Behaving Ethically Online: Ethics and Empathy

In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea that “hot” emotional states such as anger or excitement can make it harder for them to control how they act. They also discuss the concept of empathy and look at the ways in which digital communication can make it harder to feel empathy for other people. Students then read scenarios that portray two sides of an online conflict and consider how to resolve them, using their discussion to build a list of tools for emotional management and conflict resolution online. Finally, students create a media product that explains and reminds them of one of those tools.

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Finding Balance in Our Digital Lives

In this lesson, students look at the different ways in which we spend our free time and learn to find balance between active, learning and media activities. They begin by distinguishing between Active, Learning and Screen time, learn how activities can fall into more than one category; and reflect on their lives to see how well screen time is balanced by other types of activities. Finally, students consider how they might improve how their time is balanced. 

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Healthy Food Web

In this lesson, students consider the role of snack foods in a healthy diet. The teacher then guides them on a tour of popular sites aimed at children, where the class identifies and classifies the advertising encountered there and looks at how the food products being advertised fit – or don’t fit – in the food groups found in the Canada Food Guide. Students then play the game Co-Co’s AdverSmarts to understand some of the techniques used by online food marketers and then create their own mock website promoting a healthy diet.

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Adversmarts: Introduction to Food Advertising Online

In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea of online advertising and look at the ways that marketers create immersive and appealing online environments that draw and hold children’s attention. After studying common advertising techniques, students play an educational online game that lets them put their learning into action by “creating” a site advertising a fictitious cereal, Co-Co Crunch.

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Adversmarts: Understanding Food Advertising Online

In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea of online advertising and look at the ways that marketers create immersive and appealing online environments that draw and hold children’s attention. After studying common advertising techniques, students play an educational game online that lets them put their learning into action by “creating” a site advertising a fictitious cereal, Co-Co Crunch. Students then look at examples of real commercial environments and watch for “weasel words” used by advertisers. 

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Avatars and Body Image

In this lesson students are introduced to the concept of “avatars” and share their experiences creating and playing avatars in video games and virtual worlds. They then create avatars using a program that is intentionally limited in terms of available body types and gender markers, first creating an avatar of their own gender and then of the opposite gender, and then discuss the program and relate it to representations of gender and body image in games and virtual worlds and in other media. Students then create avatars using a much more flexible version of the program and compare that experience to the more limited version. Finally, students use the more versatile program to create avatars that represent how they see themselves and how they would like others to see them online and reflect on the choices that went into creating them.

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Game Time

In this lesson, students consider the positive aspects of video games as well as the ways in which games may take time away from other activities they enjoy. Students are introduced to the idea of balancing game and screen time with other parts of their lives and learn about the reasons why they may be tempted to spend more time playing games or find it difficult to stop playing. They then keep a diary of their game play (or another screen activity if they do not play video games) that prompts them to reflect on their gaming habits. Partway through that process, they are introduced to techniques that will help them moderate their game play and deal with the difficulties they may feel reducing game time. Finally, students reflect on the experience and develop a plan to make their game play more mindful.

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Representing Ourselves Online

In this lesson, students talk about dressing up and taking on identities that are similar to or different from them. They are then introduced to the idea of avatars as a kind of “dressing up” inside video games and consider the ways in which the technical, generic and aesthetic limitations on avatar creation and customization affect their choices and their ability to represent themselves online.

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Put Your Best Face Forward

In this lesson, students start by discussing the phenomenon of “selfies” and serve as experts in advising the teacher on the standards by which the “best” selfies are judged. They then discuss a number of statements taken from interviews with youth that highlight issues of self-representation, body image and gender standards, and learn about “photoshopping” images. Finally, students apply what they have learned by modifying an image that is at least 50 years old to meet “selfie” standards.

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