by Joanna Feast, 28 March, 2017

Digital Literacy and Jigsaw

Digital literacy, a term that has been in use since the 1990s, refers to a set of competencies required for full participation in a knowledge society.

Kids and Social MediaIt includes knowledge, skills, and behaviour involving the effective use of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs for purposes of communication, expression, collaboration and advocacy. While digital literacy initially focused on digital skills and stand-alone computers, the focus has shifted from stand-alone to network devices including the Internet and social media.
In March 2017, the House of Lords published a report on children’s digital literacy. The report asserts that children inhabit a world in which every aspect of their lives is mediated through technology: from health to education, from socialising to entertainment. Yet the recognition that children have different needs to those of adults has not yet been fully accepted in the online world. There is well-documented public concern about risks to children from the internet such as easy access to inappropriate content, loss of privacy, commercial exploitation and cyberbullying. The inquiry sought to understand what issues and opportunities children face as they grow up surrounded by, and interacting with, internet technologies.

At the heart of the recommendations was the call for sustained leadership from the Government at the highest level, an ambitious programme of digital literacy, minimum standards for those providing internet services and content (‘the internet value chain’), and a commitment to child-centred design. We also believe that children must be treated online with the same rights, respect and care that has been established through regulation in offline settings such as television and gambling.

The report noted that the current regime of self-regulation very often puts commercial considerations first. The Government has a duty to hold ‘the best interests of the child’ as a primary consideration in any action which concerns a child under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Additionally, it is worth noting that the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will give children more rights, including the right to erasure (the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’).

Baby using a Laptop ComputerThere is a loud call for industry to implement minimum standards of child-friendly design, filtering, privacy, data collection, and report and response mechanisms for complaints. The standards should encompass consideration of children’s rights and should be built early into the process of design so that the needs of children are considered preventatively rather than reactively.

Digital literacy, that is, the skills and knowledge to critically understand the internet, is vital for children to navigate the online world. It is also an essential requirement of the future workforce. It is no longer sufficient to teach digital skills in specialist computer science classes to only some pupils. The report recommends that digital literacy sit alongside reading, writing and mathematics as the fourth pillar of a child’s education; and that no child should leave school without a well-rounded understanding of the digital world.

The report tells of a worrying rise in unhappy and anxious children emerging alongside the upward trend of childhood internet use. Therefore, the report calls for more robust research in respect of the possible causal relationship in this regard, while also supporting immediate action to prevent children being adversely affected in the meantime.

Jiggy-Jo-LargeA significant recommendation from the report was that schools should teach online responsibilities, social norms and risks as part of mandatory, Ofsted-inspected Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, designed to look broadly at the issues that children face online. This is something that Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, has done already.

The creation of Jigsaw was motivated by the genuine belief that if attention is paid to supporting children’s personal development in a structured and developmentally appropriate way, this will not only improve their capacity to learn (across the curriculum) but will ultimately improve their life chances. That’s why Jigsaw is completely child-focussed.

Building on all aspects of a child’s development can have a positive and lasting impact on how they choose to live their lives now and in the future. The Connect Us activity at the beginning of each Jigsaw lesson serves to improve children’s social skills to better enable collaborative learning – all while children have fun! These activities are designed to maximise social skills, to engender positive relationships and enhance collaborative learning. This serves to enable children to value good relationships and to value similarities and differences, which, in turn, can help children understand about themselves better.

In every Jigsaw lesson, there is an opportunity for children to reflect on their learning experiences and their progress. By reflecting, children can process and evaluate what they have learnt, which enables them to consolidate and apply their learning. This opportunity to reflect allows children to focus on themselves and to learn valuable skills that will help them now and in later life. For example, if a child is able to recognise his/her vulnerability in some areas, to know that this is OK, and to know how to help themselves, this puts that child at a lesser chance of turning to risky behaviours, many of which can be played out online.

Jigsaw whole-heartedly supports children to become more independent in their actions, thoughts and learning journeys, to be responsible for their own safety, behaviour and well-being – and to be in control of their emotions and responses. All this helps to instill in children a better sense of themselves so that they can nd worth in themselves and others.

One of the ways in which this is achieved in Jigsaw is by the use of treasure chests. The basic premise is that children can fill an actual treasure chest with their skills (drawn or written down), good memories, special thoughts, achievements they are proud of, etc.; they are then taught to imagine or visualise what is in the treasure chests. In more difficult or challenging times, children can learn to draw what is in their internal treasure chest, without needing to have a tangible treasure chest in front of them. This work starts in Years 1 and 2 in ‘Dreams and Goals’ and is continued throughout Jigsaw into the other year groups. This intrinsic reward system helps children to gain a sense of resilience, which is vitally important when teaching children about risk-taking behaviour.

The ‘Relationships’ Puzzle offers children a plethora of ways to learn about choices, morals, special things and people, and so on. ‘Relationships’ has a wide focus, looking at diverse topics such
as families, friendships, pets and animals, and love and loss. A vital part of this Puzzle is about safeguarding and keeping children safe; this links to cyber safety and social networking, and other more subtle risk-taking behaviours; children learn how to deal with conflict, their own strengths and self-esteem – and what to do when this is tested.

