Montreal, QC – A bilingual awareness campaign to teach young people about algorithms is being launched by Kids Code Jeunesse (KCJ) and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), with support from Microsoft Canada, RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and Canada Council for the Arts.
The Algorithm Literacy Project will educate the public on what algorithms are, how they work, and how they influence the way we experience the world – online and off.
“The upcoming generation is the first to live in a world so thoroughly filtered and controlled by algorithms. As part of our #kids2030 initiative, we provide children with the tools to understand how algorithms shape their experience of the world, and empower them to take full control of their rights as digital citizens ,” said Kate Arthur, Founder and CEO at KCJ.
Algorithm Literacy is a fundamental aspect of good digital citizenship – equipping children to think critically about the impact of their behaviour, the effect of their filter bubble, and how they can effectively and responsibly participate in society. It’s our collective responsibility – government, industry and civil society – to make sure algorithm literacy is part of our kids’ education.
“Youth, as well as adults, need to better understand what algorithms are. They also need to know how they influence our relationship with technology and how they profoundly impact the type of news and content we consume. Understanding what happens behind the screen is part of being responsible digital citizens. ” said Sébastien Goupil, Secretary-General, Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
The campaign is launching with a video that can be found at www.algorithmliteracy.org. “What even is an algorithm?”, follows a child’s adventure “behind the screen” where an algorithm explains how a person’s online behaviour influences the content they are shown online – and how they can control what they see. The video is available in French and English.
The website is launching with two downloadable guides; a 15-page educational guide with activities for educators, parents, and caregivers who want to raise their own understanding of Algorithm Literacy, and a 2-page discussion guide to facilitate conversations with children around the video.
“Artificial intelligence has the potential to solve several of society’s most difficult challenges, but these opportunities will only be possible if we equip our future leaders with the digital skills to unlock them responsibly,” said Kevin Peesker, President, Microsoft Canada. “Programs like The Algorithm Literacy Project are essential as they not only provide students with digital literacy, but also instill the importance of ethical principles. We are thrilled to collaborate with Kids Code Jeunesse on this program and look forward to continuing to educate the public about how technology impacts our daily lives.”
Following the successful launch of the campaign, the second phase of the project will start, with Algorithm Literacy education being delivered into schools and colleges across Canada, to engage and empower young people in their digital lives.
“As digital and machine technology advances, the next generation of Canadians will need to be more adaptive, creative and collaborative, adding and refining skills to keep pace with a world of work undergoing profound change. That’s what RBC Future Launch is all about ,” said Valerie Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC.
The Algorithm Literacy Project is still open to further partnerships.
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About Kids Code Jeunesse (KCJ):
Kids Code Jeunesse (KCJ) is a bilingual Canadian charity determined to give every Canadian child access to digital skills education, with a focus on girls and underserved communities. KCJ teaches kids and their educators about artificial intelligence, code, digital citizenship and how these integrate with the Global Goals so that our kids have the confidence and creative tools they need to build a better future.
About the Canadian Commission to the United Nation’s Education, Science & Cultural Organization (CCUNESCO):
The Canadian Commission for UNESCO serves as a bridge between Canadians and the vital work of UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. By promoting UNESCO values, priorities and programs in Canada and by bringing the voices of Canadian experts to the international stage, the Commission contributes to a peaceful, equitable and sustainable future that leaves no one behind.