Press Releases

November 23, 2009

MOE, IDA and Microsoft Launch Cyber Wellness Student Ambassador Programme

Students who want to play an active role in promoting cyber wellness among their peers can now become Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors. The Cyber Wellness Student Ambassador Programme is launched today to promote safe and responsible use of Information-Communication Technologies (ICT) among students through peer education. The programme is a part of the BackPack LIVE! Education Initiative led by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Microsoft Singapore. It will target students at Primary 4 and Secondary 2 levels, and kick off with 47 primary and 44 secondary schools in November 2009.

The Cyber Wellness Student Ambassador Programme will not only equip students with knowledge and skills on how to use online tools safely, but will also provide schools with an extended platform to complement and support their existing cyber wellness education efforts. Through positive peer influence and peer education, the Programme will provide a platform for cyber wellness messages to be delivered from the youths’ viewpoint. Student Ambassadors will also benefit from their direct involvement as they are actively engaged in planning and designing activities to propagate cyber wellness messages.

“One of our overall objectives with BackPack LIVE! is to enable our students to be confident and discerning in using ICT to learn effectively anytime, anywhere. Having students get directly involved in the planning of cyber wellness programmes will heighten awareness of safety concerns and drive adoption of positive cyber habits within the student community. There is scope for students themselves to play an active role in promoting cyber wellness among their peers.” said Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Home Affairs, at the launch of the Cyber Wellness Student Ambassador Programme on 23 November. “We are glad to collaborate with our partners to help achieve these outcomes.”

Buddy Goes to School

Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors will attend a two-day cyber wellness workshop on 23 and 24 November. The workshops, organised by Microsoft Singapore, are designed to promote positive Internet use, raise awareness of Internet safety issues, as well as equip students with preventive skills to cope with potential online dangers. These workshops will incorporate training to empower Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors with the knowledge and skills to initiate, plan and implement possible cyber wellness activities that they can carry out back in their schools, under the guidance of Cyber Wellness Teacher Coordinators.

Following the launch, Microsoft Singapore will also be working closely with the Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors on the creation of a skit called ‘Buddy Goes to School’, which would be rolled out to schools as part of the Cyber Wellness Student Ambassador Programme.

Mirrored on real-life situations, the skit highlights both the vast advantages of using online tools and the possible dangers that exist online. One of the stars in the skit, the Windows Live Messenger Buddy, will play the role of an advisor who educates students on how to navigate the Web safely, and give the students an opportunity to use online tools such as Windows Live Essentials to engage and collaborate with their peers.

“The Internet is a place of unlimited resources as well as potential dangers. Enabling children and young adults to safely navigate cyberspace is an important objective for Microsoft. We approach the task in two ways - with technology that uses the latest security and privacy controls and through education on how to protect yourself and be responsible when using the Web,” said Jessica Tan, Microsoft Singapore Managing Director. “Through the Windows Live Messenger Buddy, Microsoft provides the platform for the Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors to educate their school peers on avoiding the pitfalls of surfing the Internet in a fun and engaging manner, which is more likely to resonate with them than hearing from an adult.”

Currently all schools have implemented their cyber wellness programmes based on the Cyber Wellness Framework developed by MOE.

About BackPack LIVE!

The BackPack LIVE! initiative is an expansion of the previous five year IDA-Microsoft BackPack.NET initiative launched in 2003. The new collaboration will focus on inspiring, exploring and scaling ICT practices among teachers to develop students’ self-directed and collaborative learning capability.

BackPack Live! comprises four pillars: Professional Learning Communities; Developers Community, Cyber Wellness ; and Recognition & Promotion. It aims to transform the learning environment for students in Singapore by facilitating greater engagement with students, and promote learning in an interactive environment using multiple senses. This initiative is also part of Microsoft’s global Partners in Learning programme.