Tag Archives: digital literacy

Cyberbullying – Teach Awareness and Responses

As educators, we strive to promote a climate of respect. Bullying behavior is evident on the playground, but it is more difficult to detect and respond to when it takes place online. In addition, students need to recognize cyberbullying. They need to know when the line is crossed and a joke or teasing has gone too far. The first step is to build an awareness of cyberbullying. Next, students should know what they can do and who they can go to for help if they are a victim. Promote a community of responsible digital citizens in the classroom.

What Is a Cyberbully?

cyberbullyingCyberbullies are people who threaten another person by using the Internet to post hurtful or embarrassing messages, images, or videos. Cyberbullies can make a person feel scared, worried, or angry.

Often a bully will say that the message “was just a joke.” Cyberbullying is NO JOKING MATTER and it is NOT FUNNY.

Cyberbullying is illegal. In some countries cyberbullying is a hate crime that can result in a fine or jail time. In other countries, cyberbullying is slander and a lawsuit can be filed against the bully. At some schools, cyberbullying is a reason for expulsion or cause to ban use of Internet at school.

Do Not Be a Cyberbully

Be a responsible digital citizen. Do not be a bully!

  • Do not continue to e-mail someone after they have asked you to stop.
  • Do not post any comments online, using e-mail, chat, or social media sites, which would be hurtful or embarrassing to another person.
  • Do not threaten anyone using e-mail, chat, or social media sites.
  • Do not post or tag a picture of anyone without their consent.
  • Do not share personal information about another person without their consent.

What Should You Do if You are a Victim of Cyberbullying?

When you are bullied it can make you feel worried or scared. Do not ignore the problem. You can stop cyberbullying. To do this:

  • Tell an adult about the bullying.
  • Do not delete the message from the bully. It is evidence.
  • Inform your Internet service provider. They can help find the identity of the bully.
  • If a message contains a death threat or threat to cause bodily harm, contact the police.

What Can You Do to Stop Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying can be done using e-mail, instant messaging, bulletin boards, websites, polling booths, and more.

  • E-Mail: Cyberbullies send hateful messages to a person using e-mail. Often the cyberbully will register for a free e-mail account so no one will be able to guess their identity. They may register for an e-mail address that has a threatening tone such as kickname@live.ca.

    What can you do if you are a victim? Add the e-mail address of the sender to a blocked e-mail list. This will stop new messages from being delivered. It is possible to trace the source of an e-mail. You can contact the Internet service provider of the e-mail account to try to get the company to delete the e-mail address of the cyberbully.

  • Instant Messaging: Cyberbullies send hateful messages to a person using chat software. Often the cyberbully will change their nickname to include a nasty message such as “Name is ugly” or ” I hate name.” Everyone who receives an instant message from the cyberbully will be able to read the mean nickname.

    What can you do if you are a victim? Add the contact information of the sender to a blocked list. This will stop new messages from being delivered. If the cyberbully is a student, you can contact their parent or teacher to let them know about the abuse.

  • Bulletin Boards: Cyberbullies post hateful messages to a bulletin board that people can read. The messages often include the victim’s telephone number or e-mail address to get other people to abuse the person.

    What can you do if you are a victim? Contact the manager of the bulletin board. The manager can delete the hateful message and stop the cyberbully from posting any new messages.

  • Websites: Cyberbullies create web pages that have mean pictures or hateful information about another person.

    What can you do if you are a victim? Most Internet service providers have rules about the content of websites. When cyberbullies create hateful web pages they are breaking the rules. The Internet service provider can request that the bully remove the content on the web page or delete the website.

  • Polling Booths: Cyberbullies post online surveys where people vote for the ugliest, fattest, dumbest boy or girl.

    What can you do if you are a victim? Polling booths are often part of a service offered by an online social community. Most communities have rules about the content members can post. When cyberbullies create hateful polls they are breaking the rules. The operator of the social community can request that the bully remove the poll or delete their member account.

  • Imposter: Cyberbullies will hack into the victim’s account. As an imposter, they will send fake e-mails or post rude comments.

