Reading and Writing in the Digital Age

Catalog Description:
This course is designed to strengthen participants’ understanding of how literacy has evolved in the 21st century and explore in depth the definition of digital literacy. The NCTE definition of 21st Century Literacies states- “As society and technology change, so does literacy. Because technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the 21st century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, many literacies.” In addition, the ELA CCSS state that students should use digital media strategically and capably- “students must be familiar with the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and mediums and can select and use those best suited to their communication goals.”

This course will delve specifically into the demands, abilities, and competencies required for digital literacy, focusing on digital reading and writing and the technology tools that enhance student digital reading and writing experiences. 21st century digital literacy skills of evaluating information and ethical use will also be explored. This course will share strategies for publishing work with authentic audiences in ways that support connected, meaningful learning. Participants will showcase what they have learned by compiling a portfolio of resources and reflections. 

Allow 5 - 7 hours per session for completion of all requirements.

This is an introductory course for teachers, technology specialists, curriculum specialists, professional development specialists, or other school personnel. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers. In addition, participants should be proficient with using email, browsing the Internet, and navigating to computer files.

During this course, participants will learn skills and strategies to:

  • Understand and explore the various definitions of digital literacy and how literacy demands have changed to meet the needs of the 21st century.
  • Understand the skill set and demands for reading in a digital environment and learn digital strategies to support deep learning and comprehension.
  • Explore various digital tools that can support and enhance reading experiences.
  • Learn teaching strategies for finding, evaluating, and analyzing digital information.  
  • Explore challenges, benefits and various tools and strategies to support digital writing.
  • Explore ways that digital tools can support publishing and connecting with authentic audience.  

Required Readings, Activities and Assignments:
Each session includes readings, an activity and a discussion assignment, which participants are required to complete within each week.

Course Outline:

Orientation: (1-2 hours)
Participants will prepare for the course with an introductory reading and ice breaker activity. Participants will read tip sheets for participating in online discussions, credit information, and complete an orientation survey.

Session One: Digital Literacy in the 21st Century (5-7 hours)
This initial session will introduce participants to various definitions of digital literacy and allow opportunities to reflect on how literacy has evolved to meet the demands of the 21st century. 

Session Two: Reading in the Digital Age (5-7 hours)
Reading digital materials requires a different skill set than would be utilized with traditional print resources. The non-linear, interactive nature of digital material is responsible for increased cognitive demands required for deeper learning and understanding of multimodal texts. In this session, participants will read literature that explores opposing viewpoints- both the concerns and benefits of digital text, strategies for successfully reading and interacting with online text, and ideas for implementing digital reading into the classroom.     

Session Three: Digital Tools for Reading (5-7 hours)
According to NCTE, “Active, successful participants in this 21st century global society must be able to develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology”. In addition, the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts state that students must use digital tools strategically and capably- “they [students] are familiar with the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and mediums and can select and use those best suited to their communication goals.” In this session, participants will explore various digital tools that can enhance reading experiences. 

Session Four: Researching, Evaluating, and Ethical Use of Digital Information (5-7 hours)
It is crucial that we teach students how to engage responsibly with digital content- this includes teaching skills for critiquing, analyzing, and evaluating digital information. In addition, students are engaging with digital material in ways beyond just consuming- they are producing content. This remixing and creating digital products allows our students to express their understanding in new ways. With increasing digital production, students must demonstrate ethical practices. This session will explore instructional strategies for these skills.  

Session Five: Writing, Producing, and Publishing in the Digital Age (5-7 hours)
The ubiquitous nature of digital environments- including social networking, cell phones, and other informal technology tools have turned our students into daily publishers of writing.  However, for academic writing tasks, it is important that we teach students how to leverage these digital tools in ways that enhance their writing and communicate effectively to an authentic, target audience. Like reading, digital writing also requires specific skills for effective multimodal communication. In this session, we will explore challenges, strategies, and benefits of digital writing.  

Session Six: Publishing and Connecting with Authentic Audiences (5-7 hours)
Students that write with a purpose in mind and particular audience show greater investment of effort and time. Teachers can support students in this process by designing activities and tasks that have real world purpose. In this session we explore how publishing and connecting with authentic audiences motivates students.  


CLICK HERE to register.


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