digital learning guide

us department of education

Supporting families with continuity of education

Digital Version

Interactive, Web-based version of the USDOE Learning Guide

PDF Version

Downloadable PDF with hyperlinks to external resources.

Examples from the Guide

The Digital Learning Guide contains a tremendous collection of resources to support parents through the 20-21 school year.  All of the links are active and take the user straight to the referenced document, resource, or web tool.  It also features definitions and question sets to help families support and advocate for their learners.

Guiding Questions for Families

Defining Terms of the Times

Tips & Tricks

Recommended Digital Tools

Extension Activities


Is technology the answer to all of these questions? No, of course not. Technology is a tool. Technology, when used appropriately, can empower learning, engage and motivate students, and help make learning interactive.”

Your child masters content and develops skills at their own pace. Many children learn effectively when the support they receive is customized for each new skill. In a competency-based system, your child can be empowered to learn skills in a personalized manner and to take responsibility for and make more decisions in their own learning.”

Students are more engaged when parents and families are involved in education.9 Using digital learning resources provides new opportunities for your family to develop a strong partnership with your school or education provider.”

notes from the us doe release

The U.S. Department of Education released a new Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide, a resource to help parents and guardians understand how digital tools can provide tailored learning opportunities, engage students with course materials, encourage creative expression, and enrich the educational experience.

“As technology continues to iterate and benefit every part of our lives, all students need more opportunities to leverage the potential of technology in education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “We hope families can use the information we release today as many of them are relying on technology more so than ever before and are navigating learning from home.”

Digital learning can help families and educators meet the specific needs of individual students, understand a child’s progress, and connect families and students with resources in their school community and beyond. As an increasing number of school systems implement digital learning both inside and outside of the traditional classroom, this guide demystifies digital learning for parents and empowers them to be effective advocates for high-quality digital learning.

The Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide includes guidance and best practices for caregivers around topics including:

How to leverage flexibilities and innovations technology and digital tools provide, such as accessibility options, to meet the unique needs of every learner — including students with disabilities and English language learners.

Simple steps parents can take to keep their children safe online and foster safe online behavior, such as accessing security features on a child's device, keeping track of log-in information, and keeping children safe while video conferencing. The guide also discusses the importance of digital citizenship and offers parents resources to help their child navigate online bullying or encounters with troubling content.

How a competency-based learning approach, which measures a student's knowledge of a subject rather than time spent on the subject, can harness technology for the benefit of students. Digital resources like online assessments, periodic check-ins, and more can update parents on their child's learning progress, and they can provide instructional flexibility in the event of a school disruption.

Easy-to-understand primers on major federal laws governing student privacy and safety, such as FERPA, IDEA, and COPPA.


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Brandon Langer serves as the Program Administrator of Instructional Technology at MCIU where he oversees the Montgomery Virtual Program and supports the integration of instructional technology in the Office of Professional Learning. As a former teacher and an instructional coach, Brandon has conducted numerous professional development sessions centered around technology applications and integrating student-centered instruction into the classroom. He has also worked closely with fine and performing arts teachers throughout the northeast to create and advocate for arts programs and modernize arts assessment practices. His passion for student success is grounded in his belief that teachers, not the computer, are the most powerful asset in the classroom today.

Brandon is the host of the OPL Podcast from MCIU and has earned a Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Delaware and a Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Arkansas State University. He is a regular participant in many online PLN Twitter chats and can be followed @BrandonLanger.