Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kerry Burner


The concept of literacy has expanded to include understanding and effective utilization of information, media, and technology. The Children's Internet Protection Act requires school districts to teach proper online use and behavior. The lack of a technology requirement in a rural, public school district in Northeastern Pennsylvania that meets the needs of 21st century learners and the conditions of the Children's Internet Protection Act was the rationale for the development of this project study. The study's conceptual framework stemmed from theories related to new literacies, multimodality, computer education practices, and millennial learners. The research questions examined educators' perceptions of topics and skills to include in a curricular framework that addressed the lack of a comprehensive technology requirement to improve 21st century digital literacy skills for all students. A qualitative case study design was selected and data from 40 open ended questionnaires, one 5-member focus group discussion, and two 6-member focus group discussions were open coded and thematically analyzed. Emergent themes relating to a digital literacy course framework included information access skills and the application of technology. Findings were validated through member checking and triangulated with 62 existing curricular documents. The project for this study consisted of a curricular framework for a 90 day 21st century digital literacy high school course that can be used by any school district to enhance the preparation of students for life after high school. Such use of the findings and culminating project may positively affect social change through a modern definition of literacy thus contributing towards the development of a positive and prepared 21st century citizenry.