Helping Students Achieve Information and Media Literacy

Districts are increasingly updating digital curriculum to prepare students for the jobs of the future. Overwhelmingly, employers surveyed felt that their new employees lacked the significant communication, collaboration, and critical thinking needed to successfully perform their work1. What can be done to bridge the gap between information, media literacy, and achievement, both in and out of the classroom? To learn more about the study, including causes for the achievement gaps and what educators have to say, and more, read on.

You’ll also discover how digital educational resources like Gale In Context: For Educators are helping teachers prepare students to be informed, responsible digital citizens and lifelong learners. 

  • The Study And Participants

    Gale and EdWeek Marketing Solutions collaborated to produce a study examining the impacts of using Gale databases and related tools to foster digital literacy among students and educators in K12 classrooms. It directly draws on the expertise of several K12 educators employed in Ohio school districts and key insights from the director of K12 products at Gale to identify best practices for using these resources inside and outside the K12 classroom walls. The results of this study are outlined in our brief, Student Success Begins with Teacher Success.

    This study also considers input from a cross-sampling of students, teachers, and librarians from public and private K12 classrooms utilizing Gale In Context student databases across the United States. Each participant played an important role in helping us evaluate the benefits of using Gale’s primary database products to promote digital literacy for various ages and learning styles. Experiences with these digital resources were captured through surveys, focus groups, on-site observations, and interviews conducted in partnership with Project Tomorrow® to develop this independent research report Keep Students on Track with Database Access 2.  

  • Unlocking Digital Literacy

    Today, technology is the key to a successful education and to unlocking digital literacy in the classroom. In the shift to remote learning, preparing learners in grades K–12 for the future requires not only the appropriate classroom technology but an understanding of how to use it to access critical educational resources, both in and out of the classroom. The Gale In Context curriculum considers the skills students of all ages will need as future learners to achieve digital literacy, and helps teachers discover and incorporate new ways of teaching them digital skills into their lesson plans using Gale In Context: For Educators.


    The more quickly schools and districts can adapt to teaching a curriculum in the digital education landscape, the more certain student achievement becomes. Gale helps bridge the gap between access and achievement with educational content, including lesson plans and digital tools designed to strengthen information and media skills while promoting critical thinking and analysis through research.  

  • Enhanced Learning Opportunities

    As part of the study, educators from Hudson City Schools in Ohio offered their impressions below. Consider what they had to say about the use of Gale educational databases to enhance their digital skills as they relate to teaching in their own classrooms. For more information, you can also download the entire EdWeek Marketing Solutions insights brief, Student Success Begins with Teacher Success.

  • Impacts Of Gale Databases On Learning

    The Gale In Context database suite allows students to abandon their reliance on Google and to identify credible online digital resources. More than three-quarters of high school students who had access to Gale’s educational databases feel their research skills improved2. Gale In Context: For Educators, an online teacher resource, also presents great teaching opportunities for educators to create lesson plans centered on helping students acquire the literacy skills they’ll need to be successful throughout K–-12 and beyond. 

         91% of middle and high school students said Gale databases helped them with their assignments or research projects.

         86% of teachers said their students developed critical-thinking skills as a result of Gale learning experiences.

         77% of teachers said their students are now future ready as a result of using Gale databases.



    Gale In Context: For Educators gives teachers access to an online library of robust academic content, including standards-based lesson plans and rich media along with on-demand professional development opportunities. Through step-by-step tutorials and real-world learning examples, teachers and librarians will learn how to teach students to engage with technology in the classroom, while helping them master the independent research skills, problem-solving, and analytical abilities needed to achieve digital literacy.

    Learn More

  • Tap Into ESSER Funds

    According to a Project Tomorrow® study, 92 percent of the district administrators surveyed believed that the effective use of technology in the classroom leads to greater student success.2 This was accelerated as educators rebuilt education during the pandemic with the implementations of new digital learning resources, tools for social-emotional development, and more. Yet 45 percent of teachers spend 4‒10 hours a week searching for digital lesson plan materials.3

    Recognizing the importance of instruction, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act provides federal funding to primary and secondary education, with funds specifically authorized for professional development, instructional materials, and supporting educational programs. As districts develop strategic plans around the best options for these funds, they should think both short and long term. The funding is significant enough, and available over two or three fiscal years, which means that it could be part of a long-term strategy that incorporates innovative teaching and learning solutions that are efficient and effective.

    Understanding the challenges educators face today, the need for on-demand training and support has never been greater. Building on the foundation of Gale In Context student databases, Gale In Context: For Educators merges quality, standards-aligned content with related lesson plans and instructional tools, including tools for educator collaboration across any distance. It features a Learning Center to help educators self-teach virtual lesson planning and online teaching skills. 

    With this one award-winning resource, all school educators have a specialized tool kit to find and personalize digital learning content, plan educational activities that work well for remote or in-person environments, and provide equitable services for all students.

    Get Started

  • Next Steps

    We want to share the results from this brief with educators, from librarians and teachers to school and district leaders throughout the country who are interested in learning more about how they can effectively use educational databases to promote digital literacy in the classroom. Download our insights brief, view our best practices, read the case study, and watch the webinar recording for more data-driven insights and helpful information to share with your colleagues. Use the action plan template to help craft your program proposal. 

  • Sources
    1. Based on report “Student Success Begins With Teacher Success: 6 Best Practices to Use Educational Databases,” from a 2021 study conducted by EdWeek Marketing Solutions, a non-editorial division of Education Week. The content in this whitepaper is provided by Gale, a Cengage company in collaboration with EdWeek Marketing Solutions and is not written by nor does it reflect the views of Education Week’s editorial staff.
    2. Based on the report “Turn Database Access into Action,” from a 2018–2019 nationwide study conducted by Project Tomorrow® in partnership with Gale, a Cengage company, to determine the efficacy of using Kids InfoBits for elementary students and Gale In Context for middle and high school students to support learning outcomes. Project Tomorrow is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a 23-year history of supporting innovation in K-12 education through research and school-based programs.
    3. Cauthen, LeiLani. “The 2020 Digital Transition Survey Results Are In: Just How Large Is the K12 Ed-Tech Market?” The Learning Counsel, accessed April 28, 2021.

Access the Resources