Blog Post

Digital literacy training and opportunities for Newcomers

By: Marco Campana
September 14, 2022

When it comes to digital literacy resources there seems to be a tendency to try to create new materials. There are so many excellent resources out there, many created during the pandemic. Let's build on each other's work, share openly, and complement, translate, edit for clear language resources instead of creating the same thing over and over again.

Below are resources that have been created by the Immigrant and Refugee-serving sector, in self-directed and facilitated resources you can share and use. These resources are complemented by self-directed and facilitated resources created outside the sector that should also be useful for you to share with Newcomers.

Let me know what I'm missing in the comments below!

Ontario organizations offering digital/computer literacy training

Computer Literacy Training Programs in Ontario (spreadsheet with 211 data)

A list of organizations and their location that offer computer and digital literacy training programs, as captured by 211. Computer Literacy Training Programs are defined as “Programs that provide instruction for individuals of all ages who want to learn about or perfect their skills in using computers, computer-related hardware and specific home and business applications including word processing, spreadsheet development, presentation development, database management, electronic publishing and image processing. Included are both introductory classes for people unfamiliar with computers and the Internet and more advanced courses, as well as programs that provide instruction in the use of related technology such as smartphones and social media. Instruction may focus on publishing tools such as blogs, video logs (vlogs), photo sharing, podcasting or wikis.”

Self-directed online created by the sector

Norquest College’s Digital Literacy course is an example of an existing approach to teaching learners digital literacy skills to help them succeed with online courses. It is one of many examples of pre-online courses designed by colleges and other institutions that can be useful to review for the settlement sector. 

Norquest also has a WebSafe curriculum "to provide newcomers to Canada with knowledge about digital disinformation and to empower them to support family, friends, and community members in dealing with online scams, threats and misinformation."

Newcomer Introduction to Classes Online (NICO) Educational Resources from The Immigrant Education Society (TIES) "is an online course designed to help newcomers overcome barriers to online learning. It offers a flexible, self-paced curriculum that can be accessed online at any time. Upon completion of NICO, participants will possess the digital literacy skills required to undertake online language studies." Course materials are available to other SPOs to re-use, upon request.

If you are a student interested in taking the NICO course, please click here for the student page.

NICO How to Register (Guides)

eSkills
eSkills is an interactive, asynchronous digital literacy course available for both Moodle and D2L Learner Management Systems developed by RRC Polytech’s Language Training Centre. Lessons can also be delivered independently. Five lessons were developed and piloted with learners across Canada. Each lesson takes approximately 5 hours to complete. Topics include: Professional Usernames; Choosing a Secure Password; Protecting Your Online Identity; Browser Basics; and Advertisements vs Content. Interactive elements include Quizlet, H5P, and Articulate Storyline Simulations. Facilitator’s guides and facilitation templates are available inside both LMS delivery modes. Digital badges and certificates are available for learners who successfully complete each lesson. You can download eSkills to use on your own Moodle or D2L Learner Management Systems.

New Digital Literacy and Skills for Daily Life in Canada Multilingual Videos
Reception House Waterloo Region has created some new Digital Literacy and Skills for Daily Life in Canada video playlists. Videos are available in Arabic, Dari Farsi, Rohingya, Somali, and Tigrinya. The videos are intended to support newcomers settling in Waterloo Region by providing information and guidance on topics such as digital safety, using a laptop, or navigating local transit using Google Maps.    

Multilingual Videos: Digital Literacy for Life and Work, and Chromebook Orientation
HIAS has developed a digital inclusion project that involves digital literacy training and providing digital tools for refugee clients. They developed a series of multilingual videos focused on Digital Literacy for Life and Work, and Chromebook Orientation.    

Facilitated (in-person or online), created by the sector

ISSofBC’s Digital Literacy Curriculum Resource was designed to support English language instructors and those in the Settlement field in helping newcomer clients overcome digital literacy barriers. The resource provides an Assessor Rubric designed for teachers to identify client digital skills gaps and learning needs. 

eSkills
eSkills is an interactive, asynchronous digital literacy course available for both Moodle and D2L Learner Management Systems developed by RRC Polytech’s Language Training Centre. Lessons can also be delivered independently. Five lessons were developed and piloted with learners across Canada. Each lesson takes approximately 5 hours to complete. Topics include: Professional Usernames; Choosing a Secure Password; Protecting Your Online Identity; Browser Basics; and Advertisements vs Content. Interactive elements include Quizlet, H5P, and Articulate Storyline Simulations. Facilitator’s guides and facilitation templates are available inside both LMS delivery modes. Digital badges and certificates are available for learners who successfully complete each lesson. You can download eSkills to use on your own Moodle or D2L Learner Management Systems.

