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Digital Literacy Accelerator

A strong democracy relies on an informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizenry. Technology and social media are rapidly changing the way that citizens consume, create, and share information.

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2021-2022 Digital Literacy Accelerator Participants

Applications are closed. Information is here for reference.

Many learners spend significant time each day online, yet have never received training on how to engage with the information they encounter. Our future depends on our ability to strengthen learners’ digital literacy skills, in order to combat misinformation and promote civil discourse in digital spaces. Your innovative idea could be part of the solution.

The Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education is announcing the Digital Literacy Accelerator. The Digital Literacy Accelerator calls upon interested participants to design, prototype, pilot, and refine an educational intervention aimed at helping students and adults learn crucial skills related to strengthening digital literacy, particularly around civil discourse and identifying and combating misinformation. Those selected to participate will have a chance to receive support from leading experts in both digital literacy and design thinking as well as support from peers and leaders.

Goals of the Digital Literacy Accelerator

The Digital Literacy Accelerator has one overarching goal — to identify interventions that have a pathway for improvement and success in the school driven digital literacy space. The interventions should target one of three user groups: Grades 6-9; Grades 9-12; and Adult Learners.

The Digital Literacy Accelerator hopes to accomplish this goal through these specific aims: 

  • Surface innovative ideas and strategies that support learners in evaluating and combating misinformation and promoting civil discourse in digital spaces, while allowing the most innovative ideas to start a path to success beyond the Digital Literacy Accelerator.
  • Provide diverse teams with an opportunity to develop and demonstrate a “proof of concept” of these ideas, by providing teams with access to convenings, experts, and resources to strengthen their skills in design thinking and early phase development.
  • Provide tangible early proof points of success in either of two forms: 1) either showing signs of promise for school-driven (in-school, after-school, or at-home) interventions or tools that can move the needle on learners’ digital literacy or 2) key learnings for future iterations for improving skills related to digital literacy.
  • Engage and motivate a diverse cadre of postsecondary students and young professionals to address issues related to digital literacy and pursue work in educational technology.

The Digital Literacy Accelerator

The Digital Literacy Accelerator will offer participants a hands-on opportunity to iterate on new ideas that can be applied to innovative educational interventions related to digital literacy. 

Teams that are applying should review the Rules and Conditions page as well as the Rubric. The entry form has two questions that should be answered within 1000 words.

  • What is your idea for an intervention to support digital literacy?
  • What are the strengths and skills your team will use to design, prototype, and refine your idea?

Each team (2-5 members per team) will have a chance to win a minimum of $2,000 in prize money by completing 4 milestones in the design process. Teams will receive a minimum of $500 for each milestone associated with their acceptance and convening activities. 

Who Can Apply?

Any member of the general public at least 18 years of age is eligible to apply. We recommend that teams consist of 2-5 people who have skills related to design thinking, coding, curriculum development, user testing, or other related fields. Preference will be given to diverse teams of postsecondary students or young professionals who are partnered with an advisor. For additional information on team composition, please see the Scoring Rubric.

Timeline for the Digital Literacy Accelerator

  • October 22-25 – Selected entrants are notified
  • Early November – Orientation
  • Mid-November – Convening 1
  • Mid-December – Communities of Practice 1
  • Early February – Convening 2
  • Late February – Communities of Practice 2
  • Mid-March – Communities of Practice 3 
  • Late April – Convening 3

These activities are designed to support participants in turning their ideas into final prototypes  over the course of the Digital Learning Accelerator. The convenings will gather teams together to share and learn from one another, to workshop ideas and troubleshoot problems, and to learn from experts in the field. We hope to create a supportive learning environment in which participants are engaged, inspired, and informed, and we hope to create a community where teams can deepen relationships, generate ideas and solutions, raise challenges, and identify lessons learned.

Need More Info?

  • Contact with questions.
  • Check out the OET blog for resources and information on providing a strong submission.

Click here for the official rules, terms, and conditions.