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Software to protect students Fi Bendall

Software to protect students

Following recent revelations regarding the sharing of explicit images of girls from more than 70 Australian schools, a technological solution has been suggested.

Speaking at the Australian Institute of Professinal Intelligence Offices’ (AIPIO) conference yesterday, Founder and Director of Prevent and Protect Pty Ltd, Ms Fi Bendall announced new software designed to protect students against these kind of online threats.

The solution is described as protecting vulnerable users by actively analysing peer-to-peer cyber bullying, radicalisation and extremist grooming, instances of grooming and sexual threats, potential self-harm, deliberate access to inappropriate websites, pornography and more.

Ms Bendall said the launch of the new online software was particularly timely due to the recent news regarding the pornography scandal.

“This is especially timely and causing much interest at AIPIO due to the recent pornography scandal hitting more than 70 schools nationally. Prevent and Protect have agreed to work for free with police, intelligence, federal and state authorities to assist in their intelligence gathering”.

Prevent and Protect was formed in 2016 using software already implemented in 3,500 schools across the UK. It is designed to alert institutions to real-world issues that young people may be experiencing, including domestic violence, neglect, depression and anxiety.

“This is not an internet filtering system, it is an online system that alerts and captures information when a high-grade risk is in play,” Ms Bendall explained.

“We want to work with schools and police to provide an online system that will identify risks and alert the right people at the right time to put in place much needed support to young people being exposed to online threats. The data we capture is from inappropriate material from online and offline activity on social networking sites, chat rooms, peer-to-peer software, interactive games, websites, email, instant messaging systems, word and notepad.”

Isabel Lucas

Isabel Lucas lends hand to support La Trobe’s Aspire Program

Earlier this month, three celebrities joined crowds at La Trobe University’s Melbourne campus open day to help promote its early admissions program, Aspire.

The Aspire initiative is designed to reward secondary students who have actively engaged with their community through volunteering and service, by providing early offers into La Trobe even before they’ve completed their final year exams, let alone received an ATAR score.

To promote Aspire, actress Isabel Lucas, model Laura Henshaw and North Melbourne AFL player Luke McDonald assisted in providing sustenance for the masses with a ‘Pay-It-Forward-Pizza’ initiative, whereby people who received a pizza from the three stars were encouraged to pass their empty pizza box to a stranger, which could then be redeemed for a fresh one.

You can view a video promoting the event, here. A similar event took place at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus.

“It’s great to see my University encouraging and supporting community-minded Australians,” said Ms Henshaw. “Aspire is really popular with student at La Trobe, so I really encourage Year 12 student to investigate their options and apply.”

All told, La Trobe gave away 700 pizzas in Melbourne and 600 in Bendigo to create awareness for Aspire.

“We saw record numbers attending this year and with good reason; our theme for the day was employability, which sits perfectly alongside everything that we are doing with Aspire,” said a La Trobe spokesperson.

“Since its inception in 2014, the Aspire Program has seen considerable growth. In 2015, we made over 1,600 early offers to community minded students. We expect to see greater numbers in 2016 with awarenes of the program growing year-on-year.”

Students applying to the Aspire Program are assessed based on their community engagement experience, which they demonstrate in a 400-word statement. La Trobe also seeks an endorsement from each applicant’s school.

Sydonny, a second year Outdoor Education student at La Trobe Bendigo, received an early offer through the Aspire Program, having volunteered at a charity camp called ‘The Portsea Camp’ for two years prior to finishing high school.

“I found the Aspire Program incredibly worthwhile,” she said. “Not only did I receive my conditional offer before I went into exams, I also attended free revision lectures for each of my subjects.

“Giving back to the community should be an integral part in everyone’s life regardless of the reward. However, I have always benefited from volunteering – not only do you receive the gratitute of those you are assisting, but it can also mean learning new skills, developing wok ethic, possible career options, friendships and networking opportunities.”

Sydonny continues to volunteer regularly with The Portsea Camp.

To learn more about La Trobe’s Aspire Program, visit the university’s website.

Isabel Lucas

Isabel Lucas lends hand to support La Trobe's Aspire Program

You can view a video promoting the event, here. A similar event took place at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus. “It’s great to see my University encouraging and supporting community-minded Australians,” said Ms Henshaw. “Aspire is really popular with student at La Trobe, so I really encourage Year 12 student to investigate their options and apply.” All told, La Trobe gave away 700 pizzas in Melbourne and 600 in Bendigo to create awareness for Aspire. “We saw record numbers attending this year and with good reason; our theme for the day was employability, which sits perfectly alongside everything that we are doing with Aspire,” said a La Trobe spokesperson. “Since its inception in 2014, the Aspire Program has seen considerable growth. In 2015, we made over 1,600 early offers to community minded students. We expect to see greater numbers in 2016 with awarenes of the program growing year-on-year.” Students applying to the Aspire Program are assessed based on their community engagement experience, which they demonstrate in a 400-word statement. La Trobe also seeks an endorsement from each applicant’s school. Sydonny, a second year Outdoor Education student at La Trobe Bendigo, received an early offer through the Aspire Program, having volunteered at a charity camp called ‘The Portsea Camp’ for two years prior to finishing high school. “I found the Aspire Program incredibly worthwhile,” she said. “Not only did I receive my conditional offer before I went into exams, I also attended free revision lectures for each of my subjects. “Giving back to the community should be an integral part in everyone’s life regardless of the reward. However, I have always benefited from volunteering – not only do you receive the gratitute of those you are assisting, but it can also mean learning new skills, developing wok ethic, possible career options, friendships and networking opportunities.” Sydonny continues to volunteer regularly with The Portsea Camp. To learn more about La Trobe’s Aspire Program, visit the university’s website.]]>

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Online video games

Research: Online games boost student scores

A study from RMIT University reveals teenagers who regularly play video games online tend to receive higher school grades.

This contrasts with another finding: those visiting Facebook or chat-based websites every day are more likely to realise decreased performance in maths, reading and science.

The study used data collated by the internationally recognised Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which was in turn analysed by Asasociate Professor Alberto Posso from RMIT’s School of Economics, Finance and Marketing.

Published in the International Journal of Communication, the paper provides a snapshot of some of the pressures placed on today’s teens in Australia.

PISA’s database included tests from more than 12,000 Australian 15-year-olds in maths, reading and science, alongside additional information on the students’ online activities.

Assoc. Prof. Posso found that students “who play online video games every day score 15 points above the average in maths and 17 points above the average in science”.

“When you play online games you’re solving puzzles to move to the next level and that involves using some of the general knowledge and skills in maths, reading and science that you’ve been taught during the day,” he said.

As a result, the academic suggests educators consider how to incorporate popular video games into their teaching, “so long as they’re not violent ones”.

By comparison, students that regularly sent time on social media scored 20 points worse in maths than students who had never used those platforms, but Posso still recommends incorporating the technology as a method of assisting students who fall behind.

“Teachers might want to look at blending the use of Facebook into their classes as a way of helping those students engage.”

The researcher also stresses that there could be other factors having major impacts that hamper teenager scholastic progress, and missing school could be as bad or worse as regularly using social media.

Students from minority ethnic or linguistic groups were also at increased risk of falling behind than those using Facebook or chat sites each day.

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