DLC-Logo.pngImplementation Support for Districts

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The Digital Learning Competencies (DLCs) are skills that teachers and leaders should integrate into their practice in order to create an effective digital learning environment.

The content of the competencies was informed by national models such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) teaching standards, International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and the North Carolina Logic Model created in 2013 as a result of HB 23. More than fifty educators from around North Carolina took these models and identified important components and personalized the content in order to make these specific to the teachers and students in North Carolina.

In 2013, the North Carolina Legislature passed House Bill 23. This bill called on the State Board of Education to develop digital teaching and learning competencies that would “provide a framework for schools of education, school administrators, and classroom teachers on the needed skills to provide high-quality, integrated digital teaching and learning.”

The passage of this law reflects the changing nature of schools in North Carolina and nationwide. Technology is no longer an extraneous part of how some students learn but a necessity for all students as they move from K-12 schools to college and career. As the technology available to students and in North Carolina schools changes, the way educators approach teaching and learning must also adapt. These competencies provide teachers and administrators with a framework for making those changes.

Each LEA has selected representation for a DLC District Team. Suggested representatives for this team include district leadership, principals, teachers, and support staff. This cohort initially met in July 2016, followed by periodic convenings. The purpose of these convenings is to provide resources and support as districts decide how to move forward with the implementation of the DLCs for Teachers and Administrators. Additionally, these meetings provide an opportunity for teams to share planning and implementation strategies.

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DLCs for Teachers are divided into four focus areas, and DLCs for Administrators are divided into five focus areas.
When developing a plan for implementing DLC professional learning, a district may decide to focus on one, or multiple, areas. Districts are encouraged to review strategic planning goals and related data points to help determine priority focus area(s).

Possible rationale for selecting a single focus area per year

  • Tight alignment to district / school-specific needs
  • Enables district / school-wide networking and collaboration
  • District / school-wide shared resources and human capacity
  • Increases depth of learning

Another option is to allow teachers / administrators to self-select area(s) of focus. This option may provide a more personalized learning environment.

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The following resources are for review only and to facilitate your discussion. The DLC Self Reflection Guide prompts you to make acopy of the document. You may decide to share this document with your team to frame your thoughts as you identify your priorities. Then arrange your priorities based upon your findings.

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On June 1, 2017, the Digital Learning Competencies for Teachers and for Administrators were approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) as part of licensure renewal requirements per G.S.115C-296(b)(1)c. This policy for Licensure Renewal (LICN-005) includes the requirement of two Digital Learning Competency CEUs and will go into effect for teachers and for administrators with licenses expiring on or after June 30, 2019.


Approaches to Identifying CEUs

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Providing quality professional learning for the competencies, and creating opportunities for professional growth, are key components of a DLC implementation plan. The implementation team will need to determine the most effective process for providing this professional learning.

Professional Learning Option:
DLCs For Teachers: Virtual Courses

The Digital Teaching and Learning Division at the NCDPI have created virtual professional learning courses that align to the DLCs for Teachers. These courses were created in Canvas, but can be imported into a district’s learning management system.

These courses are structured using a competency-based model, where learning activities result in participants demonstrating evidence of achievement of specified outcomes. Using the NCDPI DLC courses, participants will demonstrate mastery of each DLC focus area through artifacts. The self-assessment enables teachers to consider their current levels of understanding and experience in each focus area. The level progression for each focus area includes: Novice, Experienced, and Mastery.

If a district decides to use these DLC virtual courses as designed, district reviewers would need to be selected to review artifact submissions. Additionally, a district could investigate using micro-credentialing as part of a competency-based route to licensure renewal.

Resources for DLC-Administrators are currently being created by NC school-level administrators, and will be shared with districts when completed.

Additional Professional Learning Options:

If a district has already developed, or is planning to develop, a professional learning plan to address the DLCs, a decision may be made not to use the DLC virtual courses.

A district may decide to repurpose some/all of the DLC virtual course content to be part of a face-to-face or blended model of professional learning. For example, a district may decide to restructure the demonstrated mastery portion of the course to include peer review of artifacts. Another example may include using the embedded resources from the virtual courses as part of face-to-face professional learning content.

If a district already provides professional learning related to effective digital teaching and learning, that district could plan to align these opportunities to the DLCs. For example, if a district provides a “digital learning conference” for teachers, the content could be reviewed (and potentially revised, if needed), to align to the DLCs.

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Once a district has determined which DLC professional learning content will be used (NCDPI-created DLC courses, district-created content, or a combination of the two), area(s) of focus for professional learning, a delivery method (or methods) for professional learning should be determined.

Delivery method options
  • Self-paced: teachers and administrators complete DLC professional learning activities at their own pace. Facilitators can provide support as needed.
  • Blended learning: teachers and administrators are engaged in a combination of face-to-face and online professional learning activities. A possible structure for blended learning may include an initial face-to-face meeting to introduce the DLCs and provide an overview of activities, followed by intermittent face-to-face meetings to discuss progress, answer questions, and engage in related activities.
  • Face-to-face: While we encourage modeling of blended and online learning environments through this professional learning, districts may determine that the best way to meet the needs of teachers and administrators is to facilitate all professional learning activities face-to-face.

A district may decide to develop a delivery plan that includes a combination of two or all of these options. A benefit of this approach is a personalized learning environment that meets the needs of individual teachers and administrators. This personalized delivery method will require human capacity and logistics considerations, and a detailed delivery plan will be necessary for implementation success.

Leadership elements are included in both the professional standards and digital competencies for teachers. While considering the various professional learning delivery methods, districts are encouraged to evaluate the possibility of building capacity through teacher leaders. Providing opportunities for teachers to demonstrate leadership through supporting and facilitating professional learning for others, may enable districts to personalize learning and empower teacher leaders to grow professionally.

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The following resources are for review only and to facilitate your discussion. The DLC Self Reflection Guide prompts you to make acopy of the document. You may decide to share this document with your team to frame your thoughts as you identify your priorities. Then arrange your priorities based upon your findings.

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To ensure that all teachers and administrators in your district are aware of the DLCs and are prepared to engage in professional learning activities related to these DLCs, it is important to determine an effective communication plan.

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(Images, presentation templates, crosswalks, etc.)

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The Digital Learning Competencies were developed to articulate the skill set required for teachers and administrators to be competent with effective digital teaching and learning. As the landscape of digital teaching and learning is ever-evolving, it will be necessary to revisit these competencies, and update them as needed. Additionally, as North Carolina educators work towards mastery in all areas of the DLCs, there will be opportunities for reflection on the processes for professional learning and growth. Over time, additional resources, exemplars, and best practices can be added to this implementation guide, to the professional learning courses, and to support structures.

It is also important to note that DTL professional learning and growth will not stop once a teacher or administrator reaches the level of mastery. There will always be opportunities to further explore and expand knowledge and application of digital teaching and learning. As the DLCs are implemented across North Carolina, there will be a unique opportunity for educators to grow professional learning networks, to challenge and support one another, to reflect on practice, and to look ahead to the future landscape of digital teaching and learning.

Information about upcoming professional learning opportunities can be found on our Professional Learning Wiki.

DLCs District Leader Cohort

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