‘The most important thing about Be Internet Legends is that it’s simple for children to follow and for schools to teach’
Parent Zone trainer Jenny Skeats explains how she delivers the Google Be Internet Legends programme to Key Stage 2 pupils across the UK.
My role in the Be Internet Legends team is to take the programme into UK primary schools and deliver the key messages, helping children aged 7 to 11 to learn how to be safer and more confident explorers of the online world. Meeting so many pupils each week is such a great opportunity to find out what questions they have – as well as things that concern schools about internet safety.
The Be Internet Legends programme covers essential information, using language that children can understand. When creating the lesson plans, Google and Parent Zone ensured there were suitable starter activities to help teachers set the scene and gauge what pupils already know about the online world. The fifth pillar of the curriculum – When in Doubt, Discuss – supports and guides teachers with recommended discussion points.
‘Pupils love to ask me questions about the internet’
When I visit their schools, pupils love to ask me questions about the internet, such as what they should do if a strange message pops up while they are playing an online game. I think this shows how curious they are and how important it is to have these conversations at this age. The curriculum also includes plenty of scenarios and examples pupils can relate to.
Be Internet Legends informs children from a young age about the many aspects of the internet. Even teachers tell me that they have learned things they weren’t aware of, especially regarding security. I’ve found that pupils are particularly surprised about online scams and tricks (phishing). Even if they haven’t encountered anything like this before, they can definitely put it to use in the future.
Jenny is one of the Be Internet Legends trainers, delivering assemblies to UK schools.
‘It is great to see children take these topics so seriously’
Teachers tell me the Be Internet Legends curriculum is flexible, with the Interland game integrating well with the main pillars of learning. The pupils love Interland. The characters are gender neutral, so boys and girls both find it accessible. They see the main character Legend as the hero, whereas Legend’s friend Pip is presented as the character the children can relate to. In the Be Internet Legends assembly we deliver, Pip is depicted as a bit unsure at the beginning, but becomes safer and more confident as we explore the core pillars. KS2 children can relate to that in their own progression through the curriculum and become more confident in their own knowledge.
The Interland game is a great way to reinforce the lesson plans. The Internaughties – the Phisher, Cyberbully, Hacker and Oversharer – often get a bit of a giggle. They aren’t seen as some big villains out to scare them, but pupils understand these characters cause trouble and that it’s important to learn how to stop them.
For example, many pupils will have experienced unkindness and bullying in some way, either offline or online, and the curriculum teaches them more about how to identify and consider their own behaviour. It is great to see children take these topics so seriously, especially as it means they will be more likely to take things away.
‘There are loads of ways for teachers to explore the key messages’
‘KS2 children can relate to that in their own progression through the scheme of work.'
It is great to be out in schools and to witness how each one is using the Be Internet Legends scheme of work. Overall, it has been hugely positive, and they can’t believe it is free. One teacher told me that their more reserved pupils began to speak up when covering the Be Internet Legends programme. Overall, children seem confident in sharing experiences or asking questions, which is a great sign that the resources are pitched at just the right level.
The most important thing about Be Internet Legends is that it is simple for the children to follow and for schools to teach. There are loads of ways for teachers to explore the key messages in lesson plans, discussions points, characters, examples and through using the game. This programme has so many ways to engage Key Stage 2 children.