A Digital Literacy Framework: Continuing the Discussion


I want to thank our guest presenters, Jamie Harris and Bayo Adentunji, for today's virtual discussion and showcase of the Digital Literacy Framework: An Implementatin Guide where models of how to use some of the instructional strategies included in the framework, including an interactive website scavenger hunt and an interactive timeline, were demonstrated. Thankfully, they have agreed to continue to share their knowledge and expertise on January 14 through an asynchronous discussion. 

To get started, I invite you to reivew the guide and explore on the characteristics of a digital literate adult.

A digital literacy model - including technical, civic, communicative, collaborative, computational thinking, investigative and productive
  • If you were able to attend today's virtual presentation, what stood out to you? What were some of your key takeaways and questions for Jamie and Bayo? 
  • What questions do you have for Jamie and Bayo? 

I'm looking forward to the discussion. 



Good morning, all. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday's discussion. Yesterday, it was great to hear the following takeaways: 

  • "I can integrate digital literacy with my content."
  • "I have more technology tools to solve relevant problems."
  • I got a "much broader and more inclusive definition of digital literacy!"

It was also exciting to hear that instructors in other states are using the Digital Literacy Framework and the Instructor Implementation Guide to inform professional development and create resource hubs with additiional lesson activities. 

I look forward to today's discussion.

Thank you Jamie and Bayo, 

Perhaps to get us started, you can share some insight into the planning and development of the framework in your guide. How was this developed and how is it being used? 


Thanks, Kathy. Jamie and I appreciate the opportunity to continue this conversation about digital literacy for adult learners.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) supports the integration of digital technology into instructional activities. Maryland Adult Education considered it a matter of priority to develop a Digital Literacy Framework that would serve the purpose of providing clear definition, guidance, structure, and a frame of reference for adult learners. Notice the word adult learners — this applies to administrators, instructors, and students. Adult learners include a wide range of individuals, who all need to develop digital literacy skills to function well in society. 

The creators of the Framework also considered the importance of building transferable skills that can be applied to current and emerging technologies in digital environments. These creators, The Digital Literacy Framework Workgroup,  consisted of Maryland adult education stakeholders in various roles, who have perspective on the needs related to digital literacy in the field of adult education.

Structurally, the Framework provides definitions, guiding questions, and situational examples that help the adult learner think deeply about digital literacy in life, academia, and employment contexts. Some technology standards have focused on creating items that can be checked as completed; however, digital literacy development is an ongoing process and requires a shift in mindset to continuously improve. Checking a box is not enough. That is why the Framework is a "framework" that provides areas of focus in developing digital literacy that applies to multiple situations. 



First, thank you very much Jamie and Bayo for your excellent presentation yesterday. The demonstration and focus on the implementation guide was a great way to get a deeper look at how the framework is intended to be utilized. The framework and implementation guide are fantastic.

I am curious about the logistics and timeline for the development of the framework. How were instructors invited to participate? Was it an all call, or more along the lines of a recommendation/request system? Were instructors provided any sort of stipend or other incentive to participate? How long did the project take from start to finish? Looking back, what changes would you make to the process of development now that it is complete?

I am also curious about adoption across the adult education programs in your state. Have programs and instructors been hesitant at all in the adoption and use of the framework? I know that right now there is quite the emphasis on digital literacy, however do you believe that this framework will help programs continue to implement good digital literacy practices after face-to-face instruction resumes?

Kenneth, it is nice to see you as a part of this discussion, and thank you for your participation with the second demonstration of the US History timeline. 

The development of the Framework was done by a Digital Literacy Framework Workgroup. This workgroup consisted of instructors, instructional specialists, intake and assessment specialists, program administrators, and state-level staff. All members of this workgroup are involved in adult education and have varied experiences with their own digital literacy skills and the digital literacy skills of their students and colleagues. An invitation went out to individuals who demonstrated interest in digital literacy and distance learning in previous years as well as recommendations. The development ranged from March to December of 2019. The Workgroup did an incredible job of reading and analyzing research, connecting the research to their experience and contexts, and synthesizing that information in a way that was understandable.

