What is CyberSmart!
CyberSmart is an organization that focuses on preparing children to succeed in today's digital world. CyberSmart looks at Internet and security issues, but with a strong educational emphasis. 1 SMART is an acronym that stands for: Safety and Security Online; Manner and Cybercitizenship; Authentic Learning and Creativity; Research and Information Fluency; Twenty-first Century Challenges.
The idea for CyberSmart! came from working parents who didn't have time to sit down with their child every time they logged on the computer. They wanted to help teens and kids develop skills so they would be safe anytime they got on the Internet.
NetTrekker and Gaggle are partners with CyberSmart. 2
CyberSmart! Online Workshops
These workshops are for educators and professionals in the classroom. Each workshop is based around one of the topics in the SMART acronym ( Safety and Security Online; Manner and Cybercitizenship; Authentic Learning and Creativity; Research and Information Fluency; Twenty-first Century Challenges). The workshops use multimedia to engage viewers and foster discussion. They are online so they can be accessed anywhere or anytime. They also offer access to experts and a collaborative community. 3
The CyberSmart! offers a free curriculum for K-12 students. The curriculum is done in connection with Common Sense Media. The curriculum consists of 80 online lessons, as well as student handouts. Lessons are organized by thematic units (safety + security, manners + ethics, research + info literacy, authentic learning and 21st century challenges) and grade. You do not have to be affiliated with a K-12 school to use the program. Homeschoolers and other organizations can also use the curriculum. 4 5
CyberSmart! uses this program to prepare students in poverty situations how to be responsible, successful citizens in the digital world. 6 It started in one school in 2007 and has since grown immensely. 7 Right now the program is being run in four elementary and middle schools, as well as one after school program for girls. 8
CyberSmart! Africa's initiative is based around five concepts: Tech lite, pedagogy, training and support, sustainability, and scalability. Basically the program takes cost efficient technology and uses it to create a supportive learning community that addresses the needs of teaching and living in the 21st century. 9
As a part of their CyberSmart! Africa program the initiative is focusing on digital storytelling. They take traditional storytelling customs and put them in a 21st century technology context to help the communities gain confidence and let the children express themselves. The digital storytelling initiative has four main objectives: "work collaboratively with one another to complete a project, sharpen writing, creative thinking, and self-directed learning skills, learn to use multimedia tools, and communicate with other students internationally." 10