Writing a story takes a lot of time and planning. Usually, something triggers the idea and from then on you work on it... until finally it is done.
As a teacher, I experienced the impact of ICT on schools first hand. Most of it good and exciting but there was another side. Students gaming on their devices in class, teachers struggling with new technology and parents deeply worried about the pitfalls and dangers of it all.
In response, I created an eLearning platform for Australian schools that encourages discussion about how to make good and safe use of ICT through the use of emoderated forums. This work made me realize that there were no exciting stories about this emerging topic available for young people. Of course, there are lots of wonderful web-based resources but no books. So I set out to write a few. I call them edufictional stories.
For elementary students, there will be 11 graphic novels.
The first one is in progress and is about what the physical Internet looks like. Here are a few initial sketches made by the illustrator. In this story, Mia gets lost in virtual reality after receiving the latest console causing her friends to search for her throughout the cyber world.
The novel, Team Savv-i Ten Secrets of the Cyberworld, for Middle schoolers is out. This book is supported by an engaging eLearning platform, which is available free for schools. Run on the school's server and by their own teachers. Parents can get involved too. This idea comes from documentaries that often have associated educational websites to lengthen the tail for learning.
And there are some exciting ideas in the pipeline for high school students. These will be more focused on digital citizenship issues relevant to this age group.
The Net is a wonderful and powerful learning tool and educators worldwide need to fully explore and leverage the exciting possibilities it offers, while at the same time guide young people to learn to stay safe.