Digital Literacy Pathways

An educator's guide to digital literacy

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Development of this professional learning series was funded by Discovery Women’s Group, a collaborative philanthropic group created to support and fund innovative projects and programs at Ball State University that impact students and benefit our local, national, and international communities. We are grateful for their support.

More than ever before, the seamless integration of technology is critical to the success of the 21st century K-5 classroom. Likewise, digital and media literacies include knowledge and skills that must be cultivated across the curriculum in a standards-based format that is grade-level appropriate.

Digital Literacy Pathways grew from research that suggests that most K-5 educators need support and resources to effectively teach digital literacy. As a result, the Ball State University Center for Emerging Media Design & Development and Teachers College collaborated to develop this professional learning series.


of teachers say technology integration is important


of teachers feel unprepared to use technology in their classes


of teachers say they do not have enough technology support or resources

To be digitally literate, an individual must be able to effectively make and share meaning in different modes and formats, effectively create, collaborate, and communicate in digital environments, and understand how and when technology can support these processes. Upon completing this 10-module program, K-5 teachers will better understand how to foster digital literacy knowledge and skills for their students, as well as develop fun, engaging curricula that will lay the foundation for a lifetime of living and learning with technology.

Our 10 learning modules include:

(Click and drag, or swipe, right to see all modules)

1. Introduction

This module defines eight components of digital literacy and lays a foundation for ways to teach K-5 students to understand the role of technology in our lives and how to effectively use it, how to communicate and collaborate in digital environments, how to think critically, how to find and select information online, how to be creative with technology, and eSafety.

2. Using Technology

This module focuses on how to effectively teach students to use technology in creative and meaningful ways. Learners will explore the SAMR model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) for technology integration as a framework for effectively integrating technology in their classrooms.

3. Finding and Selecting Information Online

This module examines online literacy and research skills and tools. Learners will explore the SEARCH strategy model and learn how to foster good online research habits among their students.

4. eSafety

This module explains how to encourage a safe online environment for students. Learners will explore the SMART model of online safety to encourage students to safely and critically explore the Internet.

5. Creativity

This module examines how to foster creativity with technology in the classroom. Learners will explore four stages of the creative process, technology tools that foster creativity, and how autonomous learning can catalyze creativity among young students.

6. Collaboration

This module examines the differences and similarities between collaboration and cooperation, how to foster effective collaboration, and how technology can aid the process. Learners will also explore a technology-enhanced version of Tuckman's model of forming, norming, storming, and performing as a way to foster collaboration with technology tools.

7. Critical Thinking with Technology

This module focuses on the importance of teaching students to think critically thinking about how technology is used, including how different technologies can serve as tools and how to evaluate which type of technology to apply to different scenarios.

8. Communication

This module explores different forms of digital communication, proper etiquette for different applications or scenarios, and how popular communication platforms affect the health of children.

9. Role of Technology

This module examines the role of technology in society, how technology improvements affect our daily lives and health, technology’s role in the classroom, and how technology is changing organizations and workforces.

10. Cross-Curricular Digital Literacy Lessons

This module concludes the professional learning series by providing cross-curricular tools for fostering digital literacy in their classrooms, how to effectively create content and share ideas in digital environments, and key strategies for digital literacy professional development.


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Digital Literacy Pathways can help you improve your classroom practices and cultivate digital literacy skills for your students.