TORONTO – The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), in partnership with The Slaight Family Foundation, is pleased to announce the launch of a new digital learning initiative aimed at Indigenous students and their peers. Reaching more than 5,000 students across the province, the multiple-visit program combines 21st century digital tools with hands-on access to the Museum’s extensive collection of ancestral objects.
The Slaight Family Foundation’s $1 million gift builds on their long-standing history of supporting the Museum’s School Visits Bursary and Indigenous Program. In an announcement made earlier today, the Slaight Family Foundation confirmed that the ROM is one of 15 organizations to receive funding as part of their mandate to improve the physical, mental and social well-being of Canada’s Indigenous populations.
“The ROM is truly grateful for The Slaight Family Foundation’s extraordinary philanthropic leadership and their remarkable support of the Museum’s innovative Indigenous and digital learning initiative,” says Josh Basseches, Director & CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum. “This generous investment will allow us to expand our Indigenous program and deepen students’ connection with the cultural heritage of First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples.”
This program offers students and teachers new, transformative ways to engage with and explore art, culture and nature within the context of their lives today. Guided by Indigenous elders, knowledge carriers, educators, ROM experts, and a broad-based team of digital programmers and videographers, thousands of students from across the province will take part in this immersive, tech-based learning initiative.
As one of Canada’s largest extra-curricular educators and home to an in-depth collection of cultural and ancestral history, participants will have direct access to the full Museum experience — virtually and through on-site visits — allowing students and teachers to tap into the Museum’s collections as well as a wealth of proprietary research in the field.
With an emphasis on technology-based learning, students will be immersed in the art of web and game production, creating educational video and multimedia projects designed to enhance their visual and digital literacy skills through critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving — key competencies in 21st century learning. The program will culminate in a special showcase of students’ work to celebrate their achievements.
By leveraging technology, the Museum can expand the program’s reach beyond the Greater Toronto Area to include underserved communities in southern and northern Ontario. This program will also support the professional development of participating teachers through an annual summer teaching institute that will help educators prepare for the year ahead.
As part of the ROM’s institutional investment in the project, the Museum will appoint a full-time, Indigenous outreach and learning expert to ensure the program remains responsive and relevant to the needs of Indigenous youth.
With the generous support of The Slaight Family Foundation, this innovative digital learning initiative will empower Indigenous youth and their peers to aspire to and achieve their full potential.