Over the past 8 years, I have attended close to 50 education conferences across Canada.  But last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to a truly memorable gathering in Thunder Bay, Ontario – the Matawa Education Conference 2018.   

In partnership with MediaSmarts, I was asked to deliver the workshop "Digital Literacy Training for Canadian Educators" to conference participants, alongside other workshops including cultural curricula, First Nation language/immersion programming, teaching strategies for literacy and numeracy, and nutrition.

The workshop was a success, with 25 incredibly-engaged educators asking all kinds of questions about media bias and perspective, and how they can help their students think critically about the media they consume. They were truly a joy to work with, and I look forward to seeing how the integration of Digital Literacy into their classrooms evolves in the future!

 Kevin Lamoureux delivers his keynote address "Truth and Reconciliation in Education"

Kevin Lamoureux delivers his keynote address "Truth and Reconciliation in Education"

Keynote speaker Kevin Lamoureux was a highlight of the conference, delivering the 1.5 hour workshop "Truth and Reconciliation", plus an inspiring 45-minute keynote address that garnered a standing ovation.  

He spoke about how we "other" those who are different from ourselves, offering a few key ways to help address this highly problematic behaviour, which often leads to racism.   

  • Create a relationship with the person you're trying to educate; no one learns well when feeling shamed or inferior.

  • Provide access to good information, awareness and education.

  • Try to understand poverty & privilege: if you have privilege, how can you use it to help others?

Kevin is doing some really important work with the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation, and I highly recommend checking out their website to learn more.

After sharing with him our work at Hands On Media, he was excited to tell me about a campaign for elementary, secondary and post-secondary school students in Canada called "Imagine a Canada". This campaign provides an opportunity for young people to share creative representations of what reconciliation in Canada could look like. The submission deadline is April 2, 2018. Please spread the word to any students you think would be interested in participating!

Another highlight of the conference was meeting a tech teacher from Fort Severn, Ontario – a small northern community of 400 on Hudson Bay. He has been working with youth there to create a website for students to share stories, knowledge and activities. Learn more about their community through their blog posts, maps and videos by checking out the website here.

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We believe in the power of digital initiatives such as these to foster understanding, awareness and connection, allowing even very remote communities to share their experiences with people around the world. Increasing awareness can decrease ignorance. A step towards truth. A step towards reconciliation.

Contact us today to learn how you can incorporate Digital Storytelling Workshops on Truth & Reconciliation into your classrooms.