Overall, the development of self-awareness, social skills, managing feelings, motivation and empathy is contributed to in every Piece – and these are the skills that are most crucial in helping children to have a healthier sense of risk. This is mapped on every Piece and balanced appropriately across each Puzzle and year group. The grid below shows how various Jigsaw lessons across the year groups supports children and their digital literacy development.

Read the full House of Lords report here.

Joanna Feast
Senior Associate Consultant, Jigsaw PSHE Ltd

Year GroupPuzzle (unit)Piece (lesson)ContentLink to Safeguarding
Relationships4 - People who help usUsing the scenario cards (or make up your own), children act out scenarios showing when they can ask for help and from whom they can receive help.If children nd something unsuitable on a computer, or see/hear something that they feel uncomfortable about, practise with them who they can ask for help and what they can say.
Relationships4 - SecretsChildren learn
that sometimes secrets are good and sometimes they are not good – and how they feel if they are asked to keep
a secret they don’t want to keep, and who to talk to about it.
Through understanding about good secrets and ‘worry’ secrets, children can practise giving advice to Jigsaw Jo to help with any ‘worry’ secrets. Teachers can emphasise that ‘worry’ secrets need to be told to an adult and not kept inside.
Healthy Me4 - Being SafeChildren identify things, people and places that they need to keep safe from, and can share some strategies for keeping themselves safe, including who to go to for help.Using the ‘We are keeping safe from...’ cards, children can come up with strategies for Jigsaw Jino to keep
safe in different situations, including online. Children can also complete the ‘Keeping Safe’ templates to form their contributing chapter for the school’s Healthy, Happy Me Recipe Book (assessment task).
Relationships3 - Keeping myself safeChildren discuss things that they might need to
keep safe from and complete a ‘keep safe’ label template.
In discussions, teachers can draw out of children that they might need to think about keeping safe, including when they are online.
Healthy Me5 - Healthy FriendshipsThis Piece looks at how children can learn to recognise when people are putting them under pressure and how to resist this when they want.Through the context of healthy friendships, children can explore their possible feelings of anxiety and
fear and how this might
be associated with peer pressure; it could also be applied to the pressure they might feel from other people.
Healthy Me6 - Celebrating My Inner Strength and AssertivenessHelping children learn that they can have a clear picture of what they believe is right and wrong, and to know how to be assertive when they need to be.Children can learn to draw on their own sense of right and wrong to help make decisions that suit them. Using some simple assertiveness techniques can help children feel more empowered in their lives and can help to keep them from harm.
Relationships3 - Girlfriends and BoyfriendsThrough discussion and activities, children understand that they have a choice about whether to have a girlfriend/ boyfriend and that they are under no pressure to do this (assertiveness).Children look at appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, including physical contact. The emphasis in the lesson is that there is absolute
need for both people in a relationship to show and to expect complete respect for each other’s feelings and choices; this concept can easily be applied to other situations that some children may be in.
Relationships5 & 6 - Relationships and TechnologyTwo lessons on staying safe when using technology. Children learn to recognise and resist pressure to use technology in ways that may be risky
or cause harm to others.
The CEOP ThinkUKnow video is used to demonstrate to children what can happen online. To create a balanced view, children are also encouraged to share what
is good/useful about the internet.
A ‘Personal Record Sheet’ activity highlights to children the importance of being vigilant online and not posting personal information.
Relationships4 - Power and ControlReturning to more assertiveness training, where children learn to recognise when people are trying
to gain control or power, and how they can stand up for themselves (and their friends) in situations when others try to gain control or power.
Power and Control headlines and scenario cards are used to facilitate discussion among the children so they can decide on whether someone is being ‘controlling’ – and then to practise some helpful assertiveness techniques, which demonstrate how
to deal with some of these situations.
Relationships5 - Being Safe with Technology 1Linked to previous lessons, children learn how technology can be used to try
to gain power or control, and to be able to use strategies to prevent this from happening. They are also taught how to take responsibility for their own safety and well-being.
A short lm about cyber- bullying is used to explore the use of text messages and e-mails – and how
they can be used on hurtful ways. Online scenarios are the basis for discussions about what to do in dif cult situations online or on phones. Children are reassured that they can talk to a trusted adult about anything that might be worrying them online or on phones.
Relationships6 - Being Safe with Technology 2In part 2 of
the safety and technology lessons, children learn to use technology positively and safely to communicate with friends and family, whilst taking responsibility for their own safety and well-being.
A ‘Keeping Myself Safe Online’ quiz is used to highlight some of the
key messages from this and previous lessons, demonstrating how children have the right to be safe online too. Their learning
is shown in the production of group videos about how children can be safe with technology and enjoy it.

NB: In all lesson plans, there are notes for teachers about being prepared for disclosures and what to do if they arise, including being aware of the school’s confidentiality and safeguarding policies.

Want to know more about the Jigsaw PSHE scheme of work? Call us on the number below or click here to see more about the Jigsaw PSHE scheme of work in more detail.

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