Home Digital Literacy 5 Selected Frameworks for Teaching and Promoting Digital Literacy

5 Selected Frameworks for Teaching and Promoting Digital Literacy



New NMC Report Provides a Rich Look at Digital Literacy Models, Exemplars, and Explorations Within Higher Education

I spent a good deal of time with this excellent report this weekend, exploring the models, examples, and expert commentary on a subject that near and dear to me. The New Media Consortium first explored Digital Literacy in their 2016 report which ultimately provided some simple definitions of Digital Literacy (shown in graphic below).

NMC-digital-literacy-3modelsSource: https://www.nmc.org/news/nmc-releases-horizon-project-strategic-brief-on-digital-literacy/

This year, in this just released “Part II” report, they took a deeper dive, sharing 11 different frameworks that have been developed by educational institutions and organizations, along with a couple dozen “examples of programs and learning opportunities designed to facilitate content creation, increase technology fluency, and promote critical thinking.”

Additionally, a section of “Voices from the Field” is rich with insights and ideas in a dozen or so write ups from a wide variety of perspectives.

It should be noted that while this report was written with higher education in mind, many of the frameworks examined covered a wider breadth of grades. I don't think many would disagree that teaching these competencies must start in lower grades, so this dialogue is as germane to the K-12 world as it is to higher ed.

Selected Digital Literacy Frameworks

Here are a handful of frameworks from the report that struck a chord with me. If you are interested in or responsible for digital literacy in your school or classroom, these frameworks can offer guidance, ideas, and tools that can help to ensure throughness and breath new life into your work.

1. The Essential Elements of Digital Literacy by Doug Belshaw

I find the “8 C's” model logical and memorable. Belshaw's book can be purchased for as little or as much as wish to pay for it. Learn more here: https://gumroad.com/l/digilit.


Source: https://www.slideshare.net/dajbelshaw/the-essential-elements-of-digital-literacies-webinar

2. Digital Literacy Framework from British Columbia

This framework was developed by/for K-12 educators in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and the competencies in it are categorized by grade level. This still applies well to higher education (simply remove the grade levels – the college student should learn all of these competencies).

The framework starts with this definition: “Digital Literacy is the interest, attitude and ability of individuals to use digital technology and communication tools appropriately to access, manage, integrate, analyze and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, and create and communicate with others.”

This framework is published here:

It is also worth noting that this was one of just two frameworks noted in the study as covering all 6 of the dimensions defined by the NMC as essential to a Digital Learning Framework.

3. Developing Digital Literacies from JISC

This framework is built around these “7 Elements of Digital Literacy”:jisc-digital-literacy-7-elements

Source: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/full-guide/developing-digital-literacies

Explore the JISC model in full here:

4. Use, Understand, and Create: A Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools by Media Smarts

This is a nicely organized framework in terms of how it is laid out online. There are many lessons, organized by grade level and categorized using these 7 different categories:


Source: http://mdl4000.weebly.com/uploads/1/4/2/8/14281689/973408_2_orig.png

As with other frameworks here, while these may have been developed with K-12 in mind, I think it safe to say that these competencies should required of all higher education students. Some of the lessons offered here can be leveraged at that level, and others can be adopted to better fit higher ed.

This framework is published here:

5. Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education from the ACRL

While this framework could benefit from some creative graphics that illustrate and communicate its main tenets, it does have the benefit of being licensed under Creative Commons.

Here are the main concepts informing this framework. Each of these links to the applicable section of documented framework.

The full page for the ACRL framework is here:

So, have you used these or similar frameworks? Other educators would love to hear your observations, reflections, concerns, etc. Please don't hesitate to comment (below) and share!


  1. Thanks Kenji. It appears the link you sent refers to a framework for building digital capabilities in staff and faculty at universities, which is vital and the framework in interesting, but this differs from student-focused digital literacy efforts.


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