Two of the most important kinds of information we look for online are about health and science. Because most of us aren’t experts on these topics, we rely on people and organizations who are experts for good information. MediaSmarts has developed new resources to help youth and adults find and recognize good information on science and health online.

Privacy Rights of Children and Teens

In this lesson, students are introduced to the privacy principles that inform the Alberta and BC Personal Information Protection Acts, Québec’s An Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector and the students’ federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) relating to personal information collection online. They learn ways to find out what personal information may or has been collected by platforms that they use, how to limit data collection about themselves, and the various forms of recourse that are available to them if they feel an organization is not respecting their rights.

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Know the Deal: The Value of Privacy

In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea that privacy is a fundamental human right and that their personal information is valuable. The lesson focuses on the “economics” of personal information and that most “free” apps and online services make some or all of their revenue by collecting (and in some cases reselling) users’ personal information. Students will watch a video that illustrates the idea that they may be paying with their privacy and then discuss some of the ramifications of this. They will learn about tools and techniques for minimizing the personal information they share and create a public service announcement that helps them and their peers “know the deal” about the value of privacy.

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Getting the Toothpaste Back into the Tube: A Lesson on Online Information

In this lesson, students watch a short video that compares getting rid of personal information online to getting toothpaste back into a tube. After a short discussion of how visual analogies like this work, students discuss the meaning of the video (that information online is permanent.) They then read a series of short scenarios that help them identify four further principles of information online: that it can be copied, that it can be seen by unintended audiences, that it can be seen by larger audiences than intended, and that it becomes searchable. Finally, students create a simple animation that illustrates one of these principles.

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While the training workshops focus on the five key concepts of digital literacy, this implementation guide looks at the specific skill areas that MediaSmarts has identified as being essential for students to learn by the end of their secondary education: ethics and empathy, privacy and security, community engagement, digital health, consumer awareness, finding and verifying and making and remixing. The guide also addresses common challenges to integrating digital literacy into the classroom, such as limitations on available technology and classroom management concerns, and includes links to relevant MediaSmarts’ and other resources, and apps and tools for creating digital media in your classroom.

Digital Literacy Training Program

The Digital Literacy Training Program for Canadian Educators workshop provides an overview of essential digital literacy skills and key concepts of media and digital literacy, familiarizes participants with the digital experiences of Canadian youth, and introduces the resources and tools that are available through MediaSmarts’ USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE digital literacy framework.

Data Defenders: Understanding data collection online

In this lesson, students explore the concepts relating to data collection that are introduced in the educational game Data Defenders. The lesson will underscore for students the idea that their data is valuable and worthy of careful management by analyzing the platforms, applications and websites they use through the lens of the five privacy tools (which address the five principal ways data is collected online) introduced in Data Defenders. Finally, students consider how to apply these tools to their own online activities.

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Data Defenders

Data Defenders is an interactive game that teaches children and pre-teens the concept of personal information and its economic value, and introduces them to ways to manage and protect their personal information on the websites and apps they enjoy

This Teacher’s Guide includes background information, learning expectations and points of discussion on the types of personal information and privacy-management strategies that are presented in the game. The guide also includes an overview of the Data Defenders game, and exercises and handouts to help students to develop skills and confidence to manage their privacy online.

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