New teachers across the country to improve young Canadians’ digital skills thanks to federal funding

MediaSmarts to deliver digital literacy training to 3,500 new teachers as part of the federal government’s CanCode program

OTTAWA, January 22, 2018 – Soon-to-be teachers in faculties of education across Canada will learn how to develop their students’ digital literacy skills in a special training program from MediaSmarts, Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy, as part of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s CanCode program.

“Our research shows that Canadian teachers recognize the importance of digital literacy skills such as authenticating information, managing privacy, addressing cyberbullying and being safe online, but they’re struggling to pass those skills on to their students,” says Jane Tallim, MediaSmarts’ Co-Executive Director. “Our goal is to help new teachers integrate digital literacy into their teaching practices with lessons and activities that suit their students’ needs.”

Based on MediaSmarts’ groundbreaking digital literacy framework and extensive research, the training program will reach 3,500 new teachers who will teach an estimated 300,000 students. The program was developed and refined during a 2017 pilot program funded by CIRA’s Community Investment Program, which supports initiatives that build a better online Canada.

The first digital literacy training session will be delivered to students in Lakehead University’s Faculty of Education at the Orillia campus on January 24.

“New technologies emerge constantly to support the learning of children in all subject areas,” says Dr. Frances Helyar, Chair of Education Programs, Lakehead University Orillia. “Our teacher candidates are exposed to a variety of digital tools to enhance learning, and this workshop perfectly aligns with our goal of creating educators who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to incorporate digital literacy into their teaching practice.”

The CanCode program will invest a total of $50 million over two years to support initiatives providing educational opportunities for coding and digital skills development to Canadian youth from kindergarten to grade 12.

The training sessions will be available in English and French to faculties of education across the country until March 2019.

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About MediaSmarts

MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. Its vision is that children and youth have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens. MediaSmarts offers hundreds of digital and media literacy resources for teachers, parents and librarians on its website.

Contact: Liz Berman, Marketing and Communications Manager, MediaSmarts
613-224-7721, ext. 231, lberman@mediasmarts.ca