Digital Economy Consultation Roundtable

I was invited to participate in the Digital Economy Consultation Roundtable convened at the University of Toronto this week. The roundtable was organized by Andrew Clement and Karen Louise Smith, and funded by the Identity Privacy and Security Institute (IPSI), Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto.

It was an interesting experience. 33 of us from various faculties and disciplines at U of T and from out of town (Ottawa) joined together to work on a  collaborative submission in response to the federal government’s consultation paper on Canada’s digital economy strategy. Of the themes mentioned in the consultation,

  • Innovation using digital technologies
  • Digital infrastructure
  • Growing the ICT industry
  • Canada’s digital content
  • Building digital skills

I felt that the one that I could contribute to most was the last.

Building digital skills speaks most to my interests in fostering the effective use of ICTs in the educational system, teaching and learning. Our working group consisted of Marita Moll, Anthony Wensley, Clare Brett, Andrew Hilts, Grant Patten and myself. We considered the consultation paper and discussion questions:

  • What do you see as the most critical challenges in skills development for a digital economy?
  • What is the best way to address these challenges?
  • What can we do to ensure the labour market entrants have digital skills?
  • What is the best way to ensure the current workforce gets the continuous up-skilling required to remain competitive in the digital economy? Are different tactics required for SMEs (small and medium enterprises) vs. large enterprises?
  • How will the digital economy impact the learning system in Canada? How we teach? How we learn?
  • What strategies could be employed to address the digital divide?

We then came up with some recommendations. Despite our disparate backgrounds, our group easily attained consensus. Our notes were uploaded onto the wiki, we presented our summary to the larger group, and then Marita took on the challenge of turning our somewhat academic verbiage into a more accessible form. I might blog more about the particulars of our recommendations later, but the process that we are working through is interesting as well. We are inviting participants in the roundtable to view the final document in the wiki and support recommendations with which they agree. Presumably, the final document will also be made available to others in the U of T community so that they may give support. Though I am somewhat cynical about whether our recommendations will be taken up in future policy by the government, I am somewhat hopeful about having put my ideas out there at least.


One response to “Digital Economy Consultation Roundtable”

  1. […] 7, 2010 at 11:36 pm (My Research) I last blogged about the Digital Economy Consultation Roundtable that I was a part of at U of T. The Interim Consensus Submission is now available in PDF format on […]

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