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Essential lessons and examples to build students’ digital literacy skills

October 10, 2023Nearpod Team

Why is digital literacy important in education?

Building digital literacy skills for students is important because it empowers them to thrive in an era of rapid technological advancement by safely and effectively utilizing technology. Digital literacy fosters global connectivity, enabling students to connect and collaborate responsibly online. Teaching these topics enhances their information literacy by equipping them to navigate the digital landscape, evaluate sources, and conduct effective online research. Proficiency in digital tools and platforms also opens up diverse career opportunities, which will prepare students for their future.

We’ve given kids across the country access to devices and digital technology without teaching them how to use them safely, responsibly, and effectively. The same incredible capacity of devices to make our lives easier and amplify our voices can also have pitfalls. With the click of a button, one mistake can be accidentally broadcast to your entire social circle and strangers all over the world in a matter of seconds. Your inability to create or understand a spreadsheet can be the difference between a job offer and a denial. We often get our news online, but one Stanford study demonstrated young people dramatically overestimated their ability to evaluate the credibility of information online.

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What is digital literacy in education?

The American Library Association (ALA) defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”

Teenage hubris is nothing new, but in the digital age, teenage mistakes stay with you. Digital literacy topics instill the principles of digital citizenship, ensuring that students practice ethical online behavior and navigate the internet safely and respectfully. It is our shared responsibility to develop a digital literacy curriculum that can teach them these skills. While digital citizenship skills are typically emphasized during Digital Citizenship Week, they are essential year-round. We recognize the challenges educators face in finding time to incorporate digital citizenship into their busy schedules. Fortunately, Nearpod offers a solution with ready-made, impactful lessons that you can easily integrate into your curriculum today to teach these important topics.

Nearpod’s 21st Century Readiness Program

Nearpod’s 21st Century Readiness Program provides educators with the essential tools and curriculum needed to confidently teach their students across all grade levels to use technology safely, ethically, and effectively. Teachers don’t need to be experts in digital citizenship, social and emotional learning, or college and career readiness to facilitate them. Partnered with Common Sense Education, the program contains engaging learning experiences by leveraging Nearpod’s features to make lessons engaging, interactive, collaborative, and easy for teachers to facilitate.

Digital literacy curriculum examples of Nearpod's Common Sense lesson about finding balance in a digital world

Digital literacy examples

  • Digital Citizenship: How to safely, ethically, and effectively navigate the internet/devices
  • Media literacy: How to read the news/social media with a critical lens, decipher fake news, manage your media diet, and evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility, and relevance of informational sources.
  • Social Media: Encourage awareness and reflectiveness of the impact that students’ interaction with social media has and create a deeper understanding of how these platforms work.
  • Technology Applications: How to navigate computers, learn tech skills applied to schools, and speak the language of technology
  • Coding: Teach students of any age how to code and understand algorithms

The digital citizenship portion of the program is broken down into four series that address unique aspects and the importance of digital citizenship: Digital Citizenship, Media Literacy, Technology Applications, and Coding. Each series includes pre and post-assessments, behaviorally-driven objectives with respective activities to match, PBL Design challenges, social emotional learning, and digital skills that are connected to each topic.

Digital literacy examples and lessons on from Nearpod and Common Sense

If you don’t have access to Nearpod’s 21st Century Readiness Program, you can still access some unlocked digital literacy resources and digital citizenship week lessons for free. To access the resources shared in this article, make sure to sign up for Nearpod for free!

Essential lessons and examples to build students’ digital literacy skills

Digital citizenship

Digital citizen lesson preview and Matching Pairs activity

Media literacy

Drawing digital literacy activities to help students identify trustworthy resources
  • In these Nearpod Digital Citizenship and Literacy lessons for grades 6-8 and grades 9-12, students identify strategies for determining who creates information online. Students learn about credibility, conflict of interest, and native advertising.
  • In this 6-12 technology Draw It activity, students review search results to identify a trustworthy link.

Social media

Tik Tok social media literacy activity and lesson

Technology applications

Nearpod Draw It activity related to digital literacy skills about healthy computer habits
Coding lesson with Flocabulary and Nearpod


Start teaching digital literacy curriculum with Nearpod

Start using these resources to teach your students digital literacy skills! The 21st Century Readiness Program takes abstract concepts and grounds them in real-world applications, making concepts less foreign and pushing students to see themselves in all topics. As we prepare young people for the future, it is our shared responsibility to make sure we are teaching students to be authentically digital and media literate. Nearpod’s 21st Century Readiness Program does just that!

New to Nearpod? Make sure you’re signed up to access these lessons and activities!

Teachers can sign up for free below to access and create interactive lessons. Administrators can schedule a call with an expert to unlock the full power of Nearpod for schools and districts.

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