Having strong digital literacy skills is slowly becoming an essential component of today’s world. The Internet and digital technologies have had an impact on society that cannot be ignored, and the attitude that it’s too difficult, too time consuming, or not worth it to learn digital literacy skills is no longer accepted. Digital skills need to be learned, and it follows then, that they need to be taught. Whether you are the teach or the student, we’re here to help you.
In this article, we’re going to explain the different types of resources that are available to you, and give you a comprehensive list of what we believe to be the best resources out there. From introductory articles, to interactive games, to digital literacy communities, and more – we’re here to help you find the best resources for your needs, and hopefully, help you increase your technology skills.
Check out our list below of 32 of the best digital literacy websites, and remember that we are highlighting only websites that are 100% free to use!
What it is: Stand alone articles that can be a great introduction to many of the topics related to digital literacy, including what it is, how to teach it, and how it can impact your life.
Best for: When you’re just getting started in your understanding of digital literacy, or you simply want to learn more about it.
MediaSmarts – “Digital Literacy Fundamentals”
This article examines the umbrella of digital literacy, and all of the aspects, principles, skills, and competencies related to it, especially the relationship between digital literacy and becoming a digital citizen.
Edutopia – “Digital Literacy is the Bedrock for Lifelong Learning”
This article is about how learning computer literacy skills helps you on your path to the lifelong learning of other skills, and is an opening for you to engage with other ideas, and bridge the digital divide.
TechBoomers – “Importance of Digital Literacy: 13 Ways It Can Improve Lives”
An article about why learning digital skills is so important, and a list of 13 ways that learning technology can improve your life, such as saving you time, money, helping you stay safe, and understanding how your digital actions impact your life when you get off the Internet.
Educause – “From Written to Digital: The New Literacy”
An article about how digital literacy is the key to success in the modern world, and is becoming equally as important to learn as literacy, which up until recently, was the standard key to success. It also highlights additional skills that digital literacy provides that traditional literacy does not.
informED – “20 Things Educators Need to Know About Teaching Digital Literacy Skills”
This article breaks its points down in easy lists, such as “5 teaching practices that destroy digital literacy” and “15 habits to cultivate in your studies,” which can really help if you are trying to teach technology to students.
BBC Webwise – A Collection of Articles on Digital Skills
Brought to you by the world famous British Broadcasting Corporation, this website contains a collection of articles on various computer literacy topics to help you learn, and increase your basic knowledge of technology.
GetSafeOnline – A Collection of Articles on Digital and Internet Safety
A collection of digital literacy articles you can easily browse, that focus on Internet and digital safety topics specifically. If you’re concerned about brushing up on safety, start here!
What it is: Websites that provide you with structured learning, generally separated into sections based on topic or theme. As you progress through a topic, your knowledge will increase. At the end, usually some form of verification of your completion will be provided, so you can keep track of your progress.
Best for: When you want to follow a more traditional learning style for improving your digital literacy, or need inspiration for creating your own course.
TechBoomers.com – Free courses for popular websites and apps
TechBoomers has over 100 free online courses available for use in any format, including personal, or for classroom use. From social, online shopping, e-learning, communication, online dating, basic Internet safety, and so much more, you can learn everything you need to about the most popular online websites and apps, and how to keep yourself safe online.
GCFLearnFree.org – Free online learning
GCFLearnFree is another free online website to help you learn many basic skills, including courses on computer and Internet skills, typing, technology, Microsoft Office, and more. Simply search for a topic and work through an online tutorial as you learn.
DigitalLiteracyAssessment.org – Discover how proficient you are
The Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment is a great way to see what level you are currently at if you aren’t a beginner. You can also work through modules, starting wherever you like, to improve your basic skills for computers, the Internet, Windows, Mac, email, social media, and more.
Intel Education – Learn the basics of computers and how to use them
From Intel, the creators of some of the world’s best computer processors, comes a series of introductory modules regarding computers and operating systems, the Internet, word processors, multimedia, and more! If you’re just getting your first computer, this may be a good place to start!
