Encouraging Digital Literacy in Canada

By any measure, it’s obvious that Canadians love using digital technology, especially to access the internet. We spend 36.7 hours per month online on our desktops alone – and today, nearly half the total time we spend online is on mobile devices.

We use the internet for entertainment, whether to watch sports or read novels. We rely on it to build communities among our friends, families, neighbours and fellow nerds. And when we have a question, we turn to online sources for news, anagrams, even university courses.

It can be a struggle to fully understand this rapidly changing environment, especially for parents, teachers and counsellors.
At Google, we work with partners across the country to help Canadians bridge this digital divide. Last week, we joined Actua in Iqaluit for the first session of their new Codemakers program, which will be rolling out to camps across Canada this summer.

This week, we’re welcoming a new digital literacy literature and curriculum review prepared by our partners at MediaSmarts, Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy.

In Mapping Digital Literacy Policy and Practice in the Canadian Landscape, Michael Hoechsmann and Helen DeWaard of Lakehead University have developed a concise and detail-rich guide to digital literacy resources for educational specialists.

As they observe, digital literacy skills are not limited to the classroom: 

"Digital literacy is not a technical category that describes a minimum functional level of technological skills, but rather it is the broader capacity to participate in a society that uses digital communication technology in workplaces, government, education, cultural domains, civic spaces, homes, and leisure spheres."

There are many approaches to helping Canadians develop the digital literacy to succeed in the modern economy. We’re happy to support efforts by dedicated not-for-profits like MediaSmarts, Actua and many others.