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This presentation discusses scholarly definitions for the research construct “digital literacy,” identifies limitations in conceptualizations to-date, fand presents a proposed framework of Six Contemporary Learning Abilities (or 6-CLAs: Create, Manage, Publish, Socialize, Research, Surf). This explicated framework offers a more structured definition based on student-centered social constructivist learning theory. The article then presents an empirical investigation of digital literacy development, drawing on the framework, and its proposed approach for operationalizing technology activities (whether as research constructs or instructional activities). The empirical analysis is situated in the context of an innovative educational program implementation of game design based learning for middle and high school students offered in a U.S. state, in the 2011/2012 school year. The study explores how student engagement in activities representing the 6-CLA dimensions factor, inter-correlate, change from pre- to post-program, and bring about student transfer of that engagement, from school to home environments. Findings reveal that the dimensions proposed hang together well, students change in their engagement as a result of the intervention across multiple dimensions in both school and home contexts, and at-school engagement in the dimensions contributes to at-home engagement in them (in various ways as reported). The study offers support for the proposed framework, provides some evidence of digital divide effects for the intervention, presents questions for further inquiry, and offers a conceptual and research design stake in the ground for other researchers interested in the digital literacy construct.
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