Get started for freeProfessor GarfieldThe Professor Garfield website is a free and open digital literacy curriculum created at Ball State University’s Center for Emerging Media Design & Development in collaboration with the University’s nationally recognized Teachers College. The site is designed to support K-5 teachers as they help students master digital literacy skills. This project is based onthe idea that successful learners and workers in a digital world must master the functional, cognitive, and creative activities at the center of technology and practice.

What is digital literacy?

A digitally literate student must master a broad range of skills to apply to digital tools. Digital literacy includes the eight components listed below,as well as concepts related to digital citizenship, media literacy, and more.

Also, digital literacy instruction should not be reserved for a single class or delayed until middle or high school. Rather, these skills and concepts must be integrated into core curriculum as early as kindergarten, and kids should be given the support and opportunity to grow as digitally literate learners throughout their education.

This website focuses on eight important digital literacy concepts:

How to use technology like computers, tablets, smartphones, cameras

Using Technology

How to think critically about technology and its use

Critical Thinking

How to communicate effectively online

Effective Communication

How to be creativeonline and when using digital devices


How to *find accurate information* online

Finding & Selecting Information

How to be safewhen using technology and the Internet


How to collaborate effectively in digital spaces


Understand of the role of technology in our world and in our lives

Technology & Your Life

For Teachers

This site is designed as a full-scale curricular model. It provides K-5 teachers with:

  • Instructional videos that define the eight components of digital literacy
  • An eight-day intro to digital literacy lesson plan with simple activities teachers can do with students to start the school year to lay a foundation for digital literacy
  • Standards-based, cross-curricular lesson plans for digital literacy exercises
  • Downloadable handouts and customizable PowerPoint presentations
  • A dashboard that allows teachers to review, select, and customize lessons and activities
  • A course management system to track students’ progress, assign grades, award digital literacy badges, and provide comments/feedback on students’ submissions
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For Kids

This site provides kids with fun activities that teach digital literacy skills and core subjects together. It provides K-5 learners with:

  • Hands-on activities that to address one or more digital literacy skills combined with language arts, math, social studies, or science
  • Engaging instructional videos to teach kids about digital literacy and build skills for using technology and creating digital content
  • A badge-based rewards system that allows students to unlock downloadable prizes
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Narrate Garfield

In this exercise, students build their speaking, language and storytelling skills while learning to record audio using a smart device. Students can earn digital literacy badges for functional meaning making, creativity, and effective communication.

Photo Rhymes

For this exercise students practice their reading, language and rhyming skills while learning how to make and edit photos using a smart device. Students can earn badges for functional meaning making and creativity. Teachers can customize this exercise to include their own vocabulary or spelling words.

Video Editing

This exercise requires students to research and create avideo about a specific topic while learning to effectively research a topic, write a script, and edit video using an online resource.

Students may earn digital literacy badges for Creativity, Finding and Selecting Information, and Using Technology.

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Professor Garfield's Digital Literacy curriculum was developed by the Center for Emerging Media Design & Development at Ball State University in collaboration with the Ball State Teachers College.