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July 11 - 16, 2021


We have entered a new era as we transform learning and teaching with the power of digital literacy and online professional development

2021 Keynote Speaker

Amber Coleman-Mortley is the Director of Social Engagement at iCivics where she recruits teacher influencers; elevates diverse voices and perspectives within the civic education space; and manages the Youth Fellowship. She holds a B.A. in African American Studies from Oberlin College and an M.A. from American University in Media Entrepreneurship. A decorated three-sport varsity athlete, Amber continued her athletic passion as a P.E./Health teacher and varsity head coach at Sidwell Friends School for nine years. Amber covers civics, K12 education, edtech, and family life at MomOfAllCapes and on her podcast with her daughters, LetsK12Better. She has been featured in the LA Times, NY Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, and a variety of other broadcast, podcast, and online media outlets. 

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Keynote Speaker

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 9th 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 includes rich content using inquiry learning principles to advance leadership in digital literacy.  Participants select from among more than 30 synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences, with numerous opportunities for dialogue, sharing, and conversation. 

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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.

Program Overview

Flexible Format, Anytime and Real Time

This program offers a dynamic mix of ANYTIME and REAL TIME learning. The terms “synchronous” and “asynchronous” refer to the role of time in the learning process and have been around for more than 40 years. Synchronous learning happens during a shared time period. Asynchronous learning takes place at different times, at the initiative of the learner. But these terms can be confusing, difficult and hard to understand. During the pandemic, educators at the Media Education Lab recognized the need to think in new ways about how time and space work together for digital learning. A combination of Anytime and Real Time activities provide participants with the support they need and also encourage their capacities as independent, self-directed learners.


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The Summer Institute in Digital Literacy is fully-accredited. It was formally recognized in the 2017 National Education Technology Plan Update from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. 

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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

Featured Experts





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