JUST RELEASED – DigLitCon Agenda is Now Live!

Big News! The Digital Literacy Conference agenda has just been released! In it, you’ll find an assortment of engaging sessions on many of the most important aspects of digital literacy. Each session is also being led by one of your peers, offering you an unmatched opportunity to learn from their experiences and harness their insights as you strive to teach visual literacy, media literacy, digital citizenship, and so much more.

Regardless of what grade level or subject you teach, the Digital Literacy Conference has a session or two geared toward your professional growth. Check out of these session previews below for a taste of everything you have to look forward to at #DigLitCon!

Learning from the Best and Brightest

During this one-day virtual event, you’re sure to see and hear from some familiar names in the national and statewide edtech community. Here are just a couple of those presenters, each of which will offer #DigLitCon attendees new and interesting perspectives on several key facets of teaching digital literacy:

Dr. Kristen Mattson

Author of both Ethics in a Digital World and Digital Citizenship in Action, Dr. Kristen Mattson has become a nationally-recognized voice on all topics relating to digital citizenship and digital ethics. Dr. Mattson has previously presented at ISTE and will offer #DigLitCon attendees the chance to learn from her in three engaging sessions:

  • Get the Picture! Using Images for Digital Citizenship Conversations
  • Cut the CRAAP and Embrace Lateral Reading
  • Information Literacy in the Age of Fake News 

David Jakes

David Jakes of David Jakes Designs LLC has made it his mission to help educational institutions large and small strive toward creating lasting, impactful change in their teaching mindsets and learning environments. Through his work with schools across the nation, Jakes has become a driving force in understanding what works – both at a structural and practical level – when it comes to engaging today’s learners.

At #DigLitCon, attendees will have a chance to tune into “Transliteracy: Exploring New Dimensions in Digital Literacy.” In this session, Jakes will guide participants through the modern meaning of “literacy” and the many ways today’s students will need more than traditional reading and writing skills to remain “literate.” Jakes will also outline several ways schools can plan for and implement transliteracy to reshape students’ day-to-day learning experiences.

Focusing on the Big Questions

Digital literacy is gaining prominence in many schools as educators shift their focus toward the skills students need to be successful beyond the classroom. #DigLitCon will continue many of those important conversations and start a few new ones by focusing on some of these big-picture questions:

Should Teachers Disclose Their Opinions? 

Presented by Mary Ellen Daneels from DuPage ROE 19, this session will highlight the enduring reality that all educators today are civics teachers with the capacity to influence young people’s thoughts on justice, power, and equity. Participants will learn more about the process of sharing one’s opinion with middle and high school students, as well as some best practices for engaging those students in civic, purpose-driven debates about the issues that matter to them.

Where to Start with Teaching Digital Literacy?

Many educators today are wondering just that – “what are the first steps to teaching digital literacy in the classroom?” The LTC’s Nicole Zumpano will walk you through this initial phase and highlight a variety of useful resources that can make this imposing task more manageable. Participants will also learn to create their own digital literacy resources designed specifically with their students, subjects, and grade levels in mind.

Digital Safety for Littles

By age eight, some 90% of children will have experience using the internet. With that in mind, educators need to start instilling practical internet safety skills in their students at a young age. This session, led by Lesley Grady from Central School District 104, will help today’s educators identify the most important habits of safe internet navigator, with a focus on helping K-4 students engage with social media, password protection, oversharing, cyberbullying, and more.

Strands Across Digital Literacy 

The Digital Literacy Conference will also feature sessions spread across nine distinct strands, each of which will dive deep into a different aspect of fully-fledged digital literacy. Feel free to tune into every session in a particular strand or plan out your full day of digital attendance to take advantage of the conference’s post-event video recording library (which will include every session from every strand):

  • Information & News Literacy
  • Computer Literacy
  • Visual Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Digital Communication
  • Ethical Uses of Digital Resources
  • Digital Tattoos
  • Digital Citizenship
  • General

You can read more about all of these strands and their respective sessions over on the #DigLitCon homepage.

Register Today for #DigLitCon!

The Digital Literacy Conference is coming up on June 4, 2021, and we hope you’ll join this unique opportunity to dig deep into one of education’s most relevant topics. Register today over on the #DigLitCon homepage and take your first step toward harnessing digital literacy’s full potential.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Digital Literacy Conference, you can also do so in another recent blog post.

Stay Tuned for More Updates from #DigLitCon

To keep up with the latest on the Digital Literacy Conference, follow the LTC on social media (@ltcillinois on Twitter and Facebook) or subscribe to our monthly newsletter. More information on the conference can also be found on the #DigLitCon homepage.

Charting a New Frontier in Literacy at #DigLitCon

Digital literacy has been on the tip of the tongue for many educators over the past several years. More and more schools are now placing a renewed emphasis on their students’ ability to find, evaluate, and compose information through digital mediums.

As such, there’s a growing need in Illinois’ education community for reliable, up-to-date digital literacy pedagogy. This summer, the Learning Technology Center (LTC) will take an important step forward toward filling that need by hosting the Digital Literacy Conference.

