MediaSmarts launches comprehensive digital literacy framework for Canadian schools

Ottawa, ON (March 31, 2015) – MediaSmarts, Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy, has today launched an extensive new program to support teachers in integrating digital literacy into their classrooms. Use, Understand & Create: A Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools (K-8) is a cross-curricular program that provides teachers with an array of tools to give students the skills they need for the digital age.

“Through our research we were able to see how digital literacy is situated in all Canadian curriculums, which helped us create a practical program for teachers so they can provide even the youngest students with skills for today’s digital world,” says Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director of MediaSmarts.

The Use, Understand & Create framework provides teachers with access to free digital literacy classroom resources based on curriculum outcomes set out by their province or territory. The framework was funded through the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) .CA Community Investment Program.

“The digital landscape is quickly changing and young Canadians need skills to help them safely navigate and contribute positively to the online environments they use daily,” says David Fowler, director of marketing and communications at CIRA. “By supporting MediaSmarts’ new framework, the .CA Community Investment Program is ensuring that media literacy programming is available to students, educators and parents facing the challenges presented by emerging technologies.”

The framework is based on research conducted by MediaSmarts and contained in a new report also released todayMapping Digital Literacy Policy and Practice in the Canadian Landscapewhich provides a comprehensive scan of the current state of digital literacy education in Canada. The report was made possible through funding provided by Google Canada.

The Use, Understand & Create framework includes over 50 lessons and interactive games, organized by grade level from Kindergarten to Grade 8, that are aligned with six key aspects of digital literacy:

  • Finding and Verifying: Search and authentication rank first among the digital literacy skills students most want to learn: students will gain an understanding of the Internet as a valuable source of information while recognizing the many pitfalls of online information.
  • Ethics and Empathy: One of the key features of digital media is their interactivity. Students will learn to recognize the “empathy traps” that may prevent them from feeling empathy towards others online and how to manage their own emotions when communicating online.
  • Privacy and Security: Students will gain skills to actively manage their privacy online, deciding both what to share and with whom to share it – while keeping in mind that it’s never entirely possible to control who will see the content that we post.
  • Digital Health: Students will learn strategies for balancing screen time with offline time, accessing information on physical and mental health and healthy sexuality, and dealing with online representations of gender, diversity, and body image.
  • Consumer Awareness: Children are heavily advertised to online and the most popular sites are often highly commercialized. Students will learn to recognize, deconstruct and respond to online marketing and understand when their privacy is infringed upon.
  • Community Engagement: Digital media provide unique opportunities for youth to become involved, to speak out, and to effect change both online and offline. Students will understand how digital citizenship brings with it not just responsibilities but rights as well.

To explore the Use, Understand & Create framework and to download a copy of the Mapping Digital Literacy Policy and Practice in the Canadian Landscape report, visit Follow the conversation using hashtag #DIGLITK8.


About MediaSmarts

MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. Its vision is that young people have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens., @mediasmarts

Maya Shoucair, Communications Manager, MediaSmarts
613-224-7721 ext. 231

About .CA and the Community Investment Program

Through the Community Investment Program, .CA funds projects that demonstrate the capacity to improve the Internet for all Canadians. The .CA team manages Canada’s country code top-level domain on behalf of all Canadians. A Member-driven organization, .CA represents the interests of Canada’s Internet community internationally.

Ryan Saxby Hill
, Communications Manager for .CA