Digital Literacy

Digital literacy skills are the skills that allow individuals to access, navigate, organize and utilize information from digital or technology resources. Digital literacy skills are defined in Minnesota by the NorthStar Digital Literacy Standards, which address ten different areas:

  • Basic computer skills
  • Internet
  • Email
  • Windows
  • Mac OS
  • Microsoft Word
  • Excel
  • Powerpoint
  • Social Media
  • Information literacy

In Minnesota ABE, digital literacy instruction is often embedded into ESL, GED, Adult Diploma and/or Basic Skills classes. In other cases computer skills classes are taught separately from math, literacy or language classes. Many programs also offer distance learning as a way to help students practice and utilize digital literacy skills, often while working on other instructional content such as ESL or GED prep.

Minnesota ABE students can earn a Northstar digital literacy certificate by passing assessments available through Northstar Digital Literacy (see links below). ABE students can use these certificates to show evidence of their computer and technology skills when completing an Adult Diploma or when applying for a job or promotion.

Additional resources:

The Northstar Digital Literacy Project began as a collaboration between the St. Paul Public Libraries and the St. Paul Community Literacy Collaborative (St. Paul's ABE consortium), along with other partners and funders, which sought to define and support digital literacy skills for adults. Out of this project came the Northstar Digital Literacy Standards and the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessments. The assessments are free for anyone to take online, but individuals can only receive a certificate by taking the assessments in a proctored setting at a sponsered site, including at least one ABE program in each consortium.

This is the list of Minnesota sites currently offering Northstar Digital Literacy certificates

For curriculum resources that align to the Northstar Standards, visit the Technology Literacy Collaborative's repository of curriculum.

To see the MDE-ABE policy on digital literacy instruction, visit the Policy section of this website and open the Computer Literacy policy.

To find ABE programs that offer digital literacy instruction, visit the Adult Literacy Hotline by clicking on the link in the upper right.