This one-day virtual event will bring together educators, administrators, and library media specialists from around the state to discuss the best ways to integrate digital literacy content into all classrooms. Sessions at the Digital Literacy Conference will center around several key competencies within digital literacy, ranging from visual and media literacy to digital resource ethics.

There are even more great reasons to attend the Digital Literacy Conference on June 4, 2021. Here are just a few of those reasons, as highlighted by #DigLitCon’s hard-working planning team.

A Focus on a Timely Topic

Even before the majority of instruction shifted online last year, many educators were already discussing how their students were learning to take in and interpret digital content. The Digital Literacy Conference will continue many of those discussions and elevate them to the next level, according to the LTC’s Director of Professional Learning, Brian Bates.

Bates says, “The Digital Literacy Conference will be an opportunity for educators to sit down with their peers and discuss what’s working in digital literacy education. That way, more educators can begin to see not only the importance of teaching digital literacy, but reliable methods for making it a part of their instructional practices as well.”

Bates also says that the Digital Literacy Conference will be a refreshing opportunity to look at how students interact with and utilize their digital resources, now that digital learning has become a norm in many classrooms.

“In many ways, digital literacy has to be a counterpart to other pushes to get tech into students’ hands. The Digital Literacy Conference will hopefully open the door to look at that other side and give educators a chance to see the soft skills students need to succeed in a digital learning environment.”

Literacy for School and Beyond

With its unique combination of content analysis and digital stewardship, digital literacy can be a major asset for students as they strive toward self-guided learning.

But as Bates points out, teaching digital literacy is about more than preparing students for future academic pursuits. Fully-fledged digital literacy can also help students thrive in their digital interactions outside the classroom.

“Every kid growing up today lives in a world of technology,” Bates explained, “in their free time, they’ll be asked to make decisions about what to believe on social media. Their future jobs will require them to not just use technology, but harness it to its full potential. Those reasons point to a need to raise digitally literate students who are ready to take on the digital world they live in.”

Bates also emphasized that digital literacy skills can help students navigate choppy digital waters on their own, outside the comfortable confines of a school-based learning environment.

“Young people today will eventually make decisions about their health, where to live, and what to believe based upon what they read and see online. Nurturing those critical skills now can help them rise to those challenges once they’ve left our classrooms.”

A Place in Every Classroom

When many teachers hear “digital literacy,” they might assume that it falls under the purview of library media specialists or English language arts teachers, along with other more traditional forms of literacy. But as the Digital Literacy Conference will strive to demonstrate, digital literacy can be learned – and applied – in nearly every classroom and at numerous grade levels.

“Interpreting graphs, analyzing imagery, and comparing news sources – these are all digital literacy skills in waiting,” says the LTC’s Nicole Zumpano, a nationally-recognized voice on digital citizenship, “once we recognize that students have a chance to hone their digital learning skills in various learning environments, we can begin to think more broadly about how those skills give students the tools to navigate a problem – regardless of its content.”

Zumpano also says that today’s educational standards point to the need for wide-ranging digital literacy learning, just as those standards call for traditional literacy learning across all subject areas.

“It’s not a coincidence that Common Core standards emphasize reading and writing proficiency in a variety of content areas. That same need to foster broadly-applicable communication skills apply to digital domains as well. Well-rounded students need to be able to interpret and talk about what they are learning online, and digital literacy skills give them the power to do that.”

Exciting Sessions Across 9 Strands

In order to bring this timely and widely-applicable subject to life, the Digital Literacy Conference will offer participants the chance to attend a full slate of insightful sessions. These sessions will be grouped into nine distinct strands, each focused on different digital literacy competencies.

One session many educators will find interesting is “Can Your Students Spot Falsehoods? Practical Lessons on Web Analysis?” Presented by Mia Gutsell, an Instructional Design Coach and Social Science Teacher with Bensenville School District 2, this session will demonstrate practical ways students can differentiate fact from fiction when reading online sources. Free lesson templates will also be provided so that teachers can put what they’ve learned into immediate action.

Another session worth bookmarking is “Not as Boring as it Sounds: G Suite Tools & Copyright Compliance”. In this session, presenter Renee Bogacz, an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher in Channahon School District 17, will dig into the best ways teachers and students can ethically utilize content they find online. Along the way, participants will learn about copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons licensing, as well as how all three can be properly managed using an assortment of readily-available Google Workplace for Education tools.

These are just a couple of the exciting sessions the Digital Literacy Conference has in store for you. Be sure to keep an eye on the #DigLitCon homepage for further announcements about the full conference schedule in early April.

Reserve your Spot Today!

The Digital Literacy Conference is on its way, and we hope you’ll join this unique opportunity to dig deep into one of education’s most relevant topics. Register today over on the #DigLitCon homepage and take your first step toward harnessing digital literacy’s full potential.

Stay Tuned for More Updates from #DigLitCon

To keep up with the latest on the Digital Literacy Conference, including the upcoming conference schedule announcement in early April, follow the LTC on social media (@ltcillinois on Twitter and Facebook) or subscribe to our monthly newsletter. More information on the conference can also be found on the #DigLitCon homepage.

