Dr Jason Nurse’s top tips on staying safe online for Safer Internet Day

What we do:

Futurum Careers is a free online resource and magazine aimed at encouraging 14-19-year-olds worldwide to pursue careers in science, tech, engineering, maths, medicine (STEM) and research. We work with academics all over the world and translate their research into free education resources that can be used in the classroom, at home and in STEM and STEAM (science, tech, engineering, arts, social sciences, humanities and maths) clubs.

Why we do it:

We are passionate about STEM and STEAM education and we’re passionate about science communication. Why not combine the two?

Futurum is here because we want to help teachers deliver a high quality, broadened STEAM education that will invigorate their students’ desire to learn. We want to help scientists and researchers communicate their work to a global audience of teenagers, young adults and teachers. We want to offer teenagers and young adults – regardless of their gender, race of background – the knowledge and confidence to study STEAMM subjects – and, in turn, social mobility.

Our ultimate aim is to help students (and teachers help students) connect the subjects they are learning with real-world careers in STEAM. In the UK, Ofsted now ranks schools according to their application of Gatsby Benchmarks. The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework of eight guidelines that define the best careers provision in schools and colleges. When schools and teachers use our content, we can support them in meeting Gatsby Benchmarks 2, Learning from career and labour market information; 4, Linking curriculum learning to careers; 5 Encounters with employers and employees; and 7 Encounters with further and higher education. The US equivalent is the NGSS – Next Generation Science Standards.

Our mission is to enable researchers to inspire, teachers to motivate, and students to aspire.

How we work with researchers:

As the name Futurum suggests, we are always looking ahead, which is why we feel strongly about the importance of sharing knowledge and innovation, and why we ensure that research is communicated in an accessible and engaging manner, to an audience that is keen to learn.

We get to know our researchers’ work, use our expertise to craft teacher and student-friendly learning resources, and ensure our researchers are proud of the materials we share with the public on their behalf.

Increasing STEM skills is a global priority and Futurum is gratified by connecting experts from all over the world with the next generation of researchers. We ensure real impact is achieved by getting researcher’s work in front of teachers, from a source they trust and in a format they can use easily.

How we support teachers:

Every teacher wants to challenge their students and to pass on the passion for their subject that made them work in education in the first place. In the real world of heavy teaching timetables and minimal planning time, however, we know that teachers can struggle to provide learning experiences that broaden their students’ knowledge and understanding beyond the confines of exam specifications.

Our job is to provide free, stimulating and high-quality resources that enable teachers to stretch their students that little bit more, and take them beyond the classroom and into the innovative world of contemporary research.

The resources we provide for teachers foster engagement, curiosity and independent learning, while showcasing career options available to young people.

Meet the Futurum team

On Tuesday 11 February, people all over the world are marking Safer Internet Day 2020. Why? Because anyone using the internet should be able to feel safe online, whether they are browsing, banking, sharing information about themselves, giving an opinion or posting photos. And this year’s theme is ‘Together for a better internet’.

Dr Jason Nurse, Assistant Professor in Cyber Security and Director of Public Engagement at the Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security, knows all too well about the dangers lurking on the internet. He works with a team of cyber security researchers, based at the University of Kent, who is helping the UK government, businesses and the public stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals.

Click on this link and you can read about their important work in this easy-to-read article, and use it as an education resource in your classrooms: https://futurumcareers.com/how-to-beat-the-cybercriminals-and-stay-safe-online

In the meantime, here are Jason’s top tips for staying safe online:

“Here are a few quick things you can do to ensure that your use of online services and connected, smart devices is fun and private!

1. Default passwords are no friend – It’s always a good idea to change the default passwords that come with new gadgets. Why? Default passwords are sometimes openly available online to assist with product support. Changing these to your own password will ensure that what you do on the device remains private and only accessible to you!

2. Criminals love a weak password – Strong passwords don’t have to be complex, the trick is to find a password that is difficult for someone else to guess, yet easy for you to remember. A tip is to use three random words and with sprinkles of numbers and symbols (!,.,£). Unique passwords for different devices and systems can also help, and password managers offer the perfect support for this.

3. Check your privacy settings – New smart devices (e.g., smart toys, fitness gadgets or smart home tech) have a variety of settings which determine which data about you is collected. To protect your privacy, it’s always best to have a look through these settings to ensure you’re not sharing too much! In particular, check for apps and devices that constantly want to know your location, and disable any features that you don’t need or use!

4. The value of software updates – Cyber criminals are constantly finding new ways to break into your new, shiny gadgets. The purpose of software updates is to protect against these attacks by fixing security holes and other software problems. Simply put, updates keep you secure and can keep your use of devices private. Installing them is a no-brainer: good for you, bad for the criminals!

5. Smart devices can be a double-edged sword – Smart toys, fitness trackers, voice assistants and drones are all pretty awesome gadgets. Do remember, though, that they all come with some risk. Smart toys may expose your children’s data to cyber criminals, unchecked webcams may be used to spy on you as you undress, or voice assistants may listen in on your private conversations. Always be careful with what you share with these devices and the activities you engage with in front of them.”

Read more about this:

Safer Internet: Safer Internet Day 2020

Connect Safely: Safer Internet Day USA