Erin Sawden
Erin Sawden
September 1, 2018

Provincial Government Invests in Digital Literacy Standards

Emma Macdonal

UNB announced a digital literacy project partnership with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and Opportunities New Brunswick on Monday.

The announcement shared plans for the creation of digital literacy standards for provincial classrooms, using research that will be conducted by UNB PhD student, Matt McGuire.

McGuire’s research will include analyzing best practices related to digital literacy around the world.

The investment cost for this project is $80,000, with $40,000 of that being paid by UNB, and the other half to be evenly split between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Opportunities NB.

The project will be divided into three phases; the first phase, currently in progress, is McGuire’s research. The second phase is consultation with stakeholders to validate draft standards and the final phase is the incorporation of the standards into New Brunswick’s education system.

Brian Kenny, minister of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, said that the digital literacy standards will include cybersecurity content to guide learning and teaching in New Brunswick’s public education system.

“We need a generation of students that understands the importance of cyber security and has a knowledge level and understanding of it,” said Kenny.

Kenny sees New Brunswick as a world leader in cybersecurity, and views the development of these standards as helping them move even further in this position.

“It’s amazing to see what’s happening throughout the province as business leaders get together, academia get together, to see how important this is to move into the future,” said Kenny.

The timeline of this project is dependent on the feedback process that comes after the research phase, according to McGuire.

“We want to hear from as many stakeholders as possible and when we give them that opportunity, then we can move forward. The timeline, it’s uncertain, from my point of view. I do know that our government is really emphasizing this, so we’re working hard to see it happen. But we do want to get it right,” said McGuire.

Stephen Lund, the chief executive officer of Opportunities NB, said this project could potentially generate more career opportunities in the province.

“How do we take that interest our kids have in technology and turn it into something that generates growth in our economy and generates great career opportunities for our kids? Digital literacy is and will be a key component for economic growth everywhere, in every industry, period,” said Lund.

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