Thank you for visiting US Digital Literacy. Digital Literacy is important in education, the work force and generally for every internet user. While this site focuses on the educational side of Digital Literacy, it also provides many resources in an all in one website to help you tap into the exponential amount of resources available via the internet. At the bottom of each page you will find a slider of corresponding links to our favorite sites categorized by each page. This website is a work in progress. We are adding to and modifying it every day. Come back often!
Digital and Media Literacy for Today’s Learners
The definition of literacy has evolved in the 21st century. The basic definition of literacy means to be able to read and write. To be successful in today’s digital world, literacy goes far beyond being able to read and write. What it means to be digitally literate has reflected the change in how information is processed, delivered, and received in today’s highly connected world. The University Library of The University of Illinois defines digital literacy as:
The ability to use digital technology, communication tools or networks to locate, evaluate, use and create information. 1
The ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers. 2
A person’s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment… Literacy includes the ability to read and interpret media, to reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, and to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments. 3
Digital Literacy includes learning how to use technology’s tools. The list of digital tools is never ending. New releases make something that was new yesterday old today. Educators as well as students must thoughtfully determine which tools are essential to their digital literacy tool kit. Tool kit’s vary from one educator to another as they do from one student to another. Once you have mastered a particular tool, move on to another so you can increase your digital power.
Students are wired to learn digitally.They come to us with handhelds practically attached to their limbs. Our obligation is to teach them to become responsible digital citizens as well as discerning users of everything the internet has to offer in our globally collaborative world. Pamela Ann Kirst states in a November 2013 Zanesville Times Recorder article “Accessing information takes a nanosecond; the assimilation of that information, the interpretation and application of it, are the skills we need today. Anyone with Internet skills can find the data; it’s the finder who can tell us why it’s important that gets recognized.”
Media literacy is a 21st century approach to education in which the Center for Media Literacy defines as:
a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy. 4
“Technology ignites opportunities for learning, engages today’s students as active learners and participants in decision-making on their own educational futures and prepares our nation for the demands of a global society in the 21st century.” 5
US Digital Literacy believes in supporting Instructional Technologists in every school to facilitate digital and media literacy instruction for all children and all teachers and staff. School systems should make provisions for a certified Instructional Technologist in every school to truly embrace 21st century education in their schools. All districts need to look forward to what will continue to transform education and what has only been a taste of the evolution of technology in the lives of our children.
In her blog article “14 things that are obsolete in 21st Century Schools”, Ingvi Hrannar Ómarsson states “The idea of taking a whole class to a computer room with outdated equipment, once a week to practice their typewriting skills and sending them back to the classroom 40 minutes later, is obsolete. Computers or technology should not just be a specific subject, that’s not sufficient anymore but rather it should be an integral part of all the subjects and built into the curriculum.” 6
“Technology must be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible.”
-Chris Lehmann, Principal of Science Leadership Academy
This website is dedicated to providing many resources for learners, teachers, principals, parents, and ALL education stakeholders to become better equipped in today’s digital world. Please check back often for updates and new information.
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Professional DevelopmentWe offer professional development in Digital Literacy, 21st Century Skills, Data Feedback Strategies, and Exemplary & Research Based Strategies for Instruction. Our team of trainers is a group of highly qualified teacher ambassadors who work with groups of educators across the country. We help you assess your school's commitment to teaching and learning and constructive pedagogical exchange. In addition to providing face to face professional development, we also are planning to soon make available an online Teacher Academy where teachers can self select workshops and PD that are a best fit for them. With a library of content being created, we will soon announce the launch of our online Teacher Academy in Spring 2015 and available certifications and credentialing you can get to build the capacity of your teaching right from the comfort of home. Our online professional development initiative created to help promote quality teaching, enhance teacher confidence and classroom excellence, and improve teacher content knowledge.
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Discovery Education Network Award WinnerDENny Awards are an annual opportunity for the Discovery Education team to formally recognize some of the amazing things that members of the DEN community are doing. At this annual event, we recognize members of the DEN Community who have gone above and beyond for the community during the school year. With categories like Best DEN Event, the RJ Stangerlin (for excellence in blogging), and Rising STAR (for new STARs), we recognize greatness within the community. DEN realizes this is just a small sample of the greatness, but is thrilled to be able to honor some of the fantastic educators transforming teaching and learning. US Digital Literacy was recognized as a DENny 2014 winner.
