Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy

This Click & Go serves two purposes: to educate users on digital literacy and to prepare them for teaching digital literacy to youth. Digital literacy includes four crucial elements: finding, evaluating, creating and communicating information. Youth need to develop these skills to successfully navigate the digital age. This Click & Go will provide out-of-school-time (OST) staff with background knowledge and strategies to support student mastery.

After completing this Click & Go, learners will be able to:

  • Define digital literacy and explain its importance to OST education.
  • Share practical uses for seeking content on the internet with (and outline the risks for) students.
  • Distinguish between “fake news” and legitimate journalism.
  • Communicate to diverse audiences through multiple modalities.

Zip Link (56 MB) Click on the link to download the resources for this Click & Go!


Digital Literacy Mini-Lesson

Searching Safely

Throughout this podcast series, you’ll hear from Mark, a facilitator at an urban afterschool program, and one of his students, Tasha, as they reflect on a recently completed research project. They’ll share four components of digital literacy: finding, evaluating, communicating and creating. In this first podcast, they discussed (1) searching the internet safely, (2) protecting one’s privacy on the internet, and (3) what websites do with personal information. [Download Transcript]

Evaluating Information and Digital Content

In this podcast, Mark and Tasha continue their conversation and discuss more about conducting internet research. Specifically, they cover a set of guiding questions aimed at properly evaluating source material and identifying accurate and reliable information. [Download Transcript]

Communicating With Your Audience

Listen in as Tasha shares her experience of communicating with an audience about her research findings, and how she identified the best modalities or platforms for sharing that research. [Download Transcript]

Creating Content

In the final podcast of this series, Mark and Tasha reflect on the content creation process. Tasha describes how she pulled together her research project and shares some important lessons and tips learned along the way. [Download Transcript]

Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning

This U.S. Department of Education site is a comprehensive source list on using technology in schools, including extensive resources on blended learning. LINK

7 Reasons Why Digital Literacy Is Important for Teachers

The University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education provides explanations on the various elements of digital literacy. This blog post covers everything from the importance of evaluating sources to differentiating learning for different kinds of learners. LINK

Center for News Literacy

Sponsored by the Stony Brook University School of Journalism, the Center for News Literacy provides resources, curriculum and trainings on teaching news literacy to students in grades 6-12. LINK

American Libraries Magazine

The site features many articles about digital literacy and using technology in educational contexts with users of all ages. LINK

How to Give a Killer Presentation

This article includes practical tips and tricks for giving presentations that engage your audience and appropriately communicate information. LINK

As Bad Information Spreads, Florida Schools Seek to Teach “Digital Literacy”

NPR: Many Florida high schools now teach a cybersecurity program. There’s a larger plan to help students figure out what is and isn’t true online. Organizers hope it will become a nationwide model. LINK

Digital Compass™

This award-winning game for students in grades 6-8 gives students the freedom to explore how decisions made in their digital lives can affect their relationships and futures. Through the suite of choose-your-own-path games, students play through the perspective of one of eight main characters, each of whom faces a different digital citizenship dilemma. Games are available in English and Spanish. LINK

What Is Digital Literacy?

Digital literacy is part of media literacy. They’re both included in the idea of “information literacy,” which is the ability to effectively find, identify, evaluate, and use information. Digital literacy specifically applies to media from the internet, smartphones, video games, and other nontraditional sources. Just as media literacy includes the ability to identify media and its messages and create media responsibly, digital literacy includes both nuts-and-bolts skills and ethical obligations. This brief article offers links to introducing digital literacy to different age groups. LINK

As tempted as you may be to try to win a political debate against someone with an opposing viewpoint, debates with students and parents are rarely, if ever, productive. If you face a challenge to content you are teaching because of a student’s or parent’s conflicting viewpoint, do not take it personally. Differences of opinion are inevitable in a diverse society. Listen to the challenge or criticism and repeat it back to make sure that the student or parent feels heard. You can defend your teaching not by denying the challenge, but rather by knowing and relying on your state content standards and making sure that what you teach falls within those standards. Your state may also have a content framework that accompanies the standards.

At the end of 2020, an analysis of the digital divide (Common Sense Media, 2021) showed that about 12 million public school students were without adequate internet access or computing devices to facilitate homework or distance learning. A spring 2020 analysis showed that nearly 10% of public school teachers (300,000 to 400,000) also lived in the gap, which limited their ability to deliver distance learning. (Ali et al., 2021)

During school hours, teachers and school personnel can rely on network settings to monitor students’ activities online. Digital literacy is especially important for out-of-school time to ensure that students can make wise decisions about their online activities when they aren’t monitored by an adult or network settings. Therefore, understanding and protecting privacy, showing good digital citizenship, developing effective communication skills, and knowing how to evaluate news and information are important skills for students to internalize and take with them when school is done.

Students who develop their digital literacy competency are students who develop their analytical, communication, research and collaboration skills along with technological know-how. The digital sphere provides them ample opportunities to apply literacy skills like writing, reading, speaking and listening in real-world contexts that will be relevant beyond the K-12 learning environment. Students who master literacy skills have greater success in school and earn higher incomes when they enter the workforce. (Ali et al., 2021)