Digital Learning Initiative

The Digital Learning Initiative focuses on providing digital teaching and learning supports and resources for North Carolina Public School Units. These supports include:

Picture of the state of North Carolina with the words North Carolina Digital Learning Initiative on top of it with a grey box below with the words NC Department of Public Instruction.
  • Designing and Implementing the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan
  • Providing Professional Learning Around Digital Teaching and Learning Pedagogies and Resources
  • Curating and Developing Resources Related to the Goals Established in the Digital Learning Plan
  • Conducting Research to Inform the Design of Digital Teaching and Learning Professional Learning and Resources


The work that is completed under the Digital Learning Initiative is done with support from the North Carolina State Legislature. State laws that relate to the work of the Digital Learning Initiative include:

The North Carolina Digital Learning Plan

The North Carolina Digital Learning Plan describes the goals for Digital Teaching and Learning for the state department, public school units (PSUs) and schools across the state. This detailed plan provides data, action steps, and metrics for the state's Digital Learning Initiative.

The Public School Unit Digital Learning Progress Rubrics (found in the DLP document) are due every other year. The first time the 2022 rubrics will need to be turned in to the Department of Public Instruction will be June 30, 2023. More information coming soon. 

North Carolina Digital Learning Framework: It is a circle with the state of North Carolina in the middle. The words Student Learning Experiences are on top of the state image. The rest of the circle is broken into 5 pie pieces. Each piece is titled as follows: Leadership and Vision, Human Capacity, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Data Privacy and Cybersecurity, and Technology, Infrastructure, and Devices.


Digital Learning Initiative Supports

Tab/Accordion Items

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), on behalf of the North Carolina State Board of Education (NCSBE) issues this Request for Proposals (RFP) for Digital Learning Initiative Grants. In Session Law 2016-94 (House Bill 1030), Section 8.23, the State Board of Education is charged with collaborating with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University to continue the progress in implementing the Digital Learning Plan in North Carolina public schools.

The North Carolina Digital Learning Plan recommends the provision of grants to support the development and dissemination of local innovative digital learning models. The goal is to have effective digital learning practices spread across all North Carolina K-12 public schools. All school districts and charter schools were eligible to apply for the competitive grant program.  

DLI Grants current information.

Since 2018 NCDPI's Digital Learning Initiative has partnered with the North Carolina Consortium of School Networking (NC COSN) to provide a 2-day immersion course to prepare North Carolina’s Digital Teaching and Learning Leaders for the Certified Education Technology Leaders (CETL) Exam. 

The CETL is the first-ever aspirational certification for education technology leaders. It is based on a body of knowledge defining the skill areas critical to today’s education technology leaders: leadership and vision; understanding the educational environment; and managing technology and support resources. Specifically, the CETL is a rigorous, two-part exam that identifies those who have mastered the framework skills and knowledge needed to bring 21st century skills to schools. To sit for this exam, candidates must have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree plus four (4) years of education technology experience. Education technology experience is defined as demonstrable experience in the three overarching skill areas of the Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO.

68 Technology Leaders have earned the CETL Certification. 13 Technology Leaders have been through recertification.

The Digital Teaching and Learning Department has partnered with the Consortium of School Networking (COSN) to provide Public School Units with support as they work to obtain the COSN Trusted Learning Environment Seal. The Program requires school systems to have implemented high standards for student data privacy protections around five core practice areas: Leadership, Business, Data Security, Professional Development and Classroom. School systems that meet the Program requirements will earn the TLE Seal, signifying their commitment to student data privacy to their community. 

The supports that will be offered through this opportunity include:

  • Free Application for the TLE Seal
  • Participation in a collaborative statewide cohort of PSUs who are all working to earn the TLE Seal
  • Resources and collaboration with COSN through a workshop dedicated to supporting those going through this process
  • Roadmap for applying for the TLE Seal
  • Customized feedback and benchmarking report

The 2021-2022 Cohort has been established with 14 Public School Units participating in the opportunity. 

To learn more about the Trusted Learning Environment Seal, visit COSN's information page