Digital life became an essential part of all human activities and takes an ever growing role in defining the personal, community, and citizenship position of young people. In this new digital reality, young people need new examples and role models of humanitarianism and 21st century Canadian digital citizenship. The Digital Citizenship Graduation Award will motivate students to recognise and adopt Canadian digital citizenship standards.
Advances in technologies are accompanied by a society’s increased dependence upon them. This makes it critical to encourage youth—the data-native generation—to not only develop digital skills but also to take strong digital citizenship positions in society, to employ these skills to seek solutions to societal issues, whether big or small, and to impart a positive impact within their communities.
Recognizing the significance of fostering digital citizenship, STEM Fellowship is implementing the Digital Citizenship Graduation Award (DCGA) in high schools across the country. In partnership with RBC Future Launch and other stakeholders, the DCGA is intended to recognize and support exceptional graduating high school students in Canada who have a demonstrated record of using digital skills as a means of solving, or bringing awareness to, social and societal issues that may be school-specific, local, regional, national, or global in scope.
The DCGA is a novel award and the first of its kind in Canada, established in response to the growing need to encourage students to use digital skills as an expression of their citizenship position and to positively impact those around them.
Consisting of a unique combination of scholarship and mentorship, the DCGA is intended to support each award recipient in the following three categories.
- Social media and website recognition (from RBC Future Launch and STEM Fellowship)
- “Storytelling” features through RBC’s marketing team (from RBC Future Launch)
- Digital Citizen badge on LinkedIn (from STEM Fellowship, RBC Future Launch, and other stakeholders)
- Opportunity to speak as an invited guest on STEM Fellowship Podcasts (from STEM Fellowship)
- Potential interview opportunity on CBC to increase the community’s awareness surrounding the student’s project and to encourage and incentivize other youth to also become digital citizens
- One-year financial literacy mentorship from a paired local university RBC representative and senior leadership at RBC (from RBC Future Launch)
- One-year university-related mentorship from a paired senior student in analytics, science communication, or other academic program as the award recipient (from STEM Fellowship)
- Full-access LinkedIn Learning License (from RBC Future Launch and LinkedIn Learning)
- All non-winning applicants (in addition to the winners) will also receive full-access LinkedIn Learning Licenses.
For more details about the Digital Citizenship Graduation Award, please read the document below.
The DCGA will be open to graduating Canadian high school and CÉGEP students (in select pilot schools for 2021) starting university with a demonstrated record of using digital skills as a means of solving, or bringing awareness to, a topic of interest or issue that may be of social importance at the school, local, regional, national, or global level.
Because the concept of digital citizenship is a broad one, below are a few examples of what projects involving digital citizenship could look like.
- Running a blog or website (such as STEM-related, human rights, or another type) that seeks to bring attention to certain societal issues
- Running a blog or website that shares research findings in easy-to-understand terms for the general public
- Developing a useful app or software to address a need within the school community or beyond
- Fostering digital citizenship amongst peers or others and seeking to eliminate the digital divide (such as teaching coding and programming)
- Proposing solutions to social and equity issues or finding trends by using open data and digital skills (such as working on a High School Big Data Challenge project)
- Creating a social media presence (such as on Instagram, Twitter, or another platform) with a substantial reach that educates followers or raises awareness about a certain topic amongst followers and incentivizes the active digital citizenship position of its followers
The above list is not at all exhaustive and is intended to only provide a general idea of possible projects. Any projects that involve digital citizenship, as defined in the Background, may be considered eligible. No project is too small!
Application Process and Evaluation
Keeping in line with the spirit of the award, students are asked to apply to the DCGA through a digital format in the form of a recorded video of the student speaking. Students must describe and support their digital citizenship position by providing concrete details addressing as many of the following points as they would like; wherever possible, the applicant should provide numbers or reasonable estimates to support their statement, particularly when describing the project’s reach or impact.
- Description of the project that they have carried out, including the scope of the project (such as school-specific, local, regional, national, or global)
- The length of time for which the project has been in existence
- The issue or topic it addressed or addresses
- Reasoning behind why the project was needed or important
- The project’s reach or impact, including numbers or estimates, if possible or applicable
- The benefits of their project to others
- If the project will continue to exist after the applicant starts university (which could be under the applicant’s or another person’s leadership)
- Description of how the applicant plans to continue using their digital citizenship position in the future to make an impact around them (such as continuing their project or starting a new one)
The application process will be completed entirely online. STEM Fellowship will serve as a centralized hub for administering the LinkedIn Learning Licenses and will keep a national roster of award recipients (Digital Citizen Hall of Fame) and showcase their pathway.
- The video should be between 2 and 4 minutes in duration and must be uploaded by the student onto YouTube on or before the “video upload deadline” (June 21, 2021). By uploading the video sooner, you will have more time to garner likes and support.
- Important: After uploading the video, the student must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Subject heading: “[Student name]: DCGA Application”
- Email body: Please write your full name, school name, city and province, and a link to your YouTube video. Please ensure your video is publicly viewable.
- The applicant is responsible for sharing the video with their fellow classmates and others in the community to garner support for their video. Support for an applicant’s work will be determined by the number of likes the video receives (in addition to any written recommendations/endorsements in the comments section; see below). Anyone is allowed to show support by liking the video. This ensures that the process of selecting a winner is as democratic as possible. Students are allowed to share their video and ask for support through any medium, such as through social media, email, and others.
- Optional: In the comments section of the video, we invite written recommendations/endorsements supporting the applicant’s work. There is no lower or upper limit to the length of recommendations. The recommendations can be from educators, community members, and fellow peers who have a good knowledge regarding the applicant’s work. These recommendations are optional and not required.
- One day after the “voting deadline” (June 28, 2021), STEM Fellowship will select one winning video from each school (while taking recommendations/endorsements in the comments section into consideration). For example, if we receive five applicants from XYZ School, the applicant whose video has the most likes will be selected for the award.
- All non-winning applicants will also receive full-access LinkedIn Learning Licenses.
- STEM Fellowship will administer the awards.
To ensure that applicants are honest, any information provided in the video must be verifiable upon request, and any estimates provided must be reasonable (in essence, if requested, applicants must be able to explain how they arrived at a certain estimated number in their video).