Some school districts, like Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, have people come in to talk to students on how to navigate the internet safely. But UNC Charlotte is working on something that they hope is more comprehensive – a cyber safety curriculum.
Five professors at UNC Charlotte’s Cato College of Education are designing a digital citizen online curriculum to use in five middle schools throughout the Charlotte region. They expect to train 30 teachers and 20 school technology facilitators.
The university received $300,000 from the National Science Foundation for the project.
“This program will provide a new method to train qualified teachers and technology facilitators…so that they can bridge the gap in cyber safety education in the schools,” said Florence Martin, an instructional systems technology professor at UNC Charlotte and the lead person for the grant.
UNC Charlotte officials say the teachers will be trained on campus this summer, with the actual curriculum offered to students next school year. They say 200 middle school students in Cabarrus County, Kannapolis City and Charlotte-Mecklenburg will participate in the project. The only specific school named at this point is the Lake Norman Charter School in Huntersville.
Martin said the program will also allow students at the participating schools to create videos on cyber safety that can be disseminated to larger audiences through social media.
“Through this curriculum, the importance of digital citizenship and cyber safety will reach thousands of young children so that they can better protect themselves in this network age,” Martin said.