

Strategies:

  1. Set up specific shared times for discussions, question and answer, etc. so that students CAN schedule around the time and check-in if they need to. Make sure to set these times up in advance to increase the possibility that students will be able to participate. For students who can’t join in real-time, record those sessions and post them so that students won’t be isolated or miss out on critical conversations. Additionally, this will build in opportunities for peer interaction and support, which can be critical to the learning process and may help feelings of isolation, loneliness, and even depression that can occur when working remotely. This is a common phenomenon for people working remotely and is likely to present a similar problem for some students.
  2. Offer 1:1 time slots on the calendar for students in the event that they need more support. In addition to the shared times for interaction, many students will want or need some individual interaction with instructors. It’s important to give them time and space to ask questions, seek out individualized clarification and support, and to simply connect.

Instructor Challenge: How will I ensure that my students always know WHEN learning activities are occurring and WHERE to find the information they need?

Strategies:

  1. Set up a centralized communication hub with ALL relevant information. Students can link out to the various tools and materials you’ll use, but they will have this as a home base of sorts.
  2. Establish a calendar! Set up a shared calendar where you list all relevant dates and can allow students to use it to schedule their own learning activities and time with you. Pro Tip: Feedback Studio users can use the Class Calendar tool to do this inside the system for ease of access to the information. 
  3. Consistent communication methods – pick the right tool for a task and then stick to it. Try making a list of all the different kinds of communication tasks involved in your instruction, and then match each to a communication TOOL that will best fit the purpose. For example, giving an overview of an assignment is different than providing ongoing feedback throughout an assignment. Which is the best tool for each? You need something that is well suited to longer, more comprehensive sets of information for the overview, but you need something fast and tied to specific student work for the second. Be thoughtful about the tools you select. Once you match each task with a particular tool, make sure you document that and share it with your students. Keep it in a location where students can easily access it over time too.

Once you select a tool, use it consistently! For example, try to avoid announcing some assignments through email and then some on a discussion board and still others on Twitter. Using other communication methods as back-ups are fine, but always utilize the one established upfront so there isn’t any confusion about where to access information.

Instructor Challenge: Since I am not communicating in person with my students, how will I avoid misalignment or misunderstandings about expectations, processes, or products?

Strategies:

  1. Anticipate questions or misunderstandings and address them upfront. It might help to picture a particular student and ask what questions they might have. By answering them in advance, you are more likely to head off any confusion and save both yourself and your students wasted time and effort. Additionally, you will ensure that every student has the right information whether they ask for it or not.
  2. Over-communicate – If you think your students already know your expectations, spell them out anyway. Sometimes, we make assumptions about how students think, but students surprise us. Losing physical proximity can complicate this even more. Outside the physical environment of a classroom, students sometimes fall back into the patterns of their new space. “I’m learning from my kitchen table, where I feel relaxed and easy-going.” Sometimes, those changes infect their thinking about work and expectations in unproductive ways. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to reassert those expectations and processes so that they carry over into students’ work.
  3. Document – To the greatest extent possible, write down and/or record–audio or video, and with captions, if available–all information so that students can access it repeatedly. This might seem incredibly time-consuming, but the upfront investment will save time later as you’ll be able to refer students back to it anytime you need to, and you’ll find that you are able to re-use it. Since students won’t be accessing instructions or content at the same time, recording it in writing or through another medium means that they can read or hear it from anywhere, any time, and as MANY times as they need to. Just think… this might actually mean that you don’t have to answer the same question 10 times! Additionally, it means that students can repeat information without any fear of judgment from their teacher or their peers, and you will have done so in a way that encourages them to seek out critical information they need rather than passively waiting.
  4. Provide feedback about expectations and processes, not only products. Students will make mistakes. In many cases, asynchronous learning is new to them too. Include opportunities to practice new skills within the tools they use and the processes involved, and make sure you give them feedback. Doing so has the added bonus of building their sense of agency and taking ownership of their own learning. Pro Tip: Be honest about your mistakes and what you have learned from this process so that students understand that learning is messy and requires us all to be reflective.

Students and teachers alike are overwhelmed by all that has changed in such a short time. That means that the “soft skills” that go into effective educational practices are perhaps more essential than ever. At its most fundamental level, education is built on relationships and communication.

 

Homeworking & Homeschooling in COVID-19

It appears that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. Most of us have reached that point where we at least know someone who has contracted it or has even become severely affected or died from it. I’ve even read predictions from experts that before we conquer it – if we ever do – at least 60-70% of the population will have contracted the coronavirus. 60-70%. And right now 1 in every 100 in the US has it or has had it. In the US, we are setting records nearly every day for new cases.

We aren’t back on “stay at home” lockdown yet. But businesses are closing back down. One thing that is still being heavily debated and is still in consideration is sending kids back to school next month for the 2020-21 school year. Is it a good idea? What’s the alternative? Online school from home, homeschooling, no schooling? Those are tough options – especially if both parents work outside the home. But one of those may be your reality, depending on how you feel about your 12 year old going back to school and possibly contracting the virus and bringing it home to your household. It’s a crazy world and we are worrying daily about things we never thought we would have to.

