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.


Addressing Ethical Considerations When Using AI in K-12 Classrooms

As AI technology continues to make its way into K-12 classrooms, it is essential to consider the ethical implications and potential risks associated with its use. In this post, we will discuss some of the most pressing ethical considerations, possible solutions, and...

Rainbow Retelling (Name It, Frame It, Tame It)

Video Description Rainbow retelling is a reading comprehension strategy where learners use the rainbow as visual prompts to remember the basic blocks of comprehension in order to assist with retelling story. This would be a great strategy to teach to all learners as...

Shifting the Literacy Landscape for Students with Complex Needs 

Special education is an ever-changing landscape. As such, we’ve seen a lot of instructional shifts throughout the years due to legislative changes and mindset. There has also been way more research in the area of literacy for students with significant disabilities...

Examples of AI in K-12 Classrooms: Benefits and Challenges

The Artificial intelligence (AI) conversation is becoming increasingly common across the K-12 landscape, as educators and technologists explore new ways to enhance teaching and learning experiences. In this post, we'll explore some specific examples of how AI is being...

Closing Circles (Name It, Frame It, Tame It)

Video DescriptionWhile there is a lot of excitement about the end of the school year for many learners, there are also learners who may begin to feel more anxious around this time of year because things are ending. How can we support our learners proactively to reduce...

UDL Journeys: A Systemic UDL Investment (with Inglewood Elementary School)

Erin, Jesse and Brandon meet with the Inglewood Elementary team to hear their journey with Universal Design for Learning and the UDL team at Montgomery County Intermediate Unit.

Mindful Representation of Autism

In recent years, the way we view and represent individuals with autism has undergone a significant shift. While autism awareness campaigns have helped bring attention to the condition, there is now a growing recognition that inclusion, not just awareness, is needed....

New Centers for Disease Control Numbers for Autism Prevalence

1 in 36 is the latest prevalence number for Autism Spectrum Disorders. These current numbers come from the Center for Disease Control’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network or ADDM (pronounced “Adam”).  graphic is property of the CDC and indicates...

Designing Accessible Digital Content: Google Forms

Google Forms are frequently used in classrooms for surveys, exit tickets, and formative assessments. Did you know you can customize a Form with multiple modalities?  Incorporating multiple modalities in Google Forms is a great way to promote accessibility and...

Growing Self-Management Competence in Virtual Students

The Montgomery Virtual Program’s (MVP) mission focuses around building partnerships with our local schools and districts while researching and partnering with premier virtual education companies to provide a well-rounded virtual curriculum and program offerings for...