Tutela.ca is an online community for ESL/FSL professionals. While the site and materials are not available directly to Newcomers, they can be accessed by ESL/FSL professionals and others in the sector to be used in classrooms, workshops, and projects.

  • Digital Literacy Tools Collection on Tutela.ca (account required)
    This is a collection of resources that focus on improving the Digital Literacy level of students and instructors. Includes Classroom Activities, Curriculum, resources for Building Instructor Digital Literacy, Webinar recordings, and additional Reference Material.
  • Digital Literacy Resources on Tutela.ca (account required)
    These are resources uploaded that may or may not be part of the Digital Literacy Tools Collection.

Online self-directed outside of sector

Digital Skills Library
The Digital Skills Library is an open repository of free learning resources designed to help all adult learners develop the digital skills needed to achieve their personal, civic, educational, and career goals.   The library is managed by the EdTech Center @ World Education. All resources within this library have been curated by educators to align to the Seattle Digital Equity Initiative Digital Skills Framework. You can filter resources by language, which currently include Arabic, English, French, Hungarian, and Spanish.

Online for free - Start with your library, Lynda.com (also knowing as LinkedIn Learning) is available through most Library websites for free.

You can also access useful videos on YouTube, as well as through product training offered by technology companies:

Northstar Digital Literacy identifies and evaluates the fundamental skills required to complete assignments on computers and the internet. People can receive a Northstar Digital Literacy Certificate after passing different tests. This certificate can serve a credential for employment. Completing the modules is free of charge.

They have a Build Your Skills section which offers instruction that was developed with English Language Learners in mind

Northstar Online Learning (NSOL) can help you learn digital literacy skills online. The public can access the following units freely, right now: Basic Computer SkillsEmailMicrosoft WordCareer Search Skills.

UK-based Digital Unite has over 400 technology how-to guides that cover a whole host of digital topics. Written by subject matter experts and updated regularly, the guides are perfect for supporting others with digital skills or improving your own knowledge.

Categories include:

English ESL internet worksheets
From the Internet Second Language Collective, an international community of more than a million ESL/EFL language teachers sharing self-made language teaching materials. Enjoy our free teaching resources whether you're teaching English as a second language (TESL) or foreign language (TEFL) in a school or via one-on-one tutoring.

ABC Internet Matters
ABC Internet Matters empowers Canadians who aren’t comfortable using the internet with the knowledge they need to get started. The program consists of a free workbook and downloadable resources to help new internet users learn how to use the internet. With ABC Internet Matters, adult and senior Canadians will develop a basic understanding of what the internet is, how to access it, and how to stay safe online.

Resources include:

Canadian Bankers Association: Your Money Seniors program This free, non-commercial financial literacy seminar program for senior Canadians helps you learn more about how to manage your money in retirement, avoid financial abuse and prevent financial fraud.

Canadian Bankers Association: Financial Wellness resources and information The banking sector in Canada offers several programs that help you build your digital literacy skills, learn more about managing your finances and protect against fraud during COVID-19.

Canadian Bankers Association: Cyber Security Toolkit With a cyber hygiene checklist and tips on how to spot common scams, this toolkit helps you protect against online financial fraud.

Google’s Applied Digital Skills
Teach and learn practical digital skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow with our video lessons that are free of charge. Digital focus is on Google’s suite of workspace tools, but there are other collections, digital and non-digital that can be useful. There are resources for learners as well as teachers/facilitators. Also available in French and Spanish.

Categories

Facilitated (in-person or online) outside of sector

Northstar Digital Literacy identifies and evaluates the fundamental skills required to complete assignments on computers and the internet. People can receive a Northstar Digital Literacy Certificate after passing different tests. This certificate can serve a credential for employment. Completing the modules is free of charge.

They have a Build Your Skills section which offers instruction that was developed with English Language Learners in mindNorthstar Online Learning (NSOL) can help you learn digital literacy skills online. The public can access the following units freely, right now: Basic Computer SkillsEmailMicrosoft WordCareer Search Skills.

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