Travelling Around the Virtual World
Author: Nina Jelen
This project consists of several elements, entirely created by the teacher and her pupils. A book written by Nina Jelen about a group of elves who embarrassed themselves online served as a basis for the project. She turned her classroom into a virtual world, where children had a digital identity and could choose how much information they were willing to share, and what the risks were. They could interact in real-life chatrooms. The children later discussed their behaviours in these chatrooms and reflected on the risks related to online privacy, cyberbullying, harmful content, digital footprints and grooming. They made billboards about the opportunities and risks of the internet, and about how they should behave online. They also created a book, "Flower children", about the risks of internet addiction. Based on this book, the teacher wrote a song and made a music video about being nice online ("like in the real world, we have to behave well online too"), and the children created three puppets they then used in plays about online safety. At the end of the project, they established several "golden rules" to be followed when using the internet. All of the materials created in the process were displayed in an exhibition.
In this project, the teacher has succeeded in teaching children about the importance of online safety in an offline environment, by appealing to their creative and playful side. Nina Jelen also contributed many articles on the topic for Časoris, an online magazine for children.