Developing Digital Literacy
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Developing Digital Literacy at Your Library. Media Awareness Network (MNet) is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for media and digital literacy. Vision:

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Media Awareness Network (MNet) is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for media and digital literacy.


To ensure children and youth possess the necessary critical thinking skills and tools to understand and actively engage with media.

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Three Core Program Areas



Public Awareness

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Vision: To ensure children and youth possess the necessary critical thinking skills and tools to understand and actively engage with media

Schools = 10,000 (two thirds of schools, 80% of student enrolment)

Libraries = population of 5 million

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Young Canadians in a Wired World (YCWW) Research(2000, 2005, and 2010)

MNet’s digital literacy resources are informed by its long-term Young Canadians research project -- the largest study of children’s Internet use in Canada

Findings informedpolicy setting in schools, government and libraries (CLA policy document on managing the Internet in libraries)

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Young Canadians in a Wired World Research

Approximately 6,000 students

Grades 4-11

French and English schools,

rural and urban

All provinces and territories

Funded by Government

of Canada

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Young Canadians Research2000 (Web 1.0)

  • 79% have access at home

  • focus groups showed a deep disconnect between parents’ perceptions and kids’ activities

  • survey focused on online risk

  • youth have little supervision;learning on their own or from friends

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Young Canadians Research2005 (Web2.0)

  • 94% have access at home

  • parents much more involved, but kids were making decisions on their own

  • a deeper understanding of what kids are doing:

    • normal developmental activities

    • relationships primarily with peers

  • pervasive risks;

    • privacy on commercial sites

    • peer bullying and harrassment

    • exposure to inappropriate content

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Young Canadians Research2010 (Web 3.0)

  • social Web

  • mobile media

  • ethical decision making

  • content creation and innovation

  • civic/political online engagement

  • 3d virtual worlds

  • gender issues

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International research

  • Most online sexual soliciations come from peers

  • Online predators rarely misrepresent themselves or their motives

  • Those most at risk are girls, aged 13-15, who are also involved in other risk-taking behaviours

  • Revealing personal information online is not a risk factor on its own

  • Creating good quality online destinations can mitigate certain risks for children

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Safety issues dominate public discourse

Moral panic around safety has lead to heavy-handed

Responses, including criminalizing young people.

Children need to be taught critical thinking and ethical decision making skills for their online activities (digital literacy skills).

We need to create places for children to go online to learn these skills.

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Digital literacy:Education sector

  • many education ministries, including Ontario, are focused on safety issues: online sexual exploitation and cyber bullying

  • few provinces have made a commitment to digital literacy in the curriculum (exception is Manitoba)

  • technological tools are not being integrated into classrooms (social networking, Twitter, blogging, video streaming sites, etc.)

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Engaged Citizens

Creative Producers of IT, Media and Content

Cultural Empowerment


Digital Literacy

Citizen & CommunityEmpowerment

Critical Thinkers

Life-long Learning

Consumer Confidence

Informed Citizens

Digital Life Skills

User Proficiency




Digital Inclusion





Digital Participation in Canada

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Digital Participation in Canada

Critical Thinking


Distributed Cognition

Digital Literacy





Collective Intelligence


Life-long Learning


Navigation skills

Input / Output skills

Accessing skills

Digital Life Skills

Tools & Text Skills

(ICT Literacy)



Digital Inclusion




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Public libraries have a longstanding and growing role in literacy, including digital literacy.

User-created content will require enhanced authentication skills.

Libraries will provide digital information and create new tools for understanding how to select and use information.

Wendy Newman, Third Generation Public Libraries, 2008

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Media literacy school programs literacy, including digital literacy.

PD summer institutes for teachers

Other programs and speakers include:

Internet SafetyIntro to Media Literacy at your LibraryPaul Nesbitt-Larking - Politics of the NewsSam Trosow - Copyright and Information PolicyHal Niedzviecki - Social MediaShari Graydon - Media Marketing

Contact Heather Macdonald:Media and Health Librarian

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Media Literacy Week literacy, including digital literacy.

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Promoting Digital Literacy at literacy, including digital literacy.Ottawa Public Library

Staff training

Promoting databases… homework help

Internet safety

Parent workshops

New Canadians

Brownies and guides

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Staff training literacy, including digital literacy.


