I’m delighted to bring you a tool that’s not only of vital importance in edtech, the curriculum, and education as a whole but also a handy companion for all things collaboration within and across schools!
ProjectEVOLVE is a FREE cloud-based platform that “resources each of the 330 statements from UK Council for Internet Safety’s (UKCIS) framework “Education for a Connected World” with perspectives; research; activities; outcomes; supporting resources and professional development materials.”
The content from ProjectEVOLVE is designed by the team at SWGfL, a not-for-profit charity dedicated to the empowerment of secure and safe technology use from innovative services, tools, content, and policy, nationally and globally. The SWGfL also forms one-third of the UK Safer Internet Centre who advise schools, public bodies, and industry on positive #OnlineSafety and #safeguarding.
Our online lives are contextually complex
Our online lives are becoming ever more complex and with our professional lives becoming increasingly hybridized, it comes as no surprise that we must teach our students relevant, engaging, and up-to-date content focusing on life online while also learning with them along the way.
While online safety is an ever-important topic, it forms only one aspect of the myriad of messages we should be giving learners (and ourselves!).
We should help grasp every opportunity to share messages with our learners to help guide them in important areas that impact them such as self-image and identity, online reputation, managing information online, privacy and security among many more. ProjectEVOLVE gives lots of opportunities to engage with developing our understanding of the complexities of life online; to help guide reflections, shape thinking, and challenge misconceptions; such as self-image and identity, online reputation, managing information online and many more.
Coupling this with the desire to both reduce teacher workload, thanks to a huge array of resources on the site and give students and young people a framework for digital life, and bingo; you have a fully resourced tool for the school community in the ProjectEVOLVE toolkit!
How might you use this in your school?
Take your pick! There are fully resourced lessons for primary and secondary phases, knowledge maps, and for leaders, there’s also a school data dashboard. You could incorporate it into your curriculum, use it as a full-fledged resource to support activities on days with specific foci such as safer internet day, or even use it as a starting point with your digital leaders (or teachers) to help grow their knowledge and understanding.
What’s great about the plethora of resources on ProjectEVOLVE is they are categorised in a way to make it both accessible and easy to navigate: strand, phase, year group, theme, curriculum subject/area, so dialling into your specific resource need on a granular level takes but a few clicks using their toolkit.
Each activity links to outcomes from the “Education for a Connected World” framework, with accompanying questions to prompt class discussions/reflections/debate/challenge, resources, plus activity descriptors which are super helpful for the non-experts or not-so-confident teachers in the room. What is even more impressive, is all the resources are curriculum aligned so there are specific examples for almost every subject area across both primary and secondary.
A whole school approach
The above resonates with me hugely on two levels: firstly, technology is pervasive and transcends all subjects in some way shape or form, so it is only right that we should be able to teach students with specific examples from within each curriculum area. Secondly, to get real success and initiative buy-in you need a three-line whip. If online safety was only left to PSHE or the Computing curriculum, its impact would be less compared to that of a curriculum-wide approach.
An example of the resources available for “Copyright and Ownership” in the primary section of the Music and Drama curriculum area is captured below:
As you can see from the resources, they are easy to follow, clearly thought out and designed to help shape and guide learning whilst keeping the main thing the main thing: learning. Additionally, the website has a guidance section which is handy for guides and video walkthroughs to introduce you to ProjectEVOLVE. Here they explain how you can make the best use of their resources so you aren’t having to figure it out for yourself.
Preparation is key
If you aren’t already with me in thinking that ProjectEVOLVE is a hugely helpful resource, for all within education, in the day and age we live in, you can also build knowledge maps to assess where your pupil’s online safety knowledge is at any point in time, so that you can then plan ahead and see the impact of your teaching.
You can view the impact from within the dashboard and see progress with each strand, identify your baseline, compare taught strands to one another, and highlight the impact of the taught strands, all while measuring progress and identifying areas for improvement. This is another handy tool within the ProjectEVOLVE arsenal to help us to prepare for and drive a better understanding of our impact on shaping a better online life for all stakeholders.
Digital literacy is a challenge for us all given the constantly evolving nature of technology and life online. ProjectEVOLVE is a ready-made free digital literacy toolkit that not only supports the development of our learners, but also assists educators in guiding, supporting, and educating their use of technology in their digital lives.
About Olly Lewis
Olly Lewis is Head of Digital Transformation at The Thomas Deacon Education Trust.
Olly’s website: https://www.ollylewislearning.com
Follow Olly on Twitter: Olly Lewis @OllyLewis@mastodon.world (@OLewis_coaching) / Twitter
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UK Safer Internet Centre: UK Safer Internet Centre (@UK_SIC) / Twitter