Jan de Craemer
We used to have a lot of one off activities: campaigns on this or that topic or threat; a lesson plan here and a toolbox there. What was lacking, however, was a sustainable framework where schools could actually develop a comprehensive policy on all the issues concerned. The eSafetyLabel offers precisely this and helps schools to pay attention to different aspects of online safety.
Flemish Ministry of Education and Training, Belgium
Please introduce yourself and explain how and when you became involved with the eSafety Label world and tell us what the added value of eSafety Label is, in your opinion. What are you saying to schools in your country to convince them to join the community and apply for a label?
I have been responsible for coordinating the ICT and digital media policies at the Flemish Ministry of Education & Training since 1998. Besides my role in the ICT & digital media policy development, I have equally been responsible for ICT initiatives such as the ICT-infrastructure program, the Flemish regional expertise network for in-service training and the development of the ICT-curriculum for primary, secondary and adult education. I am involved in ICT-integration projects about eSafety, digital learning resources and ICT for special needs policies. I equally represent Flanders in the European Commission ET2020 Working Group on Digital skills and Competences and I am Vice-chair of the European Schoolnet Steering Committee and member of the Board of Directors of European Schoolnet. I strongly believe in the integrated approach of the eSafety Label. eSafety policies at school have an impact on infrastructure, on the way issues are tackled during lessons and on incident handling. This is all well covered by the eSafety Label. We used to have a lot of one off activities: campaigns on this or that topic or threat; a lesson plan here and a toolbox there. What was lacking, however was a sustainable framework where schools could actually develop a comprehensive policy on all the issues concerned. The eSafetyLabel offers such a framework and helps schools to pay attention to different aspects of online safety. Another important feature of the eSafety Label is that schools receive a personalized action plan based on a relatively small amount of work. ICT-coordinators just have to answer the assessment form which can be done in a relatively limited amount of time. The cost-benefit balance of the eSafety is really valuable for schools.
What is your favourite part of being an eSafety Label National Coordinator? Do you have any fun/inspiring anecdotes to share? What is the biggest challenge of being an eSafety Label National Coordinator in your opinion?
I love introducing the eSafety Label to schools during study days. The contact with schools and ICT-coordinators is really interesting for me. The biggest challenge of being an eSafety Label National Coordinator? I think it’s the lack of time! It’s clear that new media present multiple risks besides the richness of opportunities they provide to young people. Respect for intellectual property, attention for personal information, privacy or cyberbullying are issues that schools have to deal with. Teachers have an important duty of care to their pupils, and this includes helping them to use new digital technologies in a safe and responsible way, wherever and whenever they go online. The eSafety Label plays an important role in that ambition.
Finally, what do you expect from the future of the eSafety Label initiative?
Trends in online safety vary a lot over time. Each new technology provides educational opportunities but also brings threats. It's an important aspect of the eSafety Label that it evolves together with the technological changes and that it captures new issues. Very soon, new applications such as virtual and augmented reality, data driven learning environments, AI etc. will enter the classrooms. The eSafety Label should be ready to tackle all these new issues in the action plan, the assessment form etc.