Coursera – Online learning for any topic, including digital literacy
Coursera is an amazing online resource with free (and some paid) online courses that you can enrol in to learn about almost any topic. If you’ve already got basic computer skills down, some great courses you may want to check out include Information & Digital Literacy for University Success, and News Literacy Lessons for Digital Citizens. If you want to learn more about how Coursera works and how to use it, check out the TechBoomers course on using Coursera.
LearnMyWay – Introductory modules for using the Internet
Browse through topics such as “Using your computer or device,” “Online safety,” “Finding a job online,” and “Managing your money online.” With LearnMyWay, not only are you getting basic Internet skills, but you’re getting lessons on topics that will help you significantly, such as online money management or finding employment.
What it is: Lessons in the form of a game that you play along with to learn digital literacy skills.
Best for: When instructing children, or when learning a specific skill such as keyboard or mouse skills.
Media Smarts – Digital Learning games for children
Media Smarts has not one, but many online educational games targeted at younger audience, that can teach a variety of lessons about the digital world, including the ability to recognize bias or propaganda online, recognize marketing techniques on websites, understanding privacy policies, and so much more. This not-for-profit charitable organization is an excellent resource, especially for teaching children about so many important topics related to Internet use.
Common Sense Media’s “Digital Compass” – A game to teach children about how their digital lives impact their real lives
Rather than focussing on simple computer skills, “Digital Compass” makes the impact of a child’s digital footprint apparent to them, so they understand how their decisions made online affect their real lives. This is such an important lesson for young beginner Internet users to learn, so if you have a child or are teaching one, be sure to check this online game out.
The Carnegie Cyber Academy – For children to become “cyber cadets” and defeat cyber villains
If you want to jump head first into a game with compelling animation and a great story that also helps teach children about Internet safety, then The Carnegie Cyber Academy is for you! Earn badges for your efforts as you explore a world of Internet danger, learning how to apply these skills on real-life websites.
e-Learning for Kids – Computer skills curriculum that is set in game-style with child-appropriate animations
e-Learning for Kids is more of a course-style curriculum than a game, however, it’s animated lessons are great for younger children, especially those who are just beginning with basic computer skills, including typing, Microsoft Office, and Internet safety.
PBS Kids – Webonauts Internet Academy
An Internet-based Academy that students can ‘graduate’ from once they have learned many skills throughout the game, including proper online etiquette, treating others online with respect, how to stay safe and protect your identity, and how to be a good digital citizen.
ByteBack – Typing Tutorial
This typing tutorial is incredibly easy to use, and teaching typing skills from the very most basic, to the most advanced. It tells you your accuracy and speed after each lesson, and you can use it as many times as you want, for free. Try doing one tutorial each day to improve your typing skills over time!
GCFLearnFree – Mouse Exercises
This is one of the most comprehensive mouse tutorials we’ve seen! Learn how to properly hold a mouse, click, and drag-and-drop with precision. Choose any one lesson, or complete them all in order to become an instant pro with your mouse.
What it is: Websites with information on how to teach digital literacy lessons, how to create a curriculum, or ready-to-go courses to help you save time planning your lessons.
Best for: When you’re an instructor, and need to create courses that teach how to use technology to your students.
Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum – Lessons on various topics of digital literacy
Its own set of learning modules, Microsoft’s lessons can easily be used as a baseline for your own curriculum. When completed, you get notes from lessons and plans, which would help you build your own lesson. You can also use it directly as the lesson for your students, and get a certificate of completion for them at the end.
TechBoomers.com – Courses, guides, and articles that are free for your use, in any manner, under creative commons license
Because of our Creative Commons License, you can use TechBoomers for whatever you want, making it incredibly easy to use in a classroom setting as a lesson, or use as a base to develop your own curriculum. If you want to see how this works in action, check out this story about a library using TechBoomers to run in-person Internet skills training sessions as part of a digital literacy program, or click to learn more about becoming a TechBoomers partner.
