Digital Learning for the K-8 Classroom | Teachers College Columbia University

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Continuing Professional Studies

Continuing Professional Studies

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Digital Learning for the K-8 Classroom

Ongoing Enrollment

May 1, 2017 - May 1, 2017

This course is offered in an online, self-paced format. Students are invited to enroll any time.

This four-module online professional development course prepares K-8 teachers to cultivate their students’ digital literacies and 21st century skills. Participants in this course will familiarize themselves with the practical and theoretical knowledge needed to establish digital literacy skills in themselves and their students through lesson activities and curriculum development. They will also learn how to critically evaluate modern digital tools and technologies, as well as how to assess digital literacies in the classroom. Throughout the course, participants will pursue self-inquiry in order to advance their pedagogical skills and knowledge to engage and foster students in becoming digital citizens and deepen their understanding of what it means to be literate in the digital age.

Digital Learning for the K-8 Classroom was developed in partnership with award-winning educator, Detra Price-Dennis and top professional development platform Teach Away, with the aim of delivering online digital literacy training that helps K-8 educators maximize student learning outcomes in the classroom.

Any attendee who is taking this course for CTLE credit for NY State must enter their name exactly as it appears on the TEACH website in accordance with NYSED requirements.


On completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Shift their teaching practice with theoretical knowledge and practical ideas to directly impact students’ development of digital literacies.
  • Develop strategies for selecting pedagogically and content-driven digital tools and technology.
  • Establish methods to build curriculum and assessments for innovative teaching that enhances and evaluate the various skills involved in advancing digital literacies.

Module 1: Why do digital literacies matter?

On completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate how literacy, learning, and pedagogical approaches are changing as a result of technological innovations.
  • Explain why digital literacies matter for 21st century learning.
  • Summarize learning theories and make connections to digital literacies/learning in the classroom.
  • Develop a line of inquiry to sustain pedagogy and interest in digital learning across the academic year.

Module 2: How are teachers incorporating digital tools into the classroom?

On completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the affordances of educational tools and technology that promotes inquiry, collaboration, accessibility, multimodal production and the curation of student learning.
  • Explore the purpose and application of digital tools, app and platforms that can support the tents of 21st century teaching and learning.
  • Identify digital tools, apps and platforms that you can incorporate in the classroom.

Module 3: How do I develop curriculum with digital tools?

On completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  • Examine theoretical frameworks that help identify areas in your practice and existing curricula to integrate digital tools and technology.
  • Analyze traditional teaching practices and strategies for opportunities to foster digital literacies in the classroom.
  • Develop lesson plans that incorporate digital tools to foster creativity, position students as producers of digital content and support collaborative learning.
  • Understand various ways teaching practices can develop the skills required for your students to be an active participant in today’s globalized digital community.

Module 4: How do I assess student learning in digital spaces?

On completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  • Design a plan for assessing any student learning that takes place using digital tools and technologies.
  • Explore the purpose, application and assessment of digital tools, apps and platforms that can support the tenets of 21st century teaching and learning.
  • Advance curriculum development and teaching in the classroom.

Detra Price-Dennis

Detra Price-Dennis is an Assistant Professor in Elementary Inclusive Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. As a teacher educator, Price-Dennis focuses her work on transformative literacy pedagogies that seek to create and sustain equitable learning environments for all students. She is interested in the sociopolitical and sociocultural aspects of literacy learning and engagement among middle childhood students, as well as teacher preparation. Her research interests also include critical perspectives on children’s and young adult literature. Most recently, Price-Dennis received the American Educational Research Association’s Division K Early Career Award for her research record and contribution to the field of teaching and teacher education.

