Canadian Internet Forum: Digital Literacy Consultation

Vancouver, British Columbia November 19, 2010 __________________________________________________________________

This document captures the information from the opening reflection, the exercise of issue identification (sticky notes), the small group discussions on baskets of issues and the closing comments and reflection.

Personal Reflection
Participants were asked to consider the question: “What could/should the future of the internet in Canada be like?” 1. In terms of the question, the first thing I thought was that the Internet should be a facilitator of human exchange, whether creative exchange, social exchange or business. This is at its core and it is facilitating actual human interactions (including business and economic interactions) that exist within society as well as facilitating new ones that don’t currently exist. 2. In the future the Internet could be a super-structure for delivering education (curriculum in electronic form) with gaming integrated into educational settings and wikis, blogs, and handhelds used to engage youth in learning (as opposed to them being excluded from online communities). The Internet could also provide online human services to raise awareness for professionals working with youth at risk and marginalized families: it could raise awareness about online porn, suicide sites, pro-anorexia sites, etc. and capitalize on the Internet’s strengths to offer in-reach, as opposed to outreach services. In the future the Internet could respond to different cultures and their educational needs more dynamically: for example, the needs of remote first nations communities are very different than the South-Asian populations in South Surrey or Richmond. (Vanessa: the main points I’m hearing relate to education and marginalized populations; that the Internet could become a two-way street for education and also for high-risk youth, families and individuals to have input as well as be receiving output services.) 3. In my work in marketing and communications, the Internet is actually a product that I sell. When I think about the question, my inclination is to move more towards the technology and the foundation of the technology that underpins the Internet. For example, the move to wireless and how this will make Internet truly a ubiquitous and open and available tool for people to use. I see the Internet as a tool for conversation, creation, interaction that offers opportunity for just about anybody to do almost anything with anyone. The potential of this is amazing as well as scary. (Vanessa: this ties into the comments about interactivity, but also brings in the foundational and structural elements. Also highlighted how innovations can fuel creativity, but may also facilitate risk.)

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4. The Internet should be more intuitive: I am tired of having to explain to others how it works. In the future how to use and operate the Internet should be obvious and easy. (Vanessa: it should be a platform that makes sense.) 5. When I look at the Internet, it is from the perspective of “what is in the best interest of children” especially in relation to the vast amount of materials that are online now. I want the Internet to be a tool that is safe for children and which allows children to have a say. It should enable us to effectively provide information online so that kids can think critically about technology and be safe online, especially in relation to media-related rights in the convention for the rights of the child. We can’t leave this to technology alone – teachers need to be in place. (Vanessa: this ties into the comments about input and output and also into what was said about there being both a negative and positive side to technology.) 6. Having worked with both youth and in employment services, I see the move to wireless as an option. I want the Internet to be a resource for both adults and youth and believe that teacher involvement is essential. 7. I want to see the Internet evolve towards a larger sense of community, one that reflects how our society functions, with less intolerance for race, religion, etc. Generally, I want to see people using the Internet to work more together. (Vanessa: as a tool for battling intolerance.) 8. Small Business BC has worked very hard over the past years to bring video conferencing across the province, educating entrepreneurs, and using technology to bring training to regions where it would otherwise be difficult for people to access this. When I think of the future of the Internet in Canada, it’s in terms of e-commerce: that the Internet should be a secure place for conducting transactions. When I think about issues with fraud around the world, I would love to see Canada as a place where people feel there is safety and security when transacting commerce. I agree that the Internet should be a safe place for children to learn. As a mother I am well aware of its negative side – issues such as exposure to offensive materials and cyber bullying are particularly important to me. And finally, I think the Internet needs to be a place where Canadians can connect, innovate and share information and knowledge. It is this sharing of knowledge that will help us grow as a country and be productive. (Vanessa: this ties into developing skills to share knowledge and also to drive the economy. The Internet should drive commerce, but safety and protection of children are also important.) 9. My organization began by looking at mass media and trying to understand from a critical perspective how media institutions present a vision of world in which we live. As the Internet has gained hold over the past fifteen year, educators have noted a shift in people now going online for this sort of information, which brings up the questions “who has control?” and “who shapes our perceptions?” the BC Association for Media Education is currently trying to focus its energies in that direction, but it’s a huge challenge. The Internet is more open and broad than traditional media in both the range of information that’s available and the reach of those who are providing online information. In terms of the specific question, words like open and accessible come to mind. There’s lots of debate going on about shaping people’s access to the Internet and in this sense controlling how much access people can have through their ISPs. It is also important that we understand the CRTC’s recent ruling regarding user pay for access to


