← Back to Resources

Growing Skills with the Eight Components of Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy is not one specific thing. To master digital literacy, an individual must understand eight critical components: functional technology skills, finding and selecting information online, esafety, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and social and cultural awareness. In our tech-driven world, student success is determined by a thorough understanding of all eight digital literacy components. This article provides an overview of skills your students can gain from each digital literacy component.

Functional Technology

The component of functional technology is critical in providing students with skills to effectively and efficiently use technology tools.


  • Ability to operate software or hardware for functional and presentational needs
  • Knowledge to evaluate and appropriately implement technology in any situation
  • Capability to engage with technology beyond basic functionality

Finding and Selecting Information

The component of finding and selecting information is meaningful in providing students with skills to find and select relevant, reputable content online.


  • Ability to use tools to effectively search for information online
  • Knowledge to analyze and scrutinize selected information online
  • Capability to recognize the limits of content use and provide credit to sources


The component of eSafety is crucial in providing students with skills to safely navigate the online world.


  • Ability to compare and contrast features of online tools or resources
  • Knowledge to identify potentially harmful content online
  • Capability to positively manage digital footprints


The component of creativity is necessary in providing students with immersive experiences to foster multimodal skills.


  • Ability to execute design processes and construct engaging content
  • Knowledge to innovatively think at each stage of the design process
  • Capability to design solutions for real-world problems


The component of collaboration is important for providing students with skills to effectively collaborate in online spaces.


  • Ability to clearly and respectfully share ideas
  • Knowledge to select the best online collaboration tool for specific tasks
  • Capability to delegate collaborative responsibilities

Critical Thinking

The component of critical thinking is needed to provide students with the skills to examine, think, and rethink technologies.


  • Ability to examine used technologies and consider why they were used
  • Knowledge to think, question, and dissect the ways in which technology decisions affect work
  • Capability to rethink how technology can be or is used in any given scenario


The component of communication is essential for providing students with skills to respectfully and appropriately communicate online.


  • Ability to present information through multiple modes of technology and examine communication technologies to best use them
  • Knowledge to clearly and concisely share important information
  • Capability to discuss, support, and connect ideas

Social and Cultural Awareness

The component of social and cultural awareness is essential for providing students with skills to deeply understand the role of technology in everyday life and culture.


  • Ability to explicitly use technology to reach goals throughout all aspects of life
  • Knowledge to recognize ever-changing social, economical, and cultural technology practices
  • Capability to evaluate and determine appropriate technologies for any given situation

To learn more about the eight components of digital literacy and how you can use them with students, register for Digital Literacy Pathways and follow us on social media.

← Return to resources