There are opportunities in every crisis. 

We're entering a new era as we transform learning and teaching with the power of digital literacy and online professional development

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The 8th Annual Summer Institute in Digital Literacy was offered fully-online July 19 - 24, 2020. More than 150 K-12 educators, librarians, and college faculty participated in this exciting initiative, coming from 30 states and 6 countries across 7 time zones. 

At the end of the week, you told us:

"It was a great model for what engaging online instruction can be like."

"I liked the broad spectrum of topics available."

"I loved how personal everything felt."

"I liked that the program itself modeled many of the practices that we were being encouraged to incorporate into our teaching practices."

"I liked connecting with a group of passionate, thoughtful, and caring educators from around the country/world. You really have created an amazing community with this program." 

"I was blown away by the comprehensive methods in a virtual setting."


"I liked the many options (workshops and conversations) that could be completed anytime or in real-time. This allows me to work through this material at my own pace and practice on my computer while learning."

"I appreciated the variety of ways to engage. I enjoyed flexible time for any time learning and found that to be more valuable than I expected."

"I felt encouraged to jump in and get creating. I appreciated the values of learning from everyone and acknowledging our humanity."

"Let me count the ways: meeting passionate, like-minded educators; learning new strategies and tools, but learning those tools within the context of a broader idea -- not just "here's a cool tool to use."

The Power of Digital Literacy & Online Learning  

Educators all around the world have been learning on the fly how to use the power of digital texts, tools, and technologies for "remote emergency instruction." There has never been a more urgent need to consider how online learning and teaching can be harnessed to support the needs of all learners across the lifespan. The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear: digital literacy, media literacy, and online learning are key dimensions of learning, in and out of school. 

The 8th Annual Summer Institute in Digital Literacy is the nation’s premier professional development program in digital literacy. The program is an intense, week-long multi-disciplinary gathering designed for K-12 educators and school leaders; higher education faculty and researchers; school, public and academic librarians; youth media and media literacy activists working in non-school contexts; and media professionals. Learn more about who attended the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy 2020.  

The program included rich content using inquiry learning principles to advance leadership in digital literacy.  Participants selected from among more than 30 synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences, with numerous opportunities for dialogue, sharing, and conversation. 


Rich Content

This program offers deep-dive learning experiences on a wide range of topics and issues related to digital literacy in the context of K-12 and higher education, librarianship, community, and democracy.  We explore topics including:


Literacy in a Digital Age

  • family literacies that connect culture and classroom

  • ​lessons learned from emergency remote instruction as a result of COVID-19

  • integrating inquiry learning practices into instruction

  • strategies for scaffolding students' independent learning 

  • online reading comprehension strategies

  • digital writing and multimedia composition pedagogies


Responses to Cultural and Technological Change

  • balancing synchronous and asynchronous online learning

  • best practices in online learning in K-12 and higher education

  • strategies for promoting empathy, mindfulness, and relaxation 

  • the role of popular culture & digital media in the lives of children and teens

  • creative media production as a form of inquiry learning


Literacy, Education and Democracy

  • addressing digital inequalities in education and society

  • analyzing contemporary propaganda and disinformation

  • civic agency and empowerment

  • curation and collaboration 

  • algorithmically personalized search, persuasion & entertainment 

  • unexpected implications of digital media on the democratic process.



Teacher, researcher, activist and media maker with a passion for digital and media literacy


Internationally recognized expert on inquiry in digital literacy & online reading comprehension




Dr. Tisha Lewis Ellison is an Associate Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at The University of Georgia. Her research explores the intersections of family literacy, multimodality, and digital and STEM literacy practices among African American and Latinx families and adolescents. Dr. Lewis Ellison has been the recipient of the Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Academy of Education, the Early Career Achievement and J Michael Parker awards from the Literacy Research Association, and the Promising Researcher Award from the National Council of Teachers of English. Her numerous grants and research studies are advancing the field of families’ digital literacies and STEM literacies across lifespans, in homes and community settings, and in ways that inform parents, adolescents, and teachers. Her work has appeared in the selected peer reviewed journals: Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, Journal of Literacy Research, Written Communication, and Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.




Joyce Valenza