Regarding adoption across the state, adult education programs have shown great creativity and enthusiasm in implementing the Framework with the support of the Instructor Implementation Guide. The experience of the pandemic highlighted the need for the development of digital literacy in all adult learners, so this Framework and Guide have been relevant and supportive resources for their work. The pandemic, however, is not the reason for the need of increased digital literacy skills -- adult learners need these skills to function well in life, academia, and employment. In fact, most of the lesson activities in the Guide were implemented during face-to-face instruction, so this proves to be a helpful resource in face-to-face as well as distance settings. 

Jamie and Bayo,

Can you share any instructor feedback on the strateiges included in the implementation guide? I was impressed with the ease of use for the scavenger hunt and the timeline -as were the participants in the group. 

Do you have any examples to share?


"I'd like to share this experience of using one of the lessons in your Implementation Guide:

The lesson I adapted was: "Managing & Storing: Logins & Passwords" on pages 14-15.  Please, note that this was an online class for the very beginners, many of whom were not able to speak a single complete sentence. The instructions in the Guide were clear and easy to follow.  However, since my learners were at the beginning level, steps 5 and 6 were simplified, and some of them had a family member (daughter/son/grandkid) to assist them during the lesson.  The outcome was many of them were able to create an account for the "Google Classroom" in my first class, and an account for a "Canvas Course" in my second one. So I would say the first objective of the lesson:  " Learners will be able to navigate various online learning platforms" was achieved.  

If it had been a face-to-face class, the learning process/activities would go much more smoothly.  Still, I found the Implementation Guide very useful and inspiring to me as an instructor to apply it."

- Chi


"I’m happy to go on record as saying that the framework was critical to us as an organization that trains and supports AE practitioners. It gave us a solid, clear starting point from which we could introduce instructors to the concept of digital literacy and training them on effective implementation in their classrooms"

- Natalie


Hi Kathy,

I've used several of the strategies in the instructor implementation guide in instruction.  For the scavenger hunt, I really liked how the lesson gave the advice of having instructors make sure that their students were using the website provided as opposed to doing a general search on Google.  One thing I have noticed with my students is that they are skilled in finding the answers to "wh" questions when doing a Google search, but have a more difficult time navigating a specific website to find answers.  I think this is a much more involved skill because students have to read more complex text and navigate between different pages on a website.  With google they get a quick answer, but it may not be as accurate or specific to what they need.  I thought this lesson could be easily adapted to many different purposes and is a very useful life-skill for students.  

For the timeline strategy, I've had my students create timelines on historical events and also timelines on important events in their lives.  It could also be used to sequence events in a text.  I like to have students have practice ordering events on pieces of paper, but I also found the timeline creator at ReadWriteThink.org to be a very useful tool.  

I agree with you that both strategies are accessible and I'd be happy to share more about my experiences with the lessons if you are interested.


It has been the desire of the Workgroup and contributors to create a resource that is relevant to the field. The following are direct quotes and other comments that we have received, have shown us that the Framework and Guide are relevant and helpful to the field. 

"Our instructors' response to the Digital Literacy Framework and Implementation Guide was off the chart enthusiasm!" 

"We presented this framework to our providers on Friday and they LOVED it!" 

"This is an incredible resource that could be immediately implemented!" 

Jamie and Bayo, 

I want to thank you for your leadership with this resource and discussion. I have two final questions: 

  • What do you envision your next steps with this resource? Will there be an addition in the future? 
  • How would you suggest other programs and states start on this process? One of my favorite elements is how you've linked standards to the activities, showing exactly how standards based instruction and digital literacy inclusion are connected. 

Thanks for your leadership!


It was exciting to learn that another state has started a resource hub where other lesson activities will be collected. It is also my understanding that another state is in the process of developing professional development around the Framework - that is one of Maryland's next steps, developing professional development around the Digital Literacy Framework and the Instructor Implementation Guide. 

Our encouragement is for adult education providers to use these resources as inspiration and a launching pad for continued work in adult education. Our learners can thrive and addressing digital literacy is one area in which they need support to succeed.  The reality is that some instructors are already skillfully implementing digital literacy into their instruction, so other programs and states should utilize the experience of these individuals. 

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these resources. We hope it has been a help and support to other adult educators.