Multiple Solitudes: Digital Curriculum Access in the Pan-Canadian Context

Multiple Solitudes: Digital Curriculum Access in the Pan-Canadian Context

Lorayne Robertson (University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada) and Dianne Thomson (University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4157-0.ch014
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Abstract

In this paper, the authors examine the potential and the reality of pan-Canadian digital curriculum policy access in the current web-enabled global landscape. The authors discuss theory related to the affordances offered by digital technologies for the sharing of research and policy, as well as theory relative to knowledge mobilization and communities of practice, both of which support collaboration and consultation for informed policy development. The authors present their findings from two investigations to test digital access to curriculum policies across Canada’s provinces and territories through their Ministry of Education websites. Through this analysis, the authors provide evidence of the current affordances and barriers related to digital access to curriculum policies and offer suggestions to facilitate knowledge mobilization around curricular responses to child and adolescent health issues.
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1. Introduction

We live in an era in which we are increasingly mobile and virtually connected (van‘t Hooft & Brown-Martin, 2009) and we have the capacity to share information in ways that can benefit society, such as advocacy efforts for child and adolescent health issues. Most Canadian schools are connected to the internet (Plante & Beattie, 2004) creating the potential for sharing best practices in health education across the country. As the country faces significant issues related to child and adolescent health, a paradox exists; while many of the issues of children’s health have been identified by global agencies such as the International School Health network (McCall, Rootman, & Bayley, 2005) or national agencies such as Participaction, the curriculum-based responses to these issues are determined individually by the ten provinces and three territories through their curriculum policies. There has been a call for an international network for advocacy and knowledge exchange across sectors for more effective promotion of school health programs (McCall et al., 2005), proposing the construction of a global school health agenda connected to local learning communities. Here in Canada, although most Canadians have the opportunity to access an affordable Internet connection from home (Middleton & Sorensen, 2005) as well as from schools (Plante &Beattie, 2004), the education messages available digitally from provincial curriculum policies present a broken front that could be characterized more as multiple solitudes than a coherent national educational response to these health issues. This paper outlines research undertaken to determine the degree of accessibility available to educators and communities seeking to understand, create and share educational responses to child and adolescent health priorities such as: health, fitness, body image and media literacy in the pan-Canadian curriculum context.

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