Digital Literacy Conference Registration Now Open!

Exciting news! The Digital Literacy Conference is now open for registration. This one-day gathering of educators from around Illinois will offer teachers, administrators, library media specialists, and more an opportunity to engage with one of education’s most relevant topics – digital literacy – in all of its forms.

Interested in attending? Taking part in the Digital Literacy Conference’s numerous informative sessions couldn’t be easier. This fully virtual conference will allow attendees to tune in from anywhere on their own schedule. Participants will even be able to watch recordings of every session after the conference so that they don’t miss a single insight.

At only $25, the Digital Literacy Conference also represents an affordable option for growing your knowledge on this big-picture topic. Register now over on the #DigLitCon homepage!

What is the Digital Literacy Conference?

This summer, the Learning Technology Center (LTC) is leading a brand-new conference which strives to make digital literacy front of mind for educators of all domains and grade levels. Today’s students need these new literacy skills in order to successfully locate, evaluate, interpret, and create information – both in and out of the classroom. In response to this need, we’ve created the Digital Literacy Conference to serve as the spark for innovative digital literacy education in Illinois.

Over the course of this one-day virtual event, the Digital Literacy Conference will offer an assortment of presentations focused on practical digital literacy pedagogy. These presentations will be separated into nine strands, ranging from computer literacy to digital resource ethics. Together, these strands will offer educators an opportunity to engage with the most important aspects of digital literacy in a single, content-rich gathering.

At its core, the Digital Literacy Conference is focused on reaching individuals with a stake in teaching digital literacy or guiding curricular decisions relating to digital literacy. With that in mind, we are inviting teachers, administrators, technology coaches, and library media specialists to take part in this conference, both as speakers and as attendees.

A Focus on Digital Literacy’s Many Strands

The Digital Literacy Conference will center around nine distinct strands, each focusing on a different component of fully-fledged digital literacy. Educators across all grade levels and subject areas will find relevant content within these strands, so don’t miss this chance to expand your digital literacy horizons.

Information & News Literacy

Civics and journalism have never been more important in an era where the truth is under persistent attack. Presentations in this strand will help isolate the skills students need to separate fact from fiction, including the ability to find reliable sources, check credibility, and recognize false or misleading narratives.

Visual Literacy

Young people today interact with a lot of visual media, often without the skills to fully appreciate or contextualize what they are seeing. This strand will focus on several key competencies that can help build critical visual literacy, including the ability to interpret infographics, analyze images, design practical websites, and utilize popular graphics (such as GIFs or memes) for educational purposes. 

Media Literacy

Media messages can subtly impact how today’s students think, act, and feel, both in and out of the classroom. This strand will highlight several of the most important elements of media messaging – including persuasion tactics, data integration, branding, and advertising – and demonstrate how this messaging impacts both history and society’s views on gender roles.

Computer Literacy

In order to fully appreciate a computer’s function, students and teachers alike must begin to understand how their digital devices function at a technical level. This strand will center around a few broadly-applicable computer functions that impact education, including cybersecurity and the ways data collection can impact student privacy.

Digital Communication

Presentations in this strand will consider the impact of digital communication by discussing different modern communication channels, including texts, emails, social media, online communities, personal learning networks, blogs, and podcasts. Inquiries in this strand will also expand to societal-level discussions about digital norms and the rights of consumers online.

Digital Citizenship

Today’s students will be tomorrow’s stewards of the world’s online communities. This strand will focus on helping build the skill sets and mindsets students will need to be successful in this significant undertaking, including the ability to foster a healthy relationship with technology and the ability to make age-appropriate internet safety decisions.

Digital Tattoos

Unlike a “digital footprint,” a “digital tattoo” is both personal and permanent. This strand will focus on helping students understand how their words, pictures, and actions online can follow them – for better and for worse – well into adulthood.

Ethical Uses of Digital Resources

Everything online is not free, and students must learn the importance of providing proper credit whenever they utilize a digital resource. This strand will center on building those skills while also digging into copyright, Creative Commons licensing, fair use, and plagiarism.


There are lots of outstanding digital literacy resources out there today. This strand will highlight several of the most popular and demonstrate how those resources can be applied in a variety of grade level and domain-specific learning environments.

Register Today!

There’s so much to learn about digital literacy, and we cannot wait to see what you take away from the Digital Literacy Conference. Mark June 4th in your calendar and register today to reserve your digital seat at this remarkable professional learning opportunity!

Stay Tuned for More Updates from #DigLitCon

In the coming weeks, we’ll have more exciting updates about the Digital Literacy Conference, including an announcement about the full conference schedule.

To keep up with the latest on the Digital Literacy Conference, follow the LTC on social media (@ltcillinois on Twitter and Facebook) or subscribe to our monthly newsletter. More information on the conference can also be found on the #DigLitCon homepage.

Interested in Presenting at #DigLitCon?

The Digital Literacy Conference is still accepting presentation proposals, now through March 26th. If you have experience teaching digital literacy, consider submitting a proposal and joining our excellent team of experienced, knowledgeable speakers.