New LINCS Course on Integrating Digital Literacy

There is now an online course available in the LINCS Learning PortalIntegrating Digital Literacy into Adult English Language Instruction, an interactive, self-paced online module that explains how to incorporate digital literacy skills into learning activities for ELL students. The course was developed through the ESL Pro project and is listed now under ESL Pro in the LINCS Learning Portal.

Marian Thacher, American Institutes for Research


Reply to this comment to share your thoughts from unit 1 of Integrating Digital Literacy into Adult English Language Instruction.

Share a description of the lesson you created using a digital form, or a lesson on email. Did you have the opportunity to teach this lesson? If so, what went well, what were the challenges, and what tips do you have to share?

I will adapt my Digital Literacy course this fall, utilizing ideas from this training. I will develop a weekly on-line form that will build from super simple to more complex. I usually get us into email by week 2 or 3 AFTER introducing Google Docs for word processing tasks. I might try swapping so we get into email right away. I will create assignments per our weekly topic that they can answer in an email to me and their peers. I WILL include email protocols including always using a short, appropriate "subject" and greetings/closings.

Hi Laura, It's great to hear your concrete plans for integrating digital literacy into your instruction. It's clear the ESL Pro online course on Integrating Digital Literacy into English Language Instruction was useful to you. 

For members who might be interested in taking this free LINCS module, the course is divided into four units.

  • Digital Literacy in Our Lives
  • Information and Communication Technologies for Language Learning
  • Digital Information Literacy
  • Solving Problems in a Technology-Rich Environment

Those who take the course are eligible for a certificate upon completion.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP


Using what I learned in the lesson, I came up with an activity for my students to access, create and use an email account. I instruct low beginner students in an Intro class, so it is goin to be a challenging task for them to grasp.  My lesson will begin once students receive their semester identification cards.  This card is a great segway to get students access to the school website.  We will do an activity I identify as "Email Me." I will use classroom technology to access gmail. I will ask if the name email is a familiar word and if they have used email before.  For those who are familiar, I will have them use their electronic device to locate their email account. For the students who do not have an account, I will walk them through the process using visual examples to set up and use appropriate user names and passwords. After we set up the account, I will teach the basics of receiving and sending email.  We will then test the email lesson and "email me". 

Now, this is a created lesson idea, but I have not implemented this in a class as of yet.

Reply to this comment to share your thoughts from unit 2 of Integrating Digital Literacy into Adult English Language Instruction on listening. Think about the listening resources that you explored in the unit and respond to these questions:

  1. What units did you identify that would benefit from additional listening practice?

  2. What listening resources might fit well with each of your identified units?

  3. For each of the units, what is the purpose for listening?

  4. What vocabulary items would you need to work into your units?  

  5. What listening strategies could you model and help students learn to use?

  6. What language elements (e.g., level of formality, sentence structures, forms to request information, etc.) will you bring to the students’ attention?

Reply to this comment to share your thoughts from unit 2 of Integrating Digital Literacy into Adult English Language Instruction on Internet reading. Think about the reading resource(s) that you have explored and respond to these questions:

  1. What Internet readings might fit well with each of your curriculum units?  
  2. What supports would your students need in order to read each Internet selection?
  3. What are the ways that you would help your students select the appropriate links to follow, focus on appropriate images or videos, and evaluate the information?
  4. How can you support your students’ increasingly independent Internet reading in a way that is appropriate to their level?
  5. What is the best way to support a mindset of “make mistakes and learn from them” in your class?
  6. Describe the activity that you have designed.

I like as a general lesson to read, explore new vocabulary and discuss and critique the government's opinion about healthy eating.

With an intermediate group, I would support learners with a warm up activity talking about favorite foods, home and restaurant favorites, snacks, sweets, healthy and not-healthy eating.  Eating habits and caloric intake.

With any website, we would discuss methods to determine facts on a site.  We would talk about corroborating information.

My lesson plan would begin with the above-mentioned warm-up followed by a general discussion of guidelines. We would define words: guidelines, BMI, calorie, calculator, diet, overweight, obese, eating disorders, habits.  I would then present the site and ask students to log on with me.  We would explore the site and find information for adults and then refine the search if necessary.  Students read aloud parts of the site as we move through the search.

An activity would be use the BMI calculator.  This should be fun and funny.  In my classes, there is usually a lot of laughter as I make fun of myself and we laugh at each other's mispronunciations or wrong responses.  We would predict BMI and at weight or over weight and then calculate some students BMI.

As an assessment, students are asked to find a part of the site they find interesting and write a short review of the section. This can be done in pairs or alone. 

Further discussion would focus on a critique of the site. Do they believe it? Do they want to follow the suggestions? Do they want to change?  Is this the same in your country?


Hi Don, It's good to see how you are applying what you are learning in the ESL Pro course on Integrating Digital Literacy into ESL Instruction.Thanks for sharing this lesson idea for using the website. I want to affirm your engaging learners in a critique of this (or any) site. We know that Body Mass Index (BMI) is usually an important indicator of health. Of course, we all know this can be a sensitive topic, too.

Best of luck with this lesson!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition


Reply to this comment to share your thoughts from unit 3 of Integrating Digital Literacy into Adult English Language Instruction on Internet searching. Think about the Internet search lesson activities that you have explored and respond to these questions:

  1. Identify a class into which you would like to integrate an Internet search activity.
  2. List three to four lessons or units that you can add the Internet search activity to.
  3. For each lesson or unit, what is the topic of the search? (For example: On a vacation to Vancouver, BC, find three sightseeing locations that your family or friends would like.)
  4. Briefly describe each element in SEARCH that you would include in the Internet activity for this class.
  5. How will you ensure that each Internet search activity will give the students increasing independence?

In Unit 4 you learned about problem solving in a technology-rich environment. Did you create an activity for your students (or for your teachers if you are an administrator) to help them become good problem solvers making use of the technology they have access to? Respond to this post to share the lesson activity you created and your experience with it here. (Unit 4, Part 3)

What Internet readings might fit well with each of your curriculum units? would fit well into a digital literacy class. Many students are in class to learn English because they want to improve their job prospects, so there would likely be high interest in exploring careers, what these careers pay, and what the forecast is for job availability. Some of the supports students would need would be technology and support to use the website and  vocabulary instruction. We would also use  We would discuss the difference between click bait and valid information and how to discern the difference, discussing the need to recognize "sponsored" advertising. Additionally, we would discuss the need to differentiate between factual versus opinionated articles, and the need to navigate the internet safely to protect privacy and safeguard personal accounts.  VOA would help them to access information at their level. could also be used to differentiate instruction for varying student levels. 

A way to support the safe learning environment is to emphasize that mistakes are really opportunities for growth and learning and so mistakes are to be called learning lessons instead. The more mistakes we make or observe, the more we learn. When we speak up, we help not just ourself, but others in our classroom. We are all teachers and students of each other. I will also point out my own and other native speakers "mistakes", to help them notice that even high-level native speakers make mistakes. 

The activity I would design would be to have each student research a career that they are interested in or summarize a news article that they have read. I would have them write or talk about it with a small group that I would observe. I would ask them to tell me, why they chose that career or article and what they learned that they didn't know before. I would also ask them to write about what else they would like to learn after reading the article.

Hi Jocelyn, You have some excellent ideas for integrating digital liteacy into your teaching. Researching careers has always been a high interest activity for the learners I've taught. I agree that it's important to support learners to navigate safely on the internet and to determine the reliability of online information. Plus, I love your emphasis on mistakes being opportunities for learning!

Take care, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP