Data Defenders: Understanding data collection online Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 4 to 6

About the Author: Thierry Plante, Media Education Specialist, MediaSmarts

This lesson was made possible by a financial contribution from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


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.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Develop an understanding of
    • the commercial objectives underlying the websites, services and applications they use
    • the importance of managing their privacy online
    • their rights as citizens and as children online in terms of privacy and data collection
  • Identify the methods and purposes for data collection on most of the websites and applications they use
  • Learn a variety of tools and techniques to help them manage their privacy online

This lesson plan also supports the development of several key privacy education competencies from the Personal Data Protection Competency Framework for School Students, including:

  • Understanding the concept of personal data
  • Understanding the digital environment – technical aspects
  • Understanding personal data regulations – economic aspects
  • Managing my data: Learning to protect myself online

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.