Empowering Canadian Youth for the Digital World

    Media Literacy Week 2009 emphasizes the importance of digital literacy

OTTAWA, Nov. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Media Awareness Network (MNet) and the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) launched Canada's 4th annual Media Literacy Week today by emphasizing the increasing need for digital literacy in the lives of today's connected youth.

The week promotes the importance of media and digital literacy in the education of Canadian children and youth. The theme this year - Media Literacy in the Digital Age - draws special attention to the kinds of skills and knowledge that youth require to move beyond technological proficiency towards becoming creative, reflective, evaluative and empowered e-citizens.

"Teachers have a crucial role to play in helping young people to sort through the wealth of media and digital literacy that's available to them," explains CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly. "Media and digital literacy are life skills that should be included in the curriculum along with traditional literacy and numeracy skills. Students are not simply users but creators of media. As teachers, we must nurture this creativity while helping them to be engaged and responsible e-citizens."

MNet, CTF and Encounters with Canada, a program of the Historica-Dominion Institute, launched the week's activities in Ottawa with a panel discussion exploring how digital media are changing the face of journalism and news gathering in the 21st century. Discussion ranged from the impact of digital media on local news to the use of platforms such as YouTube for citizen journalism. Students from Encounters with Canada's youth forum participated in the discussion.

"Digital media present opportunities and challenges for all Canadians," said Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director of MNet. "But it's especially true of Canada's youth, who represent our next generation of users, creators and innovators. It is imperative that all of us work together to ensure that young people are equipped to participate fully in, and maximize the potential of, our digital world."

Media Literacy Week collaborators across the country are holding activities throughout the week in their communities, including film screenings, workshops and panel discussions. Canadians looking for events in their region can visit the Media Literacy Week Web site's events calendar. www.medialiteracyweek.ca/en/involved_events.htm

YouTube is a Gold Sponsor of the week. Bell and Entertainment Software Association of Canada are Silver Sponsors.

Media Awareness Network (MNet) is a Canadian not-for-profit centre of expertise in media and digital literacy. Its vision is to ensure children and youth possess the necessary critical thinking skills and tools to understand and actively engage with media. MNet's programs are funded by its public and private sector sponsors and partners, who include: CTVglobemedia, Canwest, TELUS, Bell, Canadian Internet Registration Authority, CTV, National Film Board of Canada, Government of Canada. (http://www.media-awareness.ca/)

Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) represents nearly 200,000 Canadian teachers across the country. For nearly 90 years, CTF has advanced the cause of children, defended the rights of teachers and promoted a strong public education system. Further, they have championed the increase and strengthening of the practice of media education in Canadian classrooms. (http://www.ctf-fce.ca/)

    Media Literacy Week 2009 sponsors:

    Gold:   YouTube

    Silver: Bell Canada and ESA Entertainment Software

    Bronze: Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association and OpenText-The
            Content Experts

    Funder: Government of Canada

SOURCE Canadian Teachers' Federation

For further information: For further information: Ann Marie Paquet, Communications Officer, Media Awareness Network, (613) 224-7721, ext. 231, apaquet@media-awareness.ca; Francine Filion, Director of Communications, Canadian Teachers' Federation, (613) 688-4314, or (613) 899-4247 (cell.), ffili@ctf-fce.ca

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