Professional Development on Integrating Digital Literacy into Adult English Language Instruction

Kathy Harris, Portland State University


Click the slide above to view the presentation on an external site. To ask the presenters a question about their presentation, please add a comment at the bottom of this page between October 3 and October 8. Presenters will check for and reply to questions at the end of each symposium day.


Adult English language learners come to the language learning task with a wide variety of experiences with formal education, digital literacy skills, and language learning. Most need to develop digital literacy skills along with other aspects of language.   However, teachers who serve adult English learners themselves have a wide variety of experience with technologies, and a wide variety of confidence in their abilities to integrate digital literacy into their instruction.  This presentation will describe a suite of free online digital literacy professional development materials, where to find them, and describe a hybrid professional development model in which these materials were used that maximized affordances of both face-to-face and online settings.

The federally funded LINCS ESL Pro project created a suite of materials focused on the integration of digital literacy into adult English language instruction.  There are three resources:  an Issue Brief, a four-part online course, and a digital magazine.  The Issue Brief describes research-based approaches to integrating technology and increasing digital literacy in a variety of English language learning settings. The self-access, four unit online course provides an understanding of how and why to include digital literacy skill development, how to use information and communication technologies to expand language learning opportunities, how to help students learn to find and evaluate digital information, and how to solve problems in today’s technology-rich environments.  The digital magazine is a practice-oriented resource that illustrates a variety of instructional strategies, resources and tasks that combine language development, information literacy, and technology integration.

The suite of resources devoted to digital literacy integration is very rich, and can be overwhelming.  The presenter will describe her experiences with a professional development model that is sustained over a period of time, and that combines the use of these materials with a combination of face-to-face and online experiences.  The model utilizes teacher experiential, active learning in which teachers use a variety of technologies in their own professional learning as they develop skills to integrate digital literacy across the curriculum in their courses and programs.

Kathy Harris

Research faculty in the Literacy, Language, and Technology Research Group
Portland State University

6 thoughts on “Professional Development on Integrating Digital Literacy into Adult English Language Instruction”

  1. Hi Kathy. Have you received any feedback from instructors after using this website? What are the benefits and challenges that they had when they incorporated these resources in their language instructions?

    1. Hi Elaine, Thanks for your question! Yes, I have worked with several groups of teachers who find the 3 resources to be very helpful and informative. The biggest challenges are 1) lack of technology at their institutions, 2) lack of time for preparing new activities (especially those that might fail) when they are only part-time teachers, and 3) fear that they don’t have strong enough digital literacy skills themselves to help their students be successful. Working together in a professional learning group is really helpful for 2 and 3 and they’ve said so.

  2. Richardo, I’m interested in your reflection but I’m not sure that I completely understand. Are you thinking that English teachers in Mexico and English teachers in the US have different ways of thinking about digital literacy?

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a hybrid symposium on research and practice

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