The rapid explosion of electronic tools to broadcast information, market ideas and products, track, interact and partner with strangers, encourage mass sharing of personal information and pictures, and allow anonymous, yet intimate involvement in the lives of others, requires youth to develop skills and tools that have evolved to include both media and digital literacy.
MediaSmarts, a Canadian non-profit organization for digital and media literacy describes the competencies for digital literacy and media literacy as complementary and mutually supporting and constantly evolving and intersecting in new and interesting way. It defines the supporting role each plays as “media literacy generally focuses on teaching youth to be critically engaged consumers of media, while digital literacy is more about enabling youth to participate in digital media in wise, safe and ethical ways.”
The links below offer detailed information, lesson plans and classroom resources to support media and digital literacy to develop critical thinking skills and informed, engaged, resilient youth.
- iTHINK – A Critical Thinking & Media Literacy Manual (PDF) – Suggested for Grades 1 to 8. This manual contains a variety of teaching tools to engage students to think critically about the world around them in order to support healthy decision-making, and mitigate the influence of media marketing related to a number of health-related topics. The manual contains grade specific lesson plans which have been designed to meet Ontario curriculum expectations (Elementary Arts, Language, and Health and Physical Education). Interactive resources, such as video clips, quizzes, case studies, are also included to support classroom teaching and student learning. (Central East Tobacco Control Area Network (TCAN) and Peterborough County City Health Unit).
Media Smarts –
Suggested for Kindergarten to Grade 8. This website offers a variety of free teacher resources, including backgrounders, lesson plans, tip sheets, games and other classroom tools. Topics include: authenticating information, blogging, body image, cell phones and texting, cyber bullying, cyber security, alcohol in the media, and more. Curricular outcome charts have been included to support educators in linking these resources to Ontario curriculum expectations. MediaSmarts is also a great resource for parents.
Youth Connected - “I’ve Got Your Back”
is an internet safety awareness program designed and developed by high school students in conjunction with the OPP Youth Foundation. Students visit elementary schools to provide an interactive presentation and follow-up discussion.
is a teacher-oriented web resource with articles, videos, curriculum, and other resources on internet safety, cyberbullying, digital responsibility, empathy, and media and digital literacy. It is also an interactive community for teachers to discuss ideas and share information.
Common Sense Media
has a comprehensive teacher resource section with curriculum, apps, games, and websites to teach digital literacy and citizenship in the classroom, and to reach out to parents.
NeedHelpNow.ca is a Canadian site that provides you with guidance on steps you can take to get through if you (or a friend, peer or sibling) have been involved in a self/peer exploitation incident (otherwise known as “sexting”). www.needhelpnow.ca is an initiative of the CANADIAN CENTRE FOR CHILD PROTECTION INC., a charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children.
Are you concerned about a student and/or would like additional information related to counselling or community supports? Find out where to get help.