A longitudinal, cross-sectional case study of students’ digital literacy learning and development at the middle school using a blended, technology-rich, project-based learning approach
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This study examined changes to middle school students’ digital literacy after engagement in a learning environment based on a blended, technology-rich, project-based instructional innovation (BTPII). Guided by the social constructivist epistemology and the European Union’s DigComp 2.0 framework, this study attempted to understand how students’ digital literacy changes and final performance in a BTPII learning environment differed, with respect to participants’ multiple engagement, levels of daily Internet access time, and daily Internet usage purposes. Thus, this study applied a cross-sectional, mixed method case study approach to middle-school participants of the BTPII-based after-school program, across the spring and fall semesters of 2017 and 2018. Eighty middle school students completed the whole program and provided valid survey responses. Participants of program iterations in the spring and fall 2017 semesters presented a significant development in digital literacy. However, students enrolled in the spring and fall 2018 semesters exhibited non-significant changes in digital literacy. The results of this study further include the following findings: (a) relationships between the BTPII learning activities and digital literacy changes differed by semester, (b) impacts of students’ multiple engagements on the difference in digital literacy changes and final performance varied by semester, and (c) students’ daily Internet access time and Internet usage purposes did not significantly impact DL changes and final performance.