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Call for WritersAre you a teacher with a desire to write about your specific area of expertise ? Your article can be submitted for digital publication and instant access through the Internet. This is a great way to extend your professional journey and be recognized for your good work in education. If you are a teacher/educator with a desire to write about your specific area of expertise then we have a platform for you! If you have a blog or article you would like to submit for publication, we offer an outlet for you to get published right here on our site. Your article can be submitted for digital publication and instant access through the Internet. This is a great way to extend your professional journey and be recognized for your good work in education. We are enjoying steady growth at US Digital Literacy. Last year in particular we saw our traffic break record highs thanks to all of you. As anyone who follows the site knows very well, the list of things we have to review/cover usually exceeds our available time. To continue to grow, we need your help. We are looking for writers with a true passion for the technology we cover, a deep understanding of what’s out there and a thirst for more knowledge.
US DIGITAL LITERACY is today's INTERNET resource for 21st Century Education
You can check out what is TRENDING today in Digital Literacy, 21st Century Skills, Bring Your Own Device, and Common Core by checking out the news links below. US Digital Literacy is your one stop web based network for all things trending in digital literacies. Add us to your list of favorites!
J. H. Grigg, Ed.D.Texas Learning
We are extremely happy with this site for teachers. We now have one place to go to help teachers integrate technology into their learning. Thank you and best wishes from Texas Learning Consultants.
Kari Curran, Literacy CoachGovernor's Teachers Network at NCDPI
US Digital Literacy is my number one resource for best practices in classroom instruction and assessment! A phenomenal resource for teachers to select from a menu of web apps for their teaching practice. Partnering with lynda.com for just in time professional growth needs for teachers. This site was created by a teacher for other teachers.
Your Digital FootprintWe live in a digital age with an Internet economy that is growing exponentially. Close to 75% of Americans use the Internet as part of their daily jobs and careers. Our goal is to help educators teach students best and safe practices as they use the Internet and record their digital footprint. What you do on the Internet and think may have been deleted is still embedded in the social network DNA, so Internet users must think before they click! The best policy for protecting yourself is PRIVACY. Protecting your digital footprint is the most important thing you will learn using technology. THANK YOU again for visiting our site. Be safe and be smart!
Digital & Media Literacy
Most challenging in this millennium is our students know a lot more about technology than we do, and it is almost impossible to keep up with them! We are serving a new generation of students, often referred to as Digital Natives. They have grown up with technology and have been immersed in media rich resources. They are masters of multitasking. Today's students have revolutionized expectations in the classroom.
Digital Immigrants, that would be most of the teachers (but not all) do things like print our email, while the Digital Natives do not even use email any more! They use text AND Snapchat! We still get our news from the newspaper, and think a podcast is some kind of science fair project! Only a handful of teachers understand how technology is a not a subject to teach but rather a tool to use with a Digital Native to let them power up and apply real world problem solving to their curriculum. These teachers are often referred to as Digital Transients. Teachers must meet students where they are, they must aspire to use the language of technology to engage their digitized learner in our globally collaborative world. In doing so, teachers must help students become responsible digital citizens. Mike Ribble has two great books about this topic. Check out Raising a Digital Child and Digital Citizenship in Schools to learn more, both available at Amazon.com.
According to The National Association for Media Literacy Education, media literacy is seen to consist of a series of communication competencies, including the ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, and COMMUNICATE information in a variety of forms, including print and non-print messages. Media literacy empowers people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of an increasingly wide range of messages using image, language, and sound. It is the skillful application of literacy skills to media and technology messages.
Today's students must do more than memorize facts. Students must understand how to use digital tools to gather facts, interpret, analyze and create meaning, even create new meaning from the information they gather. Becoming truly literate means embracing a new framework of learning that layers core content into a world rich in digital and media literacies that will help students become future ready graduates in a globally collaborative world.
While using the digital tools is innate for most students, digital citizenship requires leadership and facilitation in our schools by highly qualified teachers. Unfortunately, many districts are resorting to untrained faculty, part-time assistants, and sometimes even no one to lead digital literacy at their schools. Schools must not turn their back on highly qualified teachers who are based in schools that are leading the digital transformation in education. Schools who use budget cuts as an excuse to cut these positions from their schools are doing a huge disservice to their students. Many systems have a team of highly qualified teachers in central office positions rather than working directly with students. This too is a disservice to our children. Educators qualified in Instructional Technology should be providing direct services in classrooms.