Teach Away is a careers and professional development platform for education professionals. Teach Away is committed to ensuring students are learning from the best educators worldwide, and aims to achieve this through commitment to quality hiring and world-class teacher development. Teach Away envisions a world where every student experiences the power of a great teacher - allowing them to reach their full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Digital Learning for the K-8 Classroom course

1. What is digital learning vs digital literacy?

Digital literacy is the complete set of skills necessary for individuals to participate in digital spaces, and to fully harness and make meaningful use of the affordances of technology in the form of smartphones, computers, laptops, etc. Digital learning is learning that is facilitated by the direct or indirect use of technology or digital tools. The implementation of digital learning in a classroom is crucial to developing digital literacies as well as digitally literate people.

2. How theory based is this course?

We recognize that understanding theory is not what makes a good teacher so the focus of the course is on analyzing, critiquing and creating practical strategies and activities that you can implement in your classroom straight away. However, developing an inquiry into your practice requires an understanding of major teaching and learning theories, therefore certain elements of the course are based on theory and research.

3. What will I learn about digital tools after taking this course?

You will learn how to assess digital tools in order to choose the tool that best suits your pedagogical style and the content at hand.

4. How does this course differ from other digital literacy courses on offer?

This course was designed by educators, for educators. It was also peer-reviewed by education experts at Teachers College, Columbia University. Many courses that promote digital literacy are designed by technology experts and can lack a focus on its application to teaching practices.

5. What will I learn about technology?

As with digital tools, you will learn to consider the affordances of technology at your disposal, the placement of this technology in the learning. You will also be tasked with developing work using a variety of tools and technology allowing you to get to know them first hand so you can apply your newfound knowledge straight into your practice.

6. My technological skills are not advanced at all, can I still take this course?

You will be required to access the course through an internet connection, beyond that, we’ll encourage and support you to try new tools and technology to enhance your digital practice! If that makes you nervous, consider that the feelings/thoughts you will experience will be what your students face when trying new tools and technology - that alone will enhance your practice.

7. Can I connect with other educators taking this course?

Yes! Course participants will be invited to join a teacher community where they can post/share assignments, lesson plans, ideas and content (PDF, jpeg, etc.) There is also a course hashtag - #TCDigitalLiteracy - where learners can connect with each other on social.

8. What are the prerequisites to enroll?

None. Participants are not required to hold a Bachelor’s degree or teaching license in order to enroll.

9. What prior knowledge do I need to have before starting this course?

You need to have a love for education and a desire to educate yourself and others in becoming digital citizens.

10. Is the course open to international students?

Absolutely! The course can be taken from anywhere in the world.

11. Can I enroll if I’m not a licensed teacher?

Yes, you do not have to be a licensed teacher to take this course. This course has been designed for all educators at any point in their career.

12. What technology/software programs do I need to install when taking the course?

A word processor is required when taking the course as you will need to download materials and submit assignments.

13. What platforms does the course work on?

The course is compatible with most electronic devices. While the recommended device is a laptop or desktop, the course can be accessed via a browser on most smartphones and tablets.

14. Are books or materials required?

No. Books and physical materials are not required for the course. All materials needed to complete the course will be available online through the course platform.

15. How is the course assessed?

The course is assessed through a variety of formative and summative activities. For each module, you will be required to submit stages of your inquiry on Digital Literacy, as well as an ‘action’ piece created using some of the tools and technology you may choose to implement in your classroom.

16. Are there any physical classes or seminars to attend for this course?

No. There are no in-class components to the course.

17. Does this course qualify for continuing education credits?

The course awards 3 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) and 30 CTLEs (Continuing Teacher and Leader Education).

18. Does this course count towards my required professional development hours or recertification of my teaching license?

We advise you to check with your district and state licensure requirements as the certificate may satisfy these requirements.

19. How do I purchase the course?

Participants can purchase the course here.

20. How much does the course cost?

$595 USD.

21. How long to do I have to complete the course?

You will have one year from the date of purchase to complete the course.

22. What are the available payment methods?

Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Paypal are all accepted as methods of payment.

23. Can I pay in installments?

Payment for the course is due in full upon registration and payment plans are not available.

24. Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is not available.

25. What is the refund policy?

This course is non-refundable. Please make sure that a course is approved by your governing body for any professional development requirements before purchasing.

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