Survey: Educators lack training to teach online safety (USA Today)
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America's K-12 teachers are ill-prepared to educate students on the basics of online safety, security and ethics, and more than a third of teachers receive no training in cybersecurity issues, according to a coalition of government and private technology experts who released a study today.
A survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance, a non-profit group that works with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to promote computer security awareness, found that the nation's school administrators overwhelmingly (81%) feel they are doing a good job teaching children about online safety. But 36% of their teachers receive no training in the issue, the study found.
"Virtually all young people are using online Internet technology in some way, shape or form, but we still see a lack of cohesion and disconnect in schools about what they should be doing," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "In the 21st century, these topics are as important as reading, writing and math."
The survey, sponsored by Microsoft, includes responses from 1,012 teachers, 402 principals and superintendents, and 200 school tech specialists. Among the findings:
- 55% of teachers "strongly agree" that online safety should be covered in the curriculum, compared with 82% of administrators and 85% of technology coordinators.
- 36% of teachers said they received zero hours of training by their school districts in the last year; 40% received one to three hours of training.
- 51% of teachers said their school districts do an adequate job preparing students for online safety, security and ethics, compared with 81% of administrators .
- 79% of teachers said parents should be primarily responsible for teaching their children about cybersecurity, compared with 60% of administrators and 45% of tech coordinators.
- Less than 1% of teachers, administrators and tech specialists surveyed said government or law enforcement should bear the most responsibility.
A 2008 federal law requires that all schools that receive discounts on Internet and telecommunications access through a federal program offer online education safety programs but does not specify or define what that education should be. No state requires comprehensive training for elementary, middle and high schools, the alliance says, though six — Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, California and New York — have laws that address online safety in schools. Nearly all states (44) have anti-bullying laws on the books, the Cyberbullying Research Center says.
"Adding one more thing (to the school day) is always a challenge (so) I think it clearly has to be embedded in the way we do our teaching and learning," says Keith Krueger, head of the Consortium for School Networking. "As a country, in the school and at the classroom level, we need to be much better at really preparing kids to live in an unfiltered world."
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