“Jeff. I’ve got a big challenge. Help!”
That was a voicemail message I received from a friend, a principal at a local elementary school one sunny summer afternoon. What was the challenge? Her 30 slightly apprehensive teachers had to deliver a digital literacy curriculum to her 450+ students the next school year. Like many other educators around the country, the principal’s team understood the need for their students to learn digital-literacy skills to become responsible citizens and to be prepared for the challenges of college, and careers, but … where to start?
Before discussing building, purchasing or creating a digital literacy curriculum, we decided to devise a set of essential qualities that we felt would be helpful to evaluate potential digital-literacy curriculum options. Ultimately, with the help of other schools and districts, we decided to focus upon these eight themes:
1. Aligns with standards at the national, state, and local standards and grade levels. Most states and districts base their digital literacy standards on the International Society for Technology Educators (ISTE) standards for students and teachers.
2. Provides assessment opportunities to determine benchmark digital literacy proficiencies, measure student progress, growth and achievement on formative and, finally, summative levels.
3. Differentiates, adapts, and personalizes instruction based upon group or individual student needs—including ability to re-sequence content or provide differentiated instruction to students for remediation or acceleration.
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