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the Internet – these are the kinds of questions that have implications not just for technology but also cost. (Vanessa: the question is really about the values online; who is providing the information that’s shaping us? As well as access – not just who accesses what, but also the mechanics of access.) 10. The future is both daunting and promising. The future of the Internet lies in the way it reinvents our public lives, the way it creates new spaces for public engagement, the way youth begin to enter into that public performance of themselves and of their relationships with others. That is daunting and challenging in lots of ways but it is also very promising and remarkably rich. There are many organizations, Open Media being one, which represent this. Last week we hosted media democracy day with 2500 people attending, many of whom are parsing the value of the Internet as a vehicle for organizing creativity and community and for facilitating expression of young people in remarkably interesting ways. This is where questions about digital literacy come into play. It’s also where questions of democracy obviously link, but it’s also where a utopian sense of hopefulness about the future lies. (Vanessa: it’s about promise of the Internet in terms of citizenship and the public domain and democracy.) 11. I would echo much of what’s being said. The future of the Internet is really about ensuring that we leverage the Net as a tool for social enablement. For example, health care: Canada is way behind in terms of adoption of e-health records, personal health records, mobile worker enablement for our health care workers in terms of facilitating telehealth, rural/remote access to doctors etc. The Internet can be transformative in helping crack the code on our health care challenge in terms of reducing costs and providing better services to patients and yet we are in a situation where counties like Britain, New Zealand, Australia are at levels of 80%-90% in terms of digitization of medical records, while we are lagging behind them at 20%. David’s goal is to find a way as a public policy priority to drive our ability to leverage the Internet for the good of our citizens. (Vanessa: we’ve brought up education, commerce, have flagged marginalized groups and how we work with them, job creation; like healthcare, we can think of other sectors that would benefit from revitalization. And you’re also flagging “let’s not get left behind”.) 12. The Internet should be a place where personal information is protected. It should be a place where users can control information about themselves: today this is not the case, anyone can write or post anything about you and you have no control over that. The Internet should be accessible from anywhere and be affordable – with consistent services no matter where you live. The Internet should be viewed through a commonsense or critical thinking lens – this is where education comes in – do you believe everything on the net? You should be able to easily find what you want when you want it. And lastly, the Internet shouldn’t become a substitute for human interaction. We need to consider how we interact with each other personally, not by video or text messaging. (Vanessa: you’ve added interactivity outside of education to the discussion, which includes rights, democracy, services and systems and also controlling identity and the kinds of skills we need, like media literacy, when we look at the Internet and the information we’re getting.)

Presentations by CIRA and MNet


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Issue Identification Process
The individual sticky note brainstorm generated a lot of data. The sorting exercise was done at a fairly broad level with six baskets of issues identified. Had there been more time, further sorting into sub-groupings and prioritization could easily have been done. However, moving the group to discussion was more critical than spending additional time on categorization. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Youth and Safety and Privacy / Training and Public Awareness Funding and Access Business Creative Commons / Innovation Leadership and values Regulation


Youth & Children / Safety and Privacy / Training and Public Awareness

The Youth / Children and Safety / Privacy group combined with the Training and Public Awareness group because of the small number is one of the groups. Issues discussed: privacy, permanent digital reputations, online sexual exploitation, professional training and public awareness 1.1 Basket of Issues Youth / Children and Privacy and Safety How do we address the online sexual exploitation of children and youth How do we respond to youth creating and posting sexual images of themselves? Video gaming on the Internet Child safety (4 post-its) Child safety – teach how to avoid predators – learn how to filter dangerous / offensive material – cyber bullying How safe is WiFi? New marketing practices and children’s awareness Social media’s effect on Canadian youth – how to approach it Social media as it relates to children How do I separate my personal Internet presence from my professional one (i.e. Facebook)? How do you control your personal information / personal ‘brand’ on the Internet? Is self-destructive data the answer to teens uploading pictures? Boundaries when working with youth and adults (issues concerning security and privacy) (access) Online data mining Privacy on Internet – as it relates to personal identity/ identity theft, security, personal safety Privacy and protection of personal information – identity management Online transparency? ‘permanent digital reputations’ Is everything online private?


