Connecting the North: Ontario supporting Indigenous communities
Virtual learning resources reaching Kindergarten to Grade 12 students
September 29, 2023
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RAINY RIVER — Ontario will be investing $900,000 in interactive virtual learning experiences and access to educational resources for Indigenous students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and educators in remote Indigenous communities. The interactive education program, Connected North, connects students living in remote communities to virtual experiences and opportunities not available to them locally.
“We are delivering new expanded educational programs to Indigenous students across the province,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We are bridging the digital divide by connecting all students across Ontario with access to learning opportunities that build essential skills in reading, writing, math and STEM to succeed in the jobs of the future.”
Through this funding, the Connected North program is anticipated to deliver at least 1,100 learning sessions to 55 schools in Ontario. These sessions will include: virtual field trips to museum galleries and aquariums to enhance learning; visits by Indigenous role models sharing culture, learning and career journeys to build hope and pride; expert sessions held in STEM, arts and languages that enhance curriculum learning; connections between students at schools across regions for educational and cultural celebrations; and professional development workshops and training for educators. As well, more than 100 learning resources will be shared to enable student participation, including digital science kits, books or author talks that will be available in English, French and Ojibwe.
“As we continue on our journey of making reconciliation real, our government is committed to ensuring equitable access to education for Indigenous students regardless of where they live or go to school,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Ensuring a more prosperous future for the next generation starts with overcoming barriers to education, and we are proud to support the Connected North program.”
- Starting in the 2023-24 school year, there is new mandatory content in the Grade 1-3 Social Studies curriculum that strengthens learning on the residential school system and fosters greater understanding of the contributions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals, communities and nations to our province and country while learning about their histories and cultures.
- For the 2023-24 school year, the revised Grade 1 to 8 Language and Français curriculum and new de-streamed Grade 9 English and Français courses now include foundational instruction to support reading and writing, critical thinking, and digital media literacy skills.
- The new Grade 10 Digital Technology and Innovations in the Changing World course will equip students to be innovative leaders by teaching them how to apply coding concepts and skills, build hands-on projects, and investigate artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other emerging digital technologies.
- Secondary students will learn how to create a budget, manage their money, protect themselves from financial scams, and plan for long-term purchases such as buying a house or car with new financial literacy modules.
“At Cisco, our commitment in Canada is rooted in fostering digital equity and inclusion. We firmly believe that all Canadians should have access to the opportunities needed to unlock their full potential. We are incredibly proud of Connected North’s positive impact on students. This partnership with the Government of Ontario and TakingITGlobal strengthens our dedication to fulfilling this vital mission and together we are on the road to create an even greater impact in the communities that need it the most.”
– Shannon Leininger
President, Cisco Canada
“With this funding agreement, the government of Ontario has made a strong and positive commitment to helping students in the remote north realize their potential. We are excited that they share our vision to ensure that students in the North have access to the same resources as students in the south.”
– Michael Furdyk
Director of Innovation of Connected North and TakingITGlobal
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