NW 16 ICT in Education and Training - Education in an era of risk – Addressing the issue of cyber risks

Education in an era of risk – Addressing the issue of cyber risks

In an era of risk, cyber risks pose an increasing threat. Human behaviour is considered to be one of the weakest links. In addition, using the internet may affect young people in various ways. This calls for education that prepares students to recognize and avoid risks of using the internet and that contributes to talent development in ICT. However, research shows that teachers’ competences in this area are often inadequate, and many students do not have sufficient skills in digital literacy. The aim of this special call is to attract contributions to ECER 2019 that focus on educational research in relation to these and related issues.  

The Call

The theme of ECER 2019 is ‘Education in an Era of Risk – the Role of Educational Research for the Future’. Cyber risks are typical risks in the field of ICT. Trimintzios et al. (2017) state: ‘an overwhelming percentage of successful cyberattacks are due to human errors. We consider human behaviour as one of the weakest links in the cybersecurity chain.’ (p. 57). These authors contend that widening the cybersecurity focus in higher education, as well as offering continuous professional development through training and exercises, is vital.

Pusey and Sadera (2011) distinguish cyberethics, cybersafety, and cybersecurity, or C3, as three overlapping domains of knowledge, and state that teacher education programs must prepare preservice teachers to model and teach C3 topics and safe computing practices. However, these researchers’ study revealed that preservice teachers don’t have sufficient knowledge of C3 and lack the ability to teach their future students about it.

For pupils cyber risks include a range of issues that typically involve violations of the pupil’s own personal sphere or that of his/her friends, which calls for pupils being provided with appropriate skills and awareness for ensuring their safety online (Berendt et al., 2014). The current generation of pupils is often referred to as 'the Net generation' (Tapscott, 1999) or 'digital natives' (Prensky, 2001). They grew up with technology and would therefore have skills that previous generations, including their teachers, lack. However, several authors have questioned this claim (e.g. Bennett et al., 2008). In addition, the results of the International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) showed that the majority of pupils in secondary schools do not score higher than the second level of the four levels distinguished in the test taken (Fraillon et al., 2014).

According to some authors and authorities, our digital environment and our connected life raise a number of concerns about the protection of children (Cross et al., 2009 ; American Academy of Pediatrics, 2010, 2013 ; French Academy of Sciences, 2013 ; ANSES, 2014 ; NPSCC, 2017 ; UNICEF, 2017), and the support of adolescents (UNESCO, 2017 ; Ortega et al., 2009 ; Patching & Hinduja, 2012; Couchot-Schiex et al., 2016). These concerns may relate to, e.g., young people’s mental health, excessive behaviour, social outcomes, and (digital) citizenship. Now, a growing body of research is interested in these issues, articulating from the outset, a transformative goal (e.g. designing education programs and / or developing policies) to an epistemic purpose.

Grover and Pea (2013) believe ‘that those in possession of computational competencies will be better positioned to take advantage of a world with ubiquitous computing‘ (p.40), and claim that computational thinking should be included in curricula, which may involve activities like programming, game design and robotics.

In conclusion, there is an urgent need to address issues of cybersecurity and other ICT related risks in education. Therefore we especially welcome contributions that address topics in this field. This may include issues of fostering digital literacy, computational thinking, enhancing teacher competencies in preservice teacher training or by continuing professional development, and training of personnel.

Contact person(s)
Ed Smeets (e.smeets(at)kbanijmegen.nl)
Philippe Gabriel (philippe.gabriel(at)univ-avignon.fr)

Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail, ANSES (2014). Effets sanitaires potentiels des technologies audiovisuelles en 3D stéréoscopique. Maison-Alfort: author. Retrieved October 17th, 2018, from www.anses.fr/fr/system/files/AP2011sa0334Ra.pdf.
American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications (2011). Media use by children younger than 2 years. Pediatrics, 128 (5), pp. 1040-1045.
American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on Communications and Media (2013). Children, Adolescents, and the Media. Pediatrics, 132 (5) 958-961; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-2656.
Bennett, S. J., Maton, K. A. & Kervin, L. K. (2008). The 'digital natives' debate: a critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39 (5), 775-786.
Berendt, B., De Paoli, S., Laing, C., Fischer-Hübner, S., Catalui, D., & Tirtea, R. (2014). Roadmap for NIS education programmes in Europe. Education. European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA).
Couchot-Schiex, Moignard & Richard (2016). Cybersexisme chez les adolescent-e-s (12-15 ans) : etude sociologique dans les établissements franciliens de la 5e à la 2nde. Centre Hubertine Auclert et Observatoire Universitaire International d’Éducation et Prévention (OUIEP) de l’Université Paris Est Créteil. Retrieved October 17th, 2018, from www.centre-hubertine-auclert.fr/sites/default/files/fichiers/etude-cybersexisme-web_1.pdf.
Cross, D., Shaw, L. Hearn, Epstein, M., Monks, H., Lester & Thomas, L. (2009). Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study (ACBPS), Child Health Promotion Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Perth.
Fraillon, J., Ainley, J., Schulz, W., & Friedman, T. (2014). Preparing for life in a digital age: The IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study international report. Springer.
French Academy of Sciences (2013). L'enfant et les écrans. Paris: Institut de France. Retrieved October 17th, 2018, from www.academie-sciences.fr/pdf/rapport/avis0113.pdf
Grover, S., & Pea, R. (2013). Computational thinking in K–12: A review of the state of the field. Educational Researcher, 42 (1), 38-43.
NSPCC (2017) Not alone anymore: Childline annual review 2016/17. London: NSPCC. Retrieved October 17th, 2018, from learning.nspcc.org.uk/media/1121/not-alone-anymore-childline-annual-review-2016-17.pdf
Ortega, R., Elipe, P., Mora-Merchán, J.A, Calmaestra, J., & Vega, E. (2009). The emotional impact on victims of traditional bullying and cyberbullying : a study of spanish adolescents. Journal of Psychology, 217, 197–204.
Patchin, J.W., & Hinduja, S. (2012). Cyberbullying Prevention and Response : Expert Perspectives. New York : Routledge.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On the horizon, 9 (5), 1-6.
Pusey, P., & Sadera, W.A. (2011).  Cyberethics, Cybersafety, and Cybersecurity: Preservice Teacher Knowledge, Preparedness, and the Need for Teacher Education to Make a Difference. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education,  28 (2), 84-88.
Tapscott, D. (1999). Educating the net generation. Educational leadership, 56 (5), 6-11.
Trimintzios, P. et al. (2017). Cybersecurity in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Challenges and risks for the EU. Brussels: Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA), European Parliamentary Research Service, European Parliament.
UNESCO (2017). School Violence and Bullying. Paris: author. Retrieved October 17th, 2018, from unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002469/246970e.pdf.
UNICEF (2017). Children in a Digital World. New York: author. Retrieved October 17th, 2018, from www.unicef.org/eapro/SOWC_2017_ENG_EMBARGOED.pdf


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Interview with Convenor at ECER 2010