Digital Teaching Competencies

The tools you will use to deliver digital learning will depend on a variety of factors including what technologies are supplied by and/or recommended or required by your school and/or district, as well as the technologies available to students and their families.

These include but are not limited to:

  1. Your school’s network of computers and the components that allow them to communicate with each other
  2. Other digital technologies, typically portable and often used on a personal level by teachers and students, such as Laptop computers, iPads, Tablets, and Smartphones
  3. The Internet
  4. The software that allows the devices to communicate with the user, the network of other computers, and the Internet. This will include the operating system (OS) on the device, such as Microsoft Windows for personal computers (PC’s); iOS for Apple devices such as the Mac in its various computer forms, and the iPad and iPhone; Android for tablets and Smartphones other than the iPhone; web browsers that allow the device to connect to the Internet and view web pages, such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer, Safari (typically found on Apple devices), Mozilla Firefox, etc.; and other software that aids in the use of the device. One important piece of software that must be considered in education is security software that protects users from computer viruses and spyware, and students from access to inappropriate content. You may recognize such brand names as Kaspersky, Norton, McAfee, Bitdefender, etc. As we will examine later in this course, parental controls are often used by parents to restrict their children’s access to content and can play a role in how you communicate with and deliver content to students.

As you prepare to plan for and deliver digital learning via ICT, there are a number of issues requiring self-awareness and reflection. These include:

  • Common obstacles faced by educators as they try to implement digital learning in the K-12 school environment
  • Helping educators and key personnel in making valid decisions about the implementation of digital learning and technologies
  • How Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are changing the context of teaching and learning

The educator’s view of digital learning will depend on his or her previous experiences with ICT and beliefs about the appropriateness of ICT in the learning environment. Not everyone is comfortable with or accepting of the use of digital or online learning.

This course will assist you in developing and refining your own perspective on the topic. Course content and activities provide opportunities to test ideas, develop skills, and define dispositions around the use of ICT in the school.

Constructivism refers to the idea that learners construct knowledge for themselves. That is what you will be called upon to do regarding digital learning and the use of ICT. That is what your students will be tasked to do when you teach using digital learning strategies and ICT.

Legislation and Requirements

Each state has its own direction from the Chief State School Officer about digital learning. Many states require their teachers to provide proof of professional development in this area.

Current federal legislation defines goals for the use of technology in teaching and learning:

  • Improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools
  • Assist students in crossing the ‘digital divide’ by ensuring they are technologically literate by the time they complete grade 8
  • Ensure that teachers are able to integrate technology into the curriculum to improve student achievement

If you do not know your State requirements, ask your school principal, a designated resource person, or your colleagues, or visit your State department of education website and research them. Your district and school may have their own polices and/or requirements regarding digital learning. You will need to know them as well to ensure compliance.


In this activity you are tasked with writing brief statements or responses about the issues and questions presented below, and then taking some time to reflect on these. Keep a copy of your responses and refer back to them as you progress through the course. Update any that you feel differently about as you progress. Note the changes and why you have made them.

  1. Write down your ideas about the use of ICT and implementation strategies in educational delivery (e.g., how it should be carried out; what is good about it; what is not good). Be sure to revisit and revise these initial thoughts as you work through this course.
  2. What personal beliefs do you currently hold with respect to the use of ICT in delivering education?
  3. What is your personal vision for the use of ICT as it relates to program delivery?
  4. How do your responses to 2 and 3 compare to your school or district policies? Do you know your school or district policies?
  5. Is there anything in your personal values about education that presents a barrier to your working positively to deliver digital learning? Do you think these differences can effectively be reconciled?
  6. What are your top priorities for delivering quality education to your students, and how can they be achieved using ICT to deliver digital learning? What pedagogical models of instructional delivery do you use and support?
  7. Have you experienced any instructional disappointments with the use of digital learning? If so, what are they, what caused them, and how can they be addressed in future?
  8. Do you have someone you rely on to help you with this subject? Do you feel capable of providing help and insight to others?
  9. What are your critical needs in delivering quality education through digital learning?
  10. What ideas about digital learning would you like to discuss with your peers? Is there an avenue for doing this?