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Digital Literacy Overview

How We Define Digital Literacy

The Applied Digital Skills curriculum was created as a resource to help teachers, parents, students and adult learners gain practical digital skills to improve overall digital literacy. But what do we mean by “digital skills” and “digital literacy”?


When we reference “digital skills” in our lessons and on our website, we are talking about the knowledge a person needs to use technology and digital tools. Building digital skills focuses on “the how” of using technology and digital tools (e.g. Google Docs, Google Slides). 


Our lessons cover the entire range of digital skills, including:

  • Foundational skills: example-how to create a document or presentation
  • Advanced skills: example-creating formulas in a spreadsheet, writing programs to automate tasks
  • Safe technology usage (sometimes referred to as digital citizenship): example- identifying cyberbullying, avoiding internet scams, creating strong passwords 

Through our lessons, learners also have opportunities to apply newly learned digital skills by completing educational projects and professional activities like creating a resume. Applying newly learned digital skills builds digital literacy and helps learners gain valuable experiences using technology and digital tools to meet personal and/or professional goals.  


Many definitions of the term “digital skills” overlap and use similar terms. We use a broad definition of digital skills:

Any knowledge or experience that can be used to access and interact with digital information. 


Digital skills enable people to use tools and applications (such as online search, spreadsheets, documents, email, etc.) to complete tasks, projects and/or assignments on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. These skills are fundamental because they allow for easier communication, collaboration, creating and critical thinking through the use of technology. They are transferable because they play an important role in learning and empowerment in many areas of life and can be applied in school, jobs and beyond, even when the use cases are different. Digital skills are used for practical tasks, such as creating a resume, managing inventory, or sending an email, so they are a critical part of preparing for the workforce and meeting academic, professional, and personal goals.  


We define digital skills in broad terms to ensure we have a wide range of lessons that help learners with differing experiences learn something new and build their digital skills, literacy, and citizenship.

The Applied Digital Skills curriculum provides users with access to free, project-based, and engaging lessons that allows them to practice digital skills. It was created with the needs of teachers, parents, adult learners and students in mind. 

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