Lesson Plan for Teachers:

Using Avatars to Teach Internet Safety -- Susan Oxnevad, March, 2009

updated: 1/11/11

Curriculum area: Internet Safety
Grade level: All


Students will create avatars and pen names for participating in the wiki project.


Students will
  • distinguish between personal vs. private information.
  • create avatars and pen names to protect their identities when publishing and collaborating online.
  • agree to follow publishing safety rules and web etiquette.

Tool or technology:

(See resources, bottom)
Web 2.0 Tools to create an avatar.

NETS-S: National Education Technology Standards for Students

View standards covered

Lesson Overview:

Whole Group Discussion:
  1. Intro to wikis. Watch Video,In Plain English
  2. Discuss wikis as "Live and WorldWide"
  3. Personal vs. Private information. Get handout from CyberSmart
  4. What's an avatar? An avatar is an online identify used to allow users to have a personality while protecting private information.
  5. Discuss Publishing Safety Guidelines and Web Etiquette (Students will agree to these terms when requesting a user account, at the end of this lesson.

Hands on Activity:

If you don't have time or access to computer, please consider assigning this as a fun homework task. BuildYourWildSelf is a very easy tool to use and students should be able to complete it independently.
  1. Create an avatar
    1. Use one of the Web 2.0 tools to create an avatar. Get avatar resources.
    2. Take a snapshot of your avatar
    3. Save the avatar as a .jpg in a location for easy retrieval. (Computer desktop, flash drive) If there is no option to save, you can take a snapshot. How do I take a snapshot?
    4. Create a pen name. Use something you can remember and spell, but please do not use your real name. Be creative!
  2. All Students: Complete form: Setup Account Note to teachers: You do not need to worry about keeping track of pennames, I will share a spreadsheet with student login information / pen names with you.

Follow Up:

After submitting the form and agreeing to terms, students will receive accounts.