On this page, we review three frameworks that will support your work this week.

Framework #1: Digital and Media Literacy

In expanding the concept of literacy to include all the ways that humans share meaning through the use of symbols, we recognize these cross-cutting core practices:
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ACCESS: Using digital tools, generating keyword search practices, listening and reading comprehension. These competencies are all about finding, using and understanding ideas and information.
ANALYZE: Comparing and contrasting, evaluating message quality, recognizing purpose, point of view and stereotypes, all while considering the context and the meaning of messages. These competencies are all about asking critical questions.
CREATE: Brainstorming, collaborating, discovering a purpose and a point of view and developing ways to attract and hold audience attention through creative design of language, image, sound, and multimedia. These competencies are all about the creative and collaborative practices of composition.
REFLECT: Considering the impact and consequences of texts, tools, technologies and messages on individuals and society. Reflecting on the interpretive process and the differences that occur in meaning-making. These competencies are all about taking time to step back, think and wonder.
ACT: Being a responsible communicator and citizen, respecting laws and acting ethically and with integrity. These competencies are all about using the power of communication and information to make a difference in the world.

Framework #2: Digital Literacy Curriculum Framework

Many educators benefit from the chance to be strategic and reflective in developing curriculum that supports digital literacy education. We're exploring the use of this Digital Literacy Curriculum (DLC) Framework (which we sometimes call the "Flower Model.") It's a systematic approach to curriculum development that includes these elements:

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1. CONTEXT: Start by reflecting deeply on the needs of the learner, considering the context, community and your own values and priorities as an educator. Teaching and learning are social practices that are situational and contextual.

2. PURPOSE: Identify the learning outcomes, standards or goals of your curriculum.

3. CONTENT: What resources will you use? How will you use print, visual, sound or digital media texts and tools?

4. PEDAGOGY: What instructional practices will shape what happens during the learning process?

5. ASSESSMENT: What work products will students create? What criteria will be used to assess student learning?

6. TASK or ACTIVITY: What compelling question or scenario will you use to connect your learning tasks to the real world? This component emerges as a creative idea but gets refined and developed by considering the other five elements of the model.

Organizer for drafting your Digital Literacy Instructional Plan

Framework #3: Project-Based Inquiry (PBI)

PBI is a process for posing and responding to questions. At the heart of the PBI process is inquiry. The PBI model we are featuring in the Institute focuses on questioning, gathering information, creatively synthesizing information, evaluating, and finally sharing their product of learning. (Adapted from Spires, et al., 2009).

PBI Model

The starting point is developing a compelling question. So, what makes a question a good question?

Our ideas..
  • A good question inspires students to think more and give them the responsibility to solve the problem.
  • A good question assimilates new perspectives and recognizes the multiplicity of possible responses.
  • A good question addresses issues that stimulate students' curiosity in ways that matter to them.
  • A good question encourages students to interact directly with one another.
  • The question might be shaped by a series of "I wonder..." statements generated by students.
  • The question should not have an immediate answer.
  • The question should be imaginative and leave room for creativity.

Why use PBI?

The aim of the project-based approach is to provide the opportunity for students to engage in what Newman, Bryck, and Nagaoka (2001) describe as authentic intellectual work. They describe the distinctive characteristics of authentic intellectual work as the “construction of knowledge through disciplined inquiry in order to produce products that have value beyond school” (p. 14). Through a focus on authentic intellectual work, we aim to engage students in learning opportunities that connect to their world. Likewise, elements of project-based inquiry possess what John Dewey referred to as productive inquiry, which is "that aspect of any activity where we are deliberately (although not always consciously) seeking what we need in order to do what we want to do” (Cook and Brown, 2005, p. 62). Our aims are to engage students in intellectual work that has depth, duration, and complexity, and to challenge and motivate students toward knowledge creation that is creative and innovative.

Spires, H., Lee, J., Young, C., Leu, D., Coiro, J., & Castek, J. (2009). New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University. Retrieved from newlitinstitute.wikispaces.com/New+Literacies+Inquiry+Project.

Connections Between the Frameworks

  • Project-Based Inquiry (PBI) provides a useful instructional context to help students develop digital literacies as well as use digital media texts, tools, and technologies to learn challenging content (e.g., science, math, language, history, etc.).
  • Digital and Media Literacy is an expanded conceptualization of literacy that includes attention to how we use, consume and create messages in many forms. It emphasizes the practices of reflection and action in order to put "new literacy" practices in a larger social and political context.
  • The Digital Literacy Curriculum (DLC) Framework is a tool for curriculum development, helping educators design learning environments by considering aspects of our specific context, purpose, content, pedagogy, and assessment, and discouraging a merely "tool-focused" approach to technology integration.

During the Institute you will be using PBI as the primary pedagogical approach for the plan you will develop. You will use the Digital Literacy Curriculum Framework to help you consider how intentional learning objectives, meaningful content, effective pedagogy, and authentic assessment fit together to support digital literacy learning. Finally, we will consider how an expanded conceptualization of literacy -- with its focus on reflection and action-- helps learners develop intellectual curiosity that connects the classroom to the culture.


This week you will be conducting a project-based inquiry (PBI) process to create an instructional plan in which you engage your students in a content-based project-based inquiry themselves. Along with creating a PBI Instructional Plan, you will also create:

1. A Pre-Production Plan that helps the reader visualize your project before you create it.

2. TWO digital products: one product that will assist and enhance the teaching of content in your instructional plan and a second that represents a model or example of the type of digital product your students might create as a part of your instructional plan.

3. A Post-Production Reflection where you orally describe the creative process, what you learned about yourself, and how you will implement this project in your own setting.

Scaffolds and Resources To Support Your Work

1. A light scaffold to support the inquiry process using our Design Studio Approach.

2. A more specific scaffold to support your inquiry this week and the design of your Instructional Plan for the Design Studio Showcase.

3. A more specific scaffold to support the design of your Pre-Production Plan.

4. A set of broadly defined guidelines to inform the design of your two digital products (one for teaching and one as a product of student learning).

Additional Readings

(For more, explore the graduate student readings and reflections page)