How to run an interactive online safety event

How to run an interactive online safety event workshop was conducted at TEAC16 on October 7, 2016 in beautiful Ghent. Here I am sharing the workshop materials and experience of association “Langas į ateitį”, while organizing such events at children summer camps "Safe on the Internet during Summer Time!“.

 

 

Goal and target audience of the events

Usually during the school year teachers / librarians / telecentres engage in educating kids about internet safety. However there is a lack of such activities in the informal learning environment, when principles of safe behavior online can be introduced in a more fun manner. The campaign of interactive activities in summer camps was developed to provide skills to kids of safe use of smart devices, to draw their attention to internet safety and etiquette.

Main target audience of the events was primary school children. In 2015 and 2016, association “Langas į ateitį” together with partners of Lithuanian Safer Internet Centre, each summer visited 10 summer camps and met with 700 young campers.

The structure of the interactive event

Bellow I present the structure of the events we organized. However, this structure can be adapted according to the organization needs – changing, deleting or adding new activities.

The structure reflects a 2-hour duration event. The pictures of the events are shared on Facebook album, they can help visualising what was going on :)

What to consider when organizing such event?

  • Event goal – what is the message you want to transfer to event participants?
  • Target group. In our case, when decision was made to work with primary school children and visit them at summer camps, it became quite easy to engage the audience – it was done by contacting the organizers of summer camps. However, the considerable amount of preparation activities included searching and contacting the potential summer camp organizers, agreeing on visits timetable and organizational issues.
  • Activity ideas. They, of course, depend on the event goal and the target group – activities that are interesting to primary school kids, will not be suitable to adolescents, and vice versa. However, keep in mind that more interactivity is the better, no matter what the age group is. Even for adults it is true, right? :)
  • Premises and space needed. The space needed directly reflects the planned activities. How much rooms are needed? Is one big space (e.g. school hall or yard) enough or you need several smaller areas? In our case, as we visited summer camps, we prepared our activities to be quite flexible: manageable in smaller or bigger spaces, indoors or outdoors. However, what our experience revealed: as kids are quite active and loud, so the bigger space the better (several separate areas for team work is perfect as well); and the outdoors are much more fun, especially during summer time.
  • Materials / technology required. This, of course, also depends on the activities planned. You can organize a “high tech” event – introducing drones, virtual reality or robots. Our events were quite different, as the summer allowed us to introduce more physical activities, rather than technical. For our event the technology needed was quite minimal: presentations hardware can be used for discussion and is needed for brain battle. Other activities are carried out without using technology, but other materials: photos, papers, post-its, markers, tic-tac-toe, other… (you can see in the pictures).
  • Partners. You can organize everything yourself, but it is always more fun and easy to attract partners with their own ideas and active involvement. Once you already have partners – the good and timely exchange of information among them is necessary. The organizers prepare the plan/structure of the activity, which is introduced to all participating partners/staff members (face-to-face or online), agreeing on certain tasks and preparation activities, issues of logistics, timetable, etc. In our case, the events were organized together with Lithuanian Safer Internet partners, also with a financial support of mobile telecommunications company Omnitel (totally 5 organizations involved).
  • Finance and funding. Main budget headings of our events were: staff involvement (planning, organization), visual materials, souvenirs / prizes for participants (every kid receives something), supplies for implementation of workshops (e.g. paper, pencils and markers, etc.), travel expenses for the events in different cities. It is an advantage to organize the event as a part of a bigger project or campaign, in which case at least some funding and circle of reliable partners are guaranteed. However, such interactive events are very visible and attractive to private sponsors (in our case – the telecommunications company), who can also offer some content and support.

So, our lessons learnt…

  • be ready for intensive preparation and organization work (especially if it as a campaign of 10 events)
  • keep in mind the peculiarities of summer camp staff and their premises
  • during summer – the more interactivity the better
  • using outdoors when available – sometimes it rains :)

Presentation from the workshop: ppt

More info – blog about the events http://bit.ly/2adAqXA, photo gallery http://bit.ly/2adAAhM

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