    What can you do if you are a victim? Protect your identity. To do this, create a password that is difficult to guess. Do not tell your password to anyone, except your parent or teacher. Always log out when you leave a computer. If someone hacks into your account, change your password right away.

For more Internet activities and digital citizenship lessons, see TechnoKids’ technology project TechnoInternet.

10 Ways to Use Webcams

webcamsAs teachers, we know that it’s more powerful for students to see things than to read or hear about them. Webcams have been available for decades, but they can still be an effective educational resource to hook students. Live-action webcams can bring distant places to life, students can produce their own video to complete creative assignments, and teachers can create original content to engage student interest. Here are some ways to use webcams in the classroom.

  1. Engage students in the inquiry process – Use webcams that stream live video to study animal habitats and bahavior in zoos, aquariums, museums, and in the wild. Some webcams include audio and some have a chat room feature for collaborative discussions.
  2. Use as a tool for the flipped classroom – Teachers create short videos for students to watch at school or at home before coming to class. Videos may be lab demonstrations, explanations of concepts, math solutions, or information about any curriculum topic. Afterwards, in class students participate in discussions about what they have viewed or complete assignments to show their understanding of the information presented in the video.
  3. Inspire curiosity and imagination with travel – See places in the world that students are unlikely to have the opportunity to visit. Visit places such as outer space, polar regions, underwater, or famous landmarks in real time. Help children bridge their own experiences with the world around them.
  4. Experience unique events – Watch adventures that are almost impossible to attend. In real time, follow a record setting climbing or sailing expedition, a multiday sport such as the Olympics, Iditarod, Tour de France, or any event that is recorded live. In the classroom, use a webcam to tape the hatching of chicks or butterflies so that students don’t miss anything overnight and can replay the event repeatedly.
  5. Observe natural phenomena – View ongoing natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes to gain an understanding of extreme weather and its effects.
  6. Create how-to lessons or webinars– Both students and teachers can use a webcam to make instructional videos. Solve a math calculation, explain a concept with a demonstration, or perform a science experiment using an adapter that allows display of the view through a microscope.
  7. Integrate technology and drama – Have students plan, record, and edit video from a webcam to learn digital storytelling.
  8. Study media literacy – Students analyze marketing techniques and then apply their knowledge to produce a short commercial directed to a target audience.
  9. Videoconference with distant people – Use Skype or other free services to connect in real time with epals, classrooms studying the same topic, foreign language classes, guest speakers, experts, booktalks with authors, or tutors. Learn about different countries and cultures. Webcams can enable two-way communication with students who are at home due to illness.
  10. Videotape student projects – Use a webcam to record a group assignment, skit, music presentation, dance, or sports demonstration. Conduct mock interviews or create news programs. Then present the video to the class for discussion and assessment.
Next post, I’ll list some tips for live webcam sites for students.

zoo webcam

10 Tips for Using E-Cards in the Classroom

Have your students sent and received online greeting cards? Here are some tips to make finding, sending, and receiving e-Cards in the classroom a fun, easy, and worthwhile activity.

  1. Try Different Web Browsers: Some e-Cards need the Flash program to show the message. If your web browser will not play Flash animation, try another web browser.
  2. Do Not Click on Advertisements: Free e-Card services have advertisements. They will redirect you from the website. Ignore them.
  3. Pick a Suitable Card: There are many different e-Cards. Some may not be for kids. Look for keywords such as Children or Kids to find those for your age group.
  4. Find Cards that are Free: Some e-Cards require a subscription or payment. Look for keywords such as free.
  5. Be Creative: Often when sending an e-Card you can add a note, pick a design, or select the music. Add a personal touch!
  6. Do Not Join a Mailing List: Some e-Card services ask you to add your e-mail to a mailing list. This will cause you to get lots of junk mail. Do not check the box for this option.
  7. Ignore Free Trial Options: You may visit an e-Card website that asks you to fill out a form for a free trial. Often you can ignore this option and still send an e-Card.
  8. Have Patience: When you send an e-Card it may take time to reach the person. Do not worry! They will get it soon.
  9. Check Your Junk Folder: Did someone send you an e-Card? Check your Junk, Trash, or Clutter folder. Move the message to your Inbox to view the e-Card.
  10. Send a Link to an e-Card Video: If you are having trouble finding a free e-Card service, send a link to a video greeting instead. Search the Internet for a suitable video. Write an e-mail and include the video URL in the message.

e-cards in the classroom

See more about e-Cards in the classroom:

To view a list of free e-Card sites, click here.

