Professor Garfield

Professor Garfield’s 21st Century Literacy Project began in 2015 as a partnership between the Center for Emerging Media Design and Development at Ball State University and The Professor Garfield Foundation. The Professor Garfield Foundation is a nonprofit educational collaboration between Paws, Inc., the global headquarters for Garfield the Cat, and Ball State University, a nationally recognized leader in teacher training and digital education. In 2004, the Professor Garfield Foundation partnered with Ball State’s Teachers College to develop and launch a website that hosted a series of multimedia teaching and learning tools focused on language arts, math, eSafety, and more. For several years, these tools were widely used by a national audience of K-5 teachers and students.

In 2015, we began to think about ways to update the site, with an eye toward helping K-5 teachers keep up with the rapid evolution of technology. To tackle this challenge, we first explored a wide variety of definitions for digital literacy. Digital literacy is commonly understood as the ability to effectively use and create content using technology. We found the best model for digital literacy in an article by Cassie Hague and Sarah Payton and published by FutureLab. Their model includes eight components:

  • functional skills related to how to use technology
  • creativity in digital environments
  • critical thinking using technology
  • understanding the role of technology in society
  • collaboration in digital spaces
  • finding and selecting information online
  • online communication
  • e-safety

Using this model, we developed a comprehensive and interactive website for teachers and students to engage with digital literacy activities and informative resources.

Click here to explore the Professor Garfield Website and create a free account for your classroom today!