Understanding Canadian Diversity Edukit
May 29th, 2007
The Heritage Community Foundation is pleased to report that it has created and posted on the World Wide Web at www.albertasource.ca a bilingual multimedia website titled the Understanding Canadian Diversity Edukit. The project received funding support from the Canadian Studies Program, Canadian Heritage, and Alberta Community Development, Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Education Fund.
The unique edukit is an online learning resource for students and teachers that provides information, scenarios, and activities on Canadian multiculturalism and diversity including human rights issues, diversity in action and understanding multiple perspectives. Text, images, audio and video are used to enhance learning and accomplish the following objectives:
- promote a human rights culture in the classroom
- improve professional practice among teachers through the provision of state-of-the-art online resources and
- enhance understandings among students that entrench the values of citizenship.
In the Teacher Zone, teachers are provided with lesson plans, rubrics, and resources that correlate directly to the Alberta social studies curriculum and, by extension, to the rest of Canada since the issues are central to the teaching of Canadian history and citizenship within history and/or social studies curricula. In the Student Zone, students can access engaging, authoritative information about communities that are too frequently subjected to prejudice, mischief-motivated bias, or hate based on religion or ethnicity.
The Edukit comprises a dynamic part of the Alberta Online Encyclopedia, created by the Heritage Community Foundation as a means of education Albertans, Canadians and all users of the World Wide Web about the historical, natural, cultural, scientific and technological heritage of Alberta and Canada. The Understanding Canadian Diversity Edukit is the 72nd website found at www.albertasource.ca. The Alberta Online Encyclopedia is an Alberta Centennial Legacy project that has given Alberta more purpose-built authoritative content on the web of any province or state. In 2006, this assemblage of websites, freely available over the World Wide Web, received over 68 million hits and over 2.5 site visits of up to half an hour duration.
The Diversity Edukit takes a Pan-Canadian focus in setting out human rights legislation and practice in Canada and includes immigration histories of a range of ethnocultural groups. The site also showcases video and audio elements developed by the Heritage Community Foundation and its partners. The educational website addresses the needs of teachers for concrete materials to make their teachings come to life. Students need to identify with real-life situations and people in their own communities who demonstrate Canada’s immigration history, are visible minorities or others who are considered different from the mainstream.
Topics covered include:
- Immigration History - The Edukit introduces individual immigrant groups in a chronological framework, thus demonstrating each group’s role in Canadian history. By highlighting the accomplishments and struggles of diverse ethnocultural groups, the Edukit will help students to appreciate that all people make valuable contributions to society.
- Rights and Responsibilities - With an introduction to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Edukit explores the concept of becoming Canadian. The notion of citizenship and what makes a good citizen is discussed. Students will explore how individuals retain and shed elements of their naissant culture when they come to Canada and will deliberate whether cultural retention augments or threatens Canadian society.
- Diversity and Multiculturalism - Federal and provincial policy frameworks are presented to demonstrate that diversity and multiculturalism are essential characteristics of Canada, Alberta and its people. Students will internalize respect for and appreciation of the diverse communities that make up our society and what is especially Albertan.
- Human Rights Issues - The Edukit discusses discrimination, particularly discrimination based on place of origin and ancestry. It will highlight the effects of discrimination on individuals and groups with a view to sensitizing students to the importance of respecting the rights and responsibilities of others.
Video materials range from shorts such as the “Mosques in Alberta,” which tells about the arrival of the Muslim people in Alberta and the mosques they built to Elders taking part in a traditional Métis jig at National Aboriginal Day 2005 in Edmonton, Alberta, to bilingual Alberta Moments about the Métis and Alberta’s Francophone Community.