Common Sense Education – Dozens of online guides, toolkits, lessons, and helpful tips for educators
A comprehensive online resource with lesson plans, helpful hints, proven teaching strategies, professional development resources, games for students, interactive lessons, and more to help you develop your own lessons, and deliver your content in a meaningful and engaging way.
South West Grid for Learning – Curricula for a variety of digital literacy and citizenship topics
With dozens of online lessons, sorted into topics as well as the ages that they target, this curriculum covers a variety of skills including privacy, safety, sending emails, following your digital trail, creating strong passwords, cyberbulling, and so much more. Though targeted more at an elementary school to high school audience, the materials available on this site are an incredible resource for developing any curriculum.
JISC Digital Literacy Organizational Review – A complete lesson that can be used to reflect on digital literacy topics
The JISC Digital Literacy Organization Review is a lesson you can use in many environments to help teach a variety of digital literacy skills and topics. It comes complete with a structured order for your lesson, including ice breakers for your group, and forms for them to fill out to answer questions. This lesson plan is probably best used for an informal, introductory lesson for adults.
What it is: Groups or projects that exist, often funded by governments or non-profits, that exist to try to expand the resources available for learning about or teaching digital literacy.
Best for: When you’re looking to take further action, especially with charitable or political goals in mind.
An Obama Administration initiative, the Digital Literacy Portal is an expansive online resource to help those who aim to teach digital skills, either as part of their jobs, or through community initiatives. With conveniently organized content that’s easy to access, and powerful partners such as the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Labor, and more, DigitalLiteracy.gov is a great starting point.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA)
The NDIA is one of the pre-eminent organizations promoting the advancement of digital inclusion. Their mantra is that digital technologies and communications should be available to all people, and they work to make these technologies more readily available. They work to change public policy, to ensure change actually happens, and digital technologies can become more inclusive to all.
Digital Literacy for All Learners (DL4ALL Project)
The DL4ALL Project uses a lot of public engagement to help teach about digital technologies using an approach they call “Demystifying Technology,” which provides the informed use of technologies in the community. They believe that teaching these skills to everyone will improve creative works in the community, and counter the negative impacts that digital technologies can sometimes have when used improperly.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ConnectHome Initiative
A collaboration between the Federal Government, the private sector, and individual communities, the ConnectHome Initiative aims to bring affordable Internet access, electronic devices to access the Internet, and computer literacy instruction programs into low-income homes that otherwise couldn’t afford it. This initiative was carefully tested with surveys throughout its implementation, and has provided some much-needed data on how helpful these initiatives can be.
TechSoup is an organization that helps with digital learning in a variety of ways – not just by providing information, but by offering discounted devices, software, hardware, services, and in-person training. Their extensive knowledge and global reach is an excellent resource to reach out to, or to try to participate in if you’re looking to do your own form of outreach!
Digital Unite has a variety of resources including lessons on basic technology skills, and tutors that can come to your home to teach you computer skills one-on-one (if you live in the UK). Digital Unite aims to teach these skills to those in organizations, charities, businesses, communities, and more.
Technology Literacy Collaborative
With many curricula for digital literacy available, the Technology Literacy Collaborative aims to share best digital literacy teaching practices, advocate for access to digital technologies, and promote collaboration between organizations that help spread technology literacy throughout communities all over the world.
If you’re looking for more, check out Partners Bridging the Digital Divide, who has a great list of additional resources you could make use of. We think their list is great, and mention many of the same resources in this article!
The impact that digital technologies has had on our world is not something that can ignored anymore. And whether you are teacher or student, these resources for teaching digital literacy should come in handy – no matter what age you are or are teaching. If you’re interested in this topic, you’re probably trying to actively learn digital skills yourself, or teach them to others, which is a great way to bridge the digital divide. Keep up the great work!
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