Some groups of children are potentially more vulnerable and more at risk than others when using ICT. To assist these children Childnet teamed up with Widgit Software on a project to produce a whole set of Widgit Symbol materials...
These can include children with emotional or behavioural difficulties, learning difficulties, and other complex needs, as well as those who's English is an additional language, and looked after children.
Childnet consulted closely with young people and teachers in producing the resources and designed the content so it could be used either by a teacher in a whole class session or by pupils working on their own. The important safety information was presented in multi-media "modules" covering a wide range of issues from advice about handling cyber-bullying, to reliability of information and stranger danger. The CD also had a section highlighting the ways in which children were using the internet to make a positive impact in society.
Know IT All, is Childnet's multi award-winning suite of education resources designed to help educate parents, teachers and young people about safe and positive use of the internet.
The symbol-supported materials cover the 5 principles of SMART, and are all downloadable from the Childnet site. Flashcards have also been created to aid word and symbol recognition, help with improving memory and with visualising concepts.
The symbols are useful to readers of different abilities, whether it is because of a literacy impairment or because English is an additional language (EAL). Readers who have very little or no text recognition can use fully symbolised text, whereas readers with some text recognition can have key words or new vocabulary symbolised. Symbol-support helps to give the reader the support they require, developing their vocabulary and confidence when reading.
"Learning to use the internet safely and responsibly is a fundamental part of children's education. Childnet have been delighted to partner with Widgit, in making the SMART rules available in Widgit symbols, to help make these important messages accessible to all children. Childnet firmly believe that this will make a real difference in helping all children to stay safe and get the most out of the amazing opportunities that new technology offers".