Across the country, libraries, community organizations and social programs are helping people apply for jobs online, open social media accounts and learn basic office software. Kids are playing with programming toys in the classroom and competing in robotics competitions. Coding bootcamps and post-secondary programs are training the next generation of digital professionals.
The current landscape
The growth of digital literacy programs, with a range of promising delivery models and curricula, is exciting. There is a wide array of programs available, some entirely within the formal K-12 and post-secondary education system and other led by nonprofit and private sector actors working alongside, and sometimes in partnership with, schools, colleges and universities. However, the landscape of opportunities for learning digital skills is fragmented and difficult for some learners to navigate. Many people in Canada are at risk of falling through the cracks, unsure what skills they are missing, how to develop them and how to make sure they aren’t left behind.
Although leaders from the public, nonprofit and private sectors alike recognize the need to invest in Canadians’ digital skill development, there is a lack of analysis of what is being taught and where, where the gaps are and where new approaches may be needed. The Brookfield Institute’s report Levelling Up: The Quest for Digital Literacy, to be published in June 2018, aims to shed light on this area, mapping the landscape from early childhood education to programs for seniors, and from “Introduction to Windows” to video game design, virtual reality and other advanced digital skills.