Digital Literacy Resources and Ideas for Teachers

Digital Literacy Resources and Ideas for Teachers

It’s well understood that we now live in a digital world. Around 70% of American adults today own a smartphone, and over 50% get their news from social media sites. As technology continues to replace traditional ways we work, play, and learn—it’s becoming essential to teach digital literacy in the classroom.

Just what constitutes digital literacy, however, can be difficult to define and equally difficult to teach. While the term “digital literacy” generally refers to the use of technology to communicate and understand information, it’s become much more than that. An incredibly large and diverse set of skills is needed to effectively and safely use digital communication tools, networks, and digital technology.

Here is a basic checklist to consider when planning a digital literacy curriculum. As the digital world evolves at a lightning-fast pace, this list is by no means definitive or exhaustive—but it’s a good place to start. Keep in mind, also, that many of these tools have multiple functions and applications.


  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptop/desktop computers
  • eReaders (e.g., Kindle)
  • Cameras
  • Interactive whiteboards, clickers, etc.
  • Others: Smart watches, televisions, glasses, etc.
  • Physical care (e.g., handling, storing, cleaning)
  • Digital care (e.g., anti-virus and malware protection, updates, backups)
  • Maintenance and repair


  • Word Processing (e.g., Word)
  • Computation/Data (e.g., Excel)
  • Presentation and Decks (e.g., PowerPoint, Prezi)
  • Annotation (e.g., Acrobat)
  • Art (e.g., Photoshop, PaintShop Pro)
  • Apps (there’s one for just about anything)
  • Widgets   


  • Email
  • Instant Messaging (e.g., Remind)
  • Audio + Video (e.g., Skype, Google Hangouts, TodaysMeet)
  • Backchannel applications (e.g., Edmodo, Socrative)


  • Platform use (e.g., Twitter, Snapchat)
  • Search skills
  • Research skills (e.g., Evaluating websites for bias and truthfulness)
  • Google Apps
  • Scheduling Tools (e.g., Trello)


  • Class communication (e.g., email, websites, blogs, LMS)
  • Digital databases, libraries, and wikis
  • YouTube
  • Vocabulary tools, dictionaries, and other language reference tools
  • Data organizers (e.g., Cacoo)
  • Online teaching/help (e.g., WriteLab, Khan Academy)
  • Online tutors (e.g., xTutor)
  • Student digital portfolios (e.g., Evernote)
  • Digital gradebooks (e.g., Powerschool, Learn Boost)
  • Assessment tools (e.g., Socrative)
  • Flashcards (e.g., Quizlet)


  • Classroom management tools (e.g., Class Dojo)


  • Switching data between devices
  • The grading process (submission, return)
  • File sharing (e.g., cloud transfer, DropBox, Box)


  • Netiquette
  • Cyber-bullying and stalking
  • Victimization by adults (“stranger danger”)
  • Legality and use of materials
  • Digital “footprints”
  • Privacy and safety
  • Plagiarism

What favorite digital literacy tool would you add to this list?

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