Research reveals that trainee teachers urgently need E-safety education.

Posted on 19 June 2007

Children’s internet charity, Childnet International, announced today the publication of a research report entitled ‘E-safety: Evaluation of Key Stage 3 Materials for Initial Teacher Education’.  

The report details the work and findings from a four month research project undertaken by academics from leading initial teacher training institutes in England. The research which was initiated and co-ordinated by Childnet with funding from the Training and Development Agency for Schools and Microsoft, aimed to identify if and how e-safety education could be incorporated into the current initial teacher education.

The study involved presenting e-safety sessions to 400 trainee teachers from four different institutions using a range of different existing internet safety resources which were already used in secondary schools in the UK. The results showed trainees gave overwhelming support for the inclusion of e-safety within their training and believed that schools need help to better address e-safety education.  

However, the findings also highlighted a number of important challenges such as time limitations in the teacher education curriculum, the need for trainee teachers to prioritise and meet the existing standards, and the fact that trainees have very different needs from those of teachers. 

The study trialled a number of models of implementing e-safety training, however, face-to-face methods, allowing the trainees to discuss the issues showed a higher uptake and was more highly valued by trainees. 

In total 16 key findings emerged from the research (see executive summary) and the researchers made a number of important recommendations about what changes should be made to meet the needs of trainee teachers in this area. These include:

  • Embedding e-safety within the teaching standards requirements to meet the statutory regulation and the creation of a training resource specifically for trainee teachers.
  • Creating an online portal with resources, information and advice, specifically to meet the needs of trainee teachers and their tutors as well as practicing teachers.

The online research was run through the existing Childnet ‘Know IT ALL’ micro site www.childnet-int.org/kia and over 4,000 comments were received back from trainees. As a result of this research it is envisaged that this site will now be expanded to include a Know IT ALL for Trainees and Teachers’ section with new content and advice for trainees and teachers. This helps build on the strength of the existing resources produced by Childnet for parents and young people and will help ensure greater consistency of messages and news of wider resources for the different audiences.

Mary Louise Morris from Childnet International says:

“Over the past few years of working in schools and supporting teachers in better understanding the online safety issues, it became clear to us at Childnet that knowledge and awareness of e-safety is an essential preparation for the teaching profession, both from the point of view of engaging and understanding the way children are growing up in a digital world, as well as caring for their wellbeing and safety”. 

The research was carried out with trainees in Christchurch College Canterbury, Brighton, Middlesex and Southampton Universities. Lead researcher John Woollard from the University of Southampton says:

“With the growing recognition of the importance of e-safety and the need to better equip teachers to both  understand the issues and educate pupils, this research has been  invaluable in assessing how those entering the profession can be trained and supported.”

Tim Tarrant from Training and Development Agency for Schools which sponsored the research says:

“This is a very innovative project which the TDA has been delighted to support. With the insight from this research we plan to work with Childnet in developing resources which will be suitable for use in the ITT curriculum, and will be made available to all ITT institutions before the end of this year”.

Steve Beswick, Director of Education, Microsoft UK said:

"As the internet increasingly becomes an integrated part of the learning process, it is vital that students can use ICT safely - and that teachers and parents can be confident that this is the case. At Microsoft, we are committed to working with our partner organisations to ensure there is sufficient training for teachers so that they are ably equipped to mitigate the risks without hampering the value that the internet brings to the learning process. We are delighted that this report has now paved the way forward for ensuring both existing and trainee teachers receive adequate training on e-safety issues."

To download the executive summary of the report see

www.childnet-int.org/kia/trainees

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THIS RESEARCH CONTACT

Mary Louise Morris, Childnet’s Education Manager

Telephone 0207 639 6967

[email protected]

Childnet International is a registered charity, (no 1080173) set up in 1995  with the mission “to work in partnership with others around the world to help make the internet a great and safe place for children”. The organisation seeks to take a balanced view of the issues of children and the internet and is active in promoting the positive ways in which the internet can be used by children and includes children in the design of its education and awareness work –for example see www.childnet-int.org/sorted. Childnet is also involved in responding to the negative aspects of children’s use of new media and has produced award-winning education and awareness programmes such as its www.kidsmart.org.uk for schools. For full information about the charity see www.childnet-int.org.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) was established under the Education Act 2005. Its responsibilities relate to England only. The TDA’s principal aim is to secure an effective school workforce that raises educational standards, provides every child with the opportunity to develop their potential and thereby improve children’s life chances.

The TDA benefits schools by:

  • Securing the supply of the school workforce.
  • Supporting the development of the school workforce.
  • Supporting the modernisation of the school workforce.

People interested in becoming a teacher should visit

www.teach.gov.uk

or contact the Teaching Information Line (tel: 0845 6000 991 – 992 for Welsh speakers; Mincom: 01245 454343).

For general TDA enquiries Tel: 0870 4960 123.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential. Its support of Childnet’s e-safety research is part of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning initiative. The programme is designed to improve access and make better use of ICT in education. Microsoft provides a wealth of resources and tools for teachers and schools via the various elements of the Partners in Learning programme, as well as the Microsoft IT Academy and Innovative Teachers programme. Further information can be found at

www.microsoft.com/uk/education/PartnersinLearning

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