Ottawa, Brussels, November 18th, 2015 (SIGNIS/ Media Literacy Week) Media Literacy Week is an annual event that takes place every November. Co-led by MediaSmarts and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the week put a spotlight on the importance of digital and media literacy as a key component in the education of children and young people.
Working with Canadian schools, libraries, and educational associations and organizations, Media Literacy Week participants seek to inspire a leap in Canadians’ thinking towards media education as an important – and innovative – approach towards creating thoughtful, engaged and informed young people.
This initiative provides Canadians with a focal point for media-related activities and, at the same time, showcases the creative ways that digital and media literacy are being integrated into classrooms and communities across the country.
This year’s theme
The official theme of Media Literacy Week 2015 was Respect in a Digital World, to encourage young people to be upstanding digital citizens by acting responsibly and ethically in their online environments by respecting themselves, others and the spaces they’re in.
Over the years
Canada’s Media Literacy Week has been building momentum and gaining collaborators since its launch in 2006. Previous weeks have been resounding successes with educators, broadcasters, community groups, academics and youth organizing media awareness events and activities across the country.
- In 2014, the week focused on the positive uses of social networking by young people. The official theme of the week – Youth and Social Networking: Creative, connected and collaborative – encouraged adults to work with young people to explore the opportunities that social networking tools provide for contributing positively to society and building digital skills for the future.
- In 2013, the week was the most successful to date with over 100 collaborators and participants and over 40 major events held across the country. Thousands of participants took part across Canada and the week went international, with organizations in Nepal, Belgium, Brazil, and the UK taking part. The theme of the week, “What’s Being Sold: Helping Kids Make Sense of Marketing Messages” encouraged educators and parents to talk to children and teens about the marketing they encounter on a daily basis.
- In 2012, the week drew in over 80 collaborators and saw over 30 events and activities held across the country. The theme of the week, Privacy Matters, shone a light on the privacy knowledge and skills young people need for their online activities. The week was launched with a panel of experts discussing privacy issues with elementary and high school students from across Quebec. The event, broadcast live to over a dozen schools, featured guest speaker Jennifer Stoddart, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, who talked about the importance of educating youth about their privacy rights. The event can be viewed here.
- In 2011, the theme of “digital citizenship” encouraged young people to think about their online lives and their rights and responsibilities as digital citizens. Several ministries of education and teacher associations planned province and territory-wide activities and MediaSmarts and the CTF partnered with YTV for the launch of the week. The event – hosted by Carlos from YTV’s The Zone – featured the premiere of “digital citizenship” videos produced by students from Trillium Elementary School with help from The Director’s Cut. The Zone aired segments profiling youth involved in digital citizenship throughout the week.
- In 2010, under the theme of “Gender and Media” we celebrated the 5th annual Media Literacy Week with a record number of sponsors and collaborators, launching the week with a conference on body image in Halifax. Events included province- and territory-wide activities in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, organized in part by their departments of education. In other parts of the country schools and educational organizations held screenings of films created by students, hosted media literacy workshops, and — for the first time ever – facilitated a Tweetshop where educators were invited to share their thoughts on technology in the classroom.
- In 2009, Media Literacy Week (formerly National Media Education Week) marked several firsts – including the participation of a provincial ministry of education and the live streaming of two national events to mark the start of the week. The launch event in Ottawa included a lively panel discussion on the future of news gathering in the digital age.
- In 2008, National Media Education Week saw the launch of Passport to the Internet, an online tutorial to help students in Grades four to eight develop the critical thinking skills they need to navigate the Web in a secure and ethical manner. MediaSmarts and CTF also held a workshop for youth at Historica Encounters with Canada where they created public service announcements (PSA) to promote ethical and pro-social online behaviours and encourage a more positive image of young people’s Internet use in the mainstream media. The PSAs played on the theme for 2008 – Think Critically, Act Ethically: Inside and Outside the Classroom – which encouraged young people to be ethical and responsible online citizens.
- In 2007, the theme for National Media Education Week – e-Parenting – encouraged the active involvement of parents in their children’s cyber-world. The week was the launch pad for Devenir e-Parent: un tutoriel pour suivre vos enfants en ligne, a French-language online tutorial for parents. To empower students, MNet and Shaw worked together to host MyMedia— a video podcast contest that challenged youth, in Grades 7 to 12, to create a video about how or why certain members of society are represented, misrepresented or absent from the media.
- In 2006, the theme for National Media Education Week – A lot goes into media. What do you take out? – focused on deconstructing media and urged viewers, listeners and readers to consider what goes into media creation, and what meaning and messages can be taken out. A PSA based on the theme aired in high rotation across the country and was viewed online several thousand times. Also that year, educators were offered free online professional development resources through MediaSmarts’ Media Education: Make It Happen! program.