Vendor training

In-service training sessions


Database Stewards

Staff newsletter

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Unlocking OPL’s literacy, including digital literacy.Electronic Resources

CATS In-Service

February 2010

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Reference: literacy, including digital literacy.Check out the Visual Dictionary Online. This includes over 6,000 images and 20,000 terms with contextual definitions.

Database: Eureka provides us with full text articles from La Presse, Le Droit, Protégez-vous and L'Actualité. It also offers access to smaller English newspapers such as the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder and the Pembroke Daily Observer.

Database: Read today’s newspaper through Library Press Display! This database includes the Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Sun, the Globe and Mail, le Journal de Montréal and the Toronto Sun. It gives you access to all images, classifieds and advertisements. It includes RSS feeds and has an audio function that allows you to listen to the newspaper content


Our Gale databases have a new interface! Some of the features include a machine translation tool, a citation tool to help with the creation of bibliographies and even the ability to listen to articles in mp3 format. The affected databases include: Academic Onefile, General Reference Center Gold and InfoTrac Collection.

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Databases… great tools that need promotion literacy, including digital literacy.

School outreach

Elementary schools

High schools

Teacher outreach

Mini-sessions for principals

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School Outreach literacy, including digital literacy.

Your Library @ Home

For Research and

Homework Help

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Ottawa Public Library literacy, including digital literacy.Your Library @ Home

  • Ottawa Public Library website

  • Electronic Databases

  • Library Catalogue

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Mini-sessions for principals literacy, including digital literacy.

Ottawa Public Library services

Why teachers and students need to learn about databases

Quick intro to databases

How to book school sessions and class visits to library branches

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Internet Safety literacy, including digital literacy.

Staff training

Parent workshops

Working with newcomer agencies

Safety on our website

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Parenting the Net Generation literacy, including digital literacy.

The workshops touch briefly on many key Internet issues:




Ethics and cyberbullying

Evaluation of online information

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Newcomer Agencies literacy, including digital literacy.

Parent workshops

Student workshops in homework clubs

Staff training

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Cybercitizen Badge literacy, including digital literacy.

Pilot project with Girl Guides Canada.

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Brownies literacy, including digital literacy.

Cybersense Poem

Privacy playground

Doing a project

Cyber Sense \\   I have a special secret,Whenever I'm online -I don't share with othersThe things that are just mine.\\   My e-mail and my home address,My phone number and name -These are just for me to know,In chat rooms or in games. \\   Instead, I use my nonsense name -It's my online identity!When people ask me who I am,I introduce my "cyber-me." \\   And when I want to surf the Web,for places that are cool,I get some help from mom or dad,or teachers from my school.

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DOING A PROJECT? literacy, including digital literacy.

Don’t forget the library databases.

Easily accessible from home with your library card

And your pin # (last four digits of your phone #)

Go to the library website (address on the bottom of your library card) and go to

“Find Articles and Research Guides” – click on it

Scroll down to sort by subject and select “KIDS” and “go”

Find a list of encyclopaedias, articles, databases and more, all designed to help you with your school project.

Databases vs. Websites: What's the Difference?

Databases have information you can't find using search engines - like the latest magazine and newspaper articles.

The information in databases is written by experts and checked before it gets published; that's not necessarily true for websites.

With databases you can create a bibliography automatically.

Anyone can search the web but only people with an Ottawa Public Library card can use our databases. Membership has its privileges!

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Guides literacy, including digital literacy.

The challenge addresses five main issues girls and young women may encounter online:




Authentication of online information


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Web-based resources Thinking for the Internet

For Librarians

  • London Public Library: Media Literacy Node

  • Atwater Digital Literacy Project

  • Media Awareness Network

  • Media Literacy Week

  • CyberCitizen Badge (Girl Guides of Canada)

    For Parents and Caregivers

  • Be Web Aware (Media Awareness Network)

  • Devenir e-Parent : un tutoriel pour suivre vos enfants en ligne (Réseau Éducation-Médias)

  • Commonsense Media

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Web-based resources Thinking for the Internet

For Children and Youth

  • Co-Co's AdverSmarts: Food Marketing on the Web (Media Awareness Network)

  • Privacy Playground: The First Adventure of the Three CyberPigs (Media Awareness Network)

  • CyberSense and Nonsense: The Second Adventure of The Three CyberPigs (Media Awareness Network)

  • Jo Cool or Jo Fool (Media Awareness Network)

  • TextEd (Canadian Centre for Child Protection)

  • League of Super Citizens: Firewall Game (TVO)

  • Media Monkey (Concerned Children’s Advertisers)