Canada Learning Code firmly believes in the power of supporting diverse people and communities as they develop into empowered creators of technology. At the crux of this mission is an impassioned commitment to designing and delivering educational experiences that strengthen young people’s digital literacy skills. Alongside our signature youth programming like ‘Girls Learning Code’ and ‘Kids Learning Code’, we recently launched the ‘Code Mobile’ initiative, our biggest and boldest national digital literacy project to-date.
With 13 different Code Mobiles active nationwide, these computer-labs-on-wheels directly deliver free programming to youth and educators in hopes of transforming the ways in which communities engage with technology education.
But we’re not alone in recognizing the increased need for digital literacy!
On May 31st, the City of Toronto ran its inaugural ‘Digital Literacy Day’ (#DLDay2018) in collaboration with the Toronto Public Library. Our Code Mobile team was excited to contribute to Digital Literacy Day, and the more than 110 public events taking place all across the city. From building robots to designing prototypes and delivering tech activations, the City of Toronto was bursting at the seams with boundless energy.
The Code Mobile takes on #DLDay2018
Our Code Squad took part in Digital Literacy Day in two ways! Our Kitchener-Waterloo team supported a bustling tech fair at Toronto Reference Library, while our Toronto team led a Scratch-based coding workshop with the generous support of Thomson Reuters, our sponsor and host for the day.
More than 100 students and staff from Muirhead Public School joined us at Thomson Reuters for our coding workshop, where they had a chance to develop and customize their very own ‘escape games’ from the inside-out.
At the start of the workshop, our learners were immersed in offline activities that honed their logical, teamwork, and communication skills. By the end of the day, they gained a greater understanding of the elements needed to create functional and engaging computer games, and an arsenal of transferable skills that will support them throughout their tech education journeys.
The Code Mobile team’s experience at Digital Literacy Day also confirmed several key principles that will continue to motivate our work all-year round!
Digital literacy is critical:
We know that technology is impacting all of our lives in big and small ways, and Digital Literacy Day was established, in part, to recognize the opportunities and challenges present in the digital age. Incorporating digital literacy into our daily educational experiences is critical in equipping young folks with the skills, resiliency, and perspectives needed to navigate this landscape with confidence and ingenuity.
Digital literacy is fun:
One thing was very clear during Digital Literacy Day: critical skills-building is fun! Learning is as much about enjoying the process, as it is about coming to a desired outcome. Our workshop was alive with the sound of laughter, enthusiastic conversation, and audible ‘aha!’ moments. While our learners were sad to leave our workshop, they were quick to express their excitement for future coding opportunities.
Digital literacy is for everyone, and young people play an important role:
It is an absolute privilege to work with youth from all backgrounds and experiences. Young people not only want to participate in tech education, they have the capacity to lead and innovate in this space. Our instructors facilitated the learning opportunity for the day, but it was our learners who engaged with technology in ways that were meaningful to them.
Moving Forward with Digital Literacy
At its core, Digital Literacy Day was a community effort, and a bold reminder that young people are excited to learn, lead, and make change through technology. Opening more doors to these kinds of hands-on digital experiences is a critical step in fostering inclusive innovation, as is working together to break down the barriers that hinder many young folks from accessing these opportunities in the first place. Again, Canada Learning Code was one of 35+ organizations that contributed to Digital Literacy Day – harnessing the power of this collective energy will undoubtedly help us move forward
Our game design workshop ended on a (literal) high note with the entire room of learners joyfully chanting ‘Code Squad!’ in unison – a telltale sign that Digital Literacy Day was a success, and that future city-wide initiatives championing youth digital literacy would be eagerly welcomed.
Sincere thanks go to Muirhead Public School, Thomson Reuters, the City of Toronto, and the Toronto Public Library. All of us at Canada Learning Code – and in the Code Squad – are tremendously excited for Digital Literacy Day 2019!
We are also immensely grateful for the Digital Literacy Day team who put this citywide initiative together:
- Michelle Holland, COT
- Daria Prokhorova, intern, Councillor Holland
- Patricia Walcott, TESS
- Manisha Narula, League of Innovators
- Judy Farvolden, University of Toronto
- Michael Giles, Councillor Holland’s Office
- Andrea Niles Day, RBC
- Jacquie Dolman, RBC
- Lori Litman, Independent
- Susan Viegas, COT
- Franco Amalfi, Oracle
- Denise Hobbs, Oracle Academy
- Tracey DeLeeuw, EY
- Natasha Apollonova, TRBOT
- Pam Ryan, TLP
- Ron Gordon, CISCO
If you would like to see the Code Mobile come to a school, community centre, or library near you, please go to www.codemobile.ca to request a visit.