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How do we involve youth the in the discussions of Internet literacy to inform policy reform? How to evolve education to engage digital youth What needs to be in place for children youth to use, understand and create? What are the key components of Internet literacy? Linking digital literacies to political and economic opportunity for all youth Training and Public Awareness • How can I mitigate peoples’ (coworkers, family, friends) fear of the Internet? • Need to develop ratings / best practices for online, content in education and healthcare – to assist consumers [there is a lot of junk out there and bad applications] • How do we get parents to pay attention to online culture? • Educator training that unites digital skills with media literacy • How do we get criminal justice professionals to understand online risks, culture and opportunities • Less structured education – let students pursue their own interests and parental involvement in education – values, free education model (e.g., MIT) • How do we get child protection / community service workers fluent in online culture and influence • How do nonprofits update their policies to accommodate online contact between client and professionals • Skills training – digital literacy as an essential skill • Privacy as it relates to e-commerce – personal information shared by companies – data ownership, security, data infusion especially in the world of cloud computing, (e.g., US Patriot Act in US) • How do we get educators to stop fighting technology and start using it • Basic desktop publishing – is there free training in the Downtown Eastside, what is the criteria to access this training? Where the training to be take place? Who can join? 1.2 Small Group Discussion of Issues Current status Lack of meaningful, interrelated, relevant internet safety curriculum and policies in schools Existing policies are not fully implemented Caregivers are not talking to youth about online values and ethics. Being present or modeling what is acceptable behaviour online, or even knowing where to start the conversation. Child sexual images are not understood by police, teachers and adults (or youth) Challenges Making policies and laws meaningful, relevant and understandable to children and youth Industry is not writing privacy policies in age- and/or audience-appropriate language


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Information is written for mainstream urban people – not inclusive of rural groups, multicultural groups, First Nations, English-as-a-second language, deaf culture etc. Barriers Rapidly changing nature of online culture: it’s difficult for large groups like government to address issues. Funding priorities Time Collaboration and territoriality: there’s a lot of work to be done, but we end up fighting over the funding to do the work. Government silos – education, MCFD, law enforcement; Federal/ provincial/ territorial Corporate websites are not collaborating with common society, groups and populations Lack of funding, resources and training Age of people allocating resources and developing policies and laws: lack of youth-voice and lack of youth-driven policy and laws.


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Opportunities Get Internet corporations involved in education and awareness programs (e.g., get Retailers to give out Internet Safety information with every computer purchase) E-books and tablets as dynamic curriculum delivery devices so that you can update content without republishing Teach children and youth about social media affects – long-term, short-term, unknown Get youth driving the development of curriculum Acknowledge youth as experts Who needs to act? Take the lead? Youth Nongovernmental organizations Government (dynamic content) Universities training teachers, social workers, counselors, criminal justice professionals Volunteers with a vested interest in the Internet come forward as online mentors Other stakeholders International organizations and researchers Government Community supports Parents and parent groups Youth role models – Pink, Bif Naked, Justin Bieber


Funding / Access

2.1 Issues Funding Need funding models to support the new cross-sector institutions that foster digital literacy Need to know where to find sources of funding for digital capacity building for my organization Government funding is needed for for WiFi / training Need funding to provide support for young digital entrepreneurs What support can be provided to NGOs so they can continue their work in digital literacy? How can they be connected? Will there be a substantial commitment of resources to ensure that digital literacy is fully implemented in the K-12 Educational system? What are creative new ways to cost-share the large expense of increasing rural access? (i.e. Government can’t do it all nor can private sector – we need partnerships) Access • How do you provide universal access to the Internet? • How do we reach the growing number of people (i.e. seniors) who are outside of public venues such as schools, universities and industry?


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• • • • • • • • •

How do we include rural, isolated & First Nations groups in online development? How can you provide open access to information – government etc. How do we provide access and support to rural communities to ensure Internet is used for progress? How can we ensure equal access for all SES? Need to provide free WiFi for cities (concentrated urban populations) How do we lower cost of access to wireless areas? Affordable broadband everywhere – last 7% How do we balance concerns about ‘harmful’ content with open access? Balance between free speech vs. objectionable content

2.2 Small Group Discussion Funding models • tensions for nonprofits who work across major objective areas: some training, some research, some audience development • we also talked about resourcing around skills training: a problem in preparing people to take advantage of educational opportunities that exist in various kinds of project settings. What kinds of grassroots street level infrastructure is needed to enable people to enter into opportunities? • in learning environments the size of the commitment from government and other partners on that is a real sign of how seriously something is taken. How can policy on paper – in BC there’s a fantastic curriculum on digital literacy available, but this is not reflective in the funding for teacher training in schools. For teachers, that’s a contradiction and one that is easily dealt with by leaving it at the side. Opportunities • integrate social enterprise model (SEM) operations as part of sustainable funding in very important. But the goal of these SEMs has to be sustainability, not marketization of the not-for-profit organization in a manner that “gets in the way” of their mandate. • private sector involvement in funding models • but this must be led by government and nonprofit oversight and leadership; otherwise there is tension between the funding problems that are targeted towards not-for-profits turning into a private sector-driven solution. Skills training • needing an assessment for progression model around digital literacy so that organizations can know where they fit on the trajectory of learning when meeting with different populations • there is an opportunity to leverage skills sharing between students in high schools and not only teachers, but also the greater community. Using the model of post-secondary “work study credits” where students become partners with teachers. This can help educators overcome technological phobias that prevent the use of Facebook or other platforms in interesting ways in classrooms.