To read 10 reasons why sending e-Cards in the classroom is an appropriate and worthwhile technology activity, click here.

To teach online digital literacy, internet safety, search strategies, and research skills in a fun way, click here.

Free E-Card Sites for the Classroom

In my last post, I recommended using e-Cards in the classroom for a variety of reasons – curricular as well as motivational. To get started, here are some suggested sites to find free e-Card sites, as well as comments on their advantages and drawbacks.

free e-card

123 Greetings


  • free
  • remembers your details for next visit
  • format font, color, and size of the text in the personal message
  • set a delayed delivery date
  • preview the card
  • both sender and receiver can send same card on to another person


  • must accept notifications from 123Greetings but may unsubscribe later
  • busy page with lots of advertising
  • short ad appears for receiver before card loads

American Greeting Cards


  • no advertising on page
  • recipient can easily send a free reply or post a reply to Facebook; the default is a thank you for the card


  • not clear which cards are free – to begin, look for free cards using search feature
  • add a photo or voice message feature in personalized message is not available for free cards

Card Boulevard


  • no registration or subscription needed
  • look for free cards
  • can select music for card
  • download app MyFunCards to send free ecards
  • to send the card type free for Username and cards as Password


  • simple, plain cards
  • if music is chosen, sender and recipient must download midi file

Cat Cards


  • all free e-Cards with cat photos for many occasions
  • easy to navigate
  • simple, minimal information required – sender only needs to submit from and to names and emails
  • sends you an email to confirm that you sent the free e-Card
  • site is hosted by Cat Depot, a nonprofit organization committed to helping homeless, abandoned, and injured cats


  • limited choices – just cats

Crosscards Ecards


  • all cards are free
  • track contacts and e-Cards you have sent and received
  • set delivery date
  • post to Facebook, share link on Twitter, post to a board on Pinterest, or email


  • the opt in for email holiday alerts or special offers is selected by default
  • no formatting options for personal message

Dog Breedz


  • lots of dog related categories e.g. Humorous, Specific Breeds, Birthday, Puppies and more
  • can choose a background image and a ‘dog stamp’
  • add an emoji to personal message
  • sender is sent email confirmation
  • can view printable version


  • restricted to only dog e-Cards
  • e-Cards only available for 15 days

The Nature Conservancy


  • beautiful nature photographs including categories: Seasons, Animals, Birds, and more
  • no advertising
  • card appears in email message – don’t need to click link to see card in a browser
  • can opt in to receive updates and invitations
  • set delivery date


  • limited choice of cards – restricted to nature theme



  • can select View all free cards
  • see dates for upcoming holidays
  • choose background colors
  • recipient can send a thank you note
  • sender can see when recipient has viewed card


  • ads on page
  • recipient must click link in email

World Wildlife Fund


  • all cards are free
  • beautiful photos
  • includes fun ‘Species Fact Cards
  • can opt in to receive emails about conservation news


  • restricted to wildlife and nature topics

Care2 Earth to Kids


  • all cards have been drawn by kids
  • message in card has links to learning more about environmental issues
  • sending e-Cards earns credits to generate donations to nonprofit organizations
  • customize with stamps, music, background, or greeting


  • must click link in email to view card



  • e-Cards are artwork from the Museum of Modern Art
  • categories such as Architecture and Design, Painting and Sculpture, Special Occasions such as July 4, Mother’s Day and many more
  • browse by artist
  • no ads


  • CAUTION: artwork can include images that schools may find inappropriate for younger students

free e-card