Let’s consider the homeschooling option… I’ve been home working and homeschooling for many years so it’s a familiar path for me and my family. First, I have 11 kids – 7 adopted, some with some health challenges and one with childhood leukemia that was only diagnosed 4 months ago and is not in remission and he happens to be in the hospital right now. With basically no immune system to speak of, leaving the house or allowing anyone in for absolutely non-essential things (like chemo clinic) is out of the question. It could kill him. There really is no plan B for us.

Let’s look at the home working and homeschooling reality and how we could pull it off. It’s not easy but it’s probably not as hard as you might think and certainly can help keep your family safe during this pandemic.

Organization is a must

You could just wing it and work it out along the way – and you may have to. But you have a month and you may already be working from home and I think most of us know that planning ahead greatly increases chances of success. So let’s organize… but how? First off, read and educate. Know the basics. Know something about what you’re getting into. Lean on others for info, tools and advice. Use your past experiences and knowledge and the experience and knowledge of others. There is a wealth of knowledge out there on both topics. Use it. But don’t start out completely disorganized and expect to succeed. It won’t work. You will struggle too much and likely fail. Not trying to scare you – it’s just fact.

You don’t have to be an expert at either

No one said you have to be an expert before you venture out into something new. I wasn’t an expert project manager when I first jumped into the profession. I was just a software developer and the person proposed in the position on a huge government IT project. Then we won the contract and that was that. My wife and I weren’t home schooling experts when our first child was born 33 years ago. But we thought it was the best choice for us and for our first child so we planned and prepared and when he was 3 we started with pre-school and it worked for us (mainly my wife). We always said we were taking it a year at a time… and 30 years later we are still at it and still succeeding… our kids are turning out ok and five have moved out and moved on to adulthood successfully – two are married and one of those is a parent. So we didn’t ruin their lives… they even have said so.

It’s ok to get help – not ok to struggle

You’re not alone. It’s actually ok to struggle to some degree… but not for too long. Projects, kids, families, lives may be depending on your success in these situations so don’t take them lightly. You can’t just try and fail and move on. You have to give it your all and have a plan B (see planning) which may be a completely different route or going back to the old norm. But you have a team, you have a family, you can use tools and groups and articles and social media and groups to get help and plan and gain knowledge and succeed.

Plan or fail

You don’t have to be the best or the greatest at either. And yes, you can “fake it till you make it” to some degree. Not for too long because you need to show you’re excelling at both at some early point or it isn’t worth it. But you can do it if you plan and map out a course and work at it. And, as pointed out above, you’re not alone… there is help out there in your team, your family, social media groups of experts and those going through the same struggles you may be experiencing. The key in project management, business, life and now homeschooling, is planning. Sometimes a lot of planning but always at least some productive planning – and revisiting and adjusting the plan along the way is ok – is a necessary ingredient to success in business and life.

Good health is a good thing but do what’s right for you

With COVID-19 numbers going out of control many are frustrated and some are panicking. Can you work remotely? Yes but it’s not for the disorganized or faint of heart. Can you homeschool? Yes. But it too is not for the disorganized and faint of heart. And this one can be scary. You fail and you’re really failing your children. But you really can’t put a price on being healthy and keeping your kids safe. So if numbers are high and you’re worried… it may be your gut and circumstances saying “try it.” If it doesn’t work out for you and your kids, you can go back to the old norm. But there’s a good chance that it will work out and it may serve you in the interim or it may become your new permanent normal. And you can stay healthy and safe at the same time.

Summary / call for input

The bottom line is 2020 is a new road for us. A scary road. Uncharted territory for many. There isn’t a single person in the world who hasn’t been affected in some way. Our success – and the success of many around us including our business colleagues, teams and family – depend to some degree on our own success. That can be a huge stressful burden. Or we can grab it by the horns and take it on. Go ahead, take it on. You can do it.

Readers – what are your thoughts? Are you working remotely? What advice do you have for others? Are you homeschooling or thinking about it as the potentially dangerous school year approaches? What are you planning to do? Comment and let’s discuss.

By: Calum Bateman

MindGenius Online The perfect Project Management & Mind Mapping Software collaboration tool for Remote Teams.

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UC Davis Health 28.1K subscribers Working from home during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a new challenge for many, especially for parents whose kids are now learning from home. Dr. Megan Tudor, a clinical psychologist at the world-renowned UC Davis MIND Institute, answers questions about how to create a productive environment at home and offers tools to help parents educate their children, including those with autism.

Hosted by Pamela Wu, Director of News and Media Relations for UC Davis Health. For the latest information and resources on COVID-19, visit https://health.ucdavis.edu/coronavirus/ UC Davis Health Video Visits: https://health.ucdavis.edu/medicalcen… UC Davis MIND Institute: http://mindinstitute.ucdavis.edu MIND Institute STAAR Study: https://health.ucdavis.edu/mindinstit… Help Is In Your Hands Program: http://helpisinyourhands.org See the latest news from UC Davis Health: https://health.ucdavis.edu/newsroom#covid19#workfromhome#distancelearning#homeschool#ucdavis#autism#mindinstitute

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