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Opportunities • develop coop skills sharing programs between schools / students and community-based job training programs • assessment for progression Where is the money directed? • Money directed to education is a sign of how important governments treat digital literacy objectives Opportunities • inconsistency at school / district levels • success stories need to be leveraged (e.g., Coquitlam school district has integrated many different digital platforms into schools) • there are also models of government leverage of funds to get private sector involved in supporting this, as well as in getting cost-effective access in remote areas • Digital Britain – public • Promoting unstructured learning • Opportunity to leverage students’ skills with teachers to develop / implement learning resources


social media as it relates to employment how can I convince my office to move into “the cloud”? Social media as it relates to business What is the role of the business community in creating a digitally literate society? Support for innovation – funding - mentorship

3.1 Issues

3.2 Small Group Discussion 1. Personal vs. Organizational Branding • Messy and educational opportunities for helping people not only brand their organizations but also themselves o Meet-ups o Grassroots • Personal reflects on organizational brand – how manage that? PR discussion and media relations discussion. There are no guidelines. Is there thought leadership? • Can they also be complementary? Or not? 2. Social media as marketing tool • Too many ‘experts’ holding back adoption – it is so new that there are no real experts. There are experts but not expertise across all domains. • People and organizations don’t know who to trust. They have bad experiences and become fearful.


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3. Tool Literacy (trust – convincing people that the tools are safe/functional) • Risk Profile: Different organizations / people will have different risk profiles • Different levels of understanding • In order to drive adoption need to understand the value model – what is in it for me? Understand what the tool does and then how it contributes to you. • • Fear Strategy for Humans – We need a strategy for humans rather than a strategy for social marketing. How does this fit into your strategy for engaging people at a macro level. Social media itself is not a strategy but part of a bigger strategy. Otherwise it fails.

4. Return on investment • Need a model that people understand and value. 5. Support for Innovation • Help to support innovation in this space – intuitive, easy, find ways to express the value and provide that support for innovation • Opportunity for education • Opportunity to connect these fragmented pieces in order to create that expertise that is lacking today Stakeholders • BC Innovation Council • BC Technology Industry Association • Digi BC • Bootup Labs • New Ventures BC • Canadian Youth Business Foundation • Small Business BC • Small Business Roundtable • Forum for Women Entrepreneurs • Wired Women • CATA – WIT • Vancouver Economic Development Commission (VEDC)


Creative Commons / Innovation
Copyright and creative commons licensing How do we ensure that initiatives that seek to ‘shape’ individual access do not restrict creativity? How do we facilitate healthy digital living to combat sedation? How do we protect value in creative arts without limiting sharing and access How can I find a digital mentor / role model for my niche?

4.1 Issues


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We may have a great network but it still needs to be filled with content. The creative commons / innovation area was not discussed.


Leadership and values
Is there really a “Canadian” context for the Internet? Provide platforms for government to engage with citizenry in substantive ways Online ethics and values need to be discussed often How to ensure leaders in Canadian society use and support the use of the Internet

5.1 Issues

The leadership and values basket of issues was not discussed.


How do you create policy/ regulatory frameworks that protect individuals but foster innovation? How do we engage government without getting buried in the red tape? Online fraud – resources available in Canada to detect prevent and deal with fraud when it happens – cybercrimes units behind the times and need to stay ahead of ‘the bad guys’

6.1 Issues

The regulation basket of issues was not discussed.

Plenary Discussion
What issues might be missing? This will be discussed on the online platform.

Who should be included in this consultation who is not here today? What other sectors/stakeholders should be involved? • • • • • • • • Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres Librarians Parent Advisory Committees BC Teachers Federation Canadian Teachers Federation School Liaison Offices Vancouver Foundation BC School Trustees Association


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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

City of Vancouver Cultural Affairs Youth More private sector ISP Technology providers Ministry of Education Gamers Police BC Youth and Care Network Google Bill and Steve Ministry of Employment and Labour Market Services Ministry of Housing Heritage Canada Immigration Entrpreneurial Development Services Canada (HRSDC) Intellectual property experts – lawyers Software developers

How might CIGF serve to help advance the issues? Longer time frame for the meetings so that we can get beyond brainstorming More substantive presentations and research Provide information about what is going on in other countries and in other models Keep the process going and sped up so that there are not long lags Balance in-person with an online forum and use meet-up Define what is the forum – its distinctive status and role Keep arms length to the government – this was brainstorming not consultation Next Steps • Provide a list of participants and contacts • Follow-up with Jane Tallim if people want the PowerPoint presentation • Set up an interactive online survey / forum for youth – and advertise it on MTV • “Like” Damian’s group “Grunt Gallery” on Facebook • Form a Committee Work Group • Create a 30 second public service announcement (PSA) on YouTube – option to use 3 Piece Media who have done similar PSAs effectively • Send the meeting minutes


Digital Literacy Consultation, Vancouver, BC

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