Digital Literacy Pop-Ups Toolkit

short-form, no-cost templates for teaching digital literacies.

about the project

This project stemmed from the rise of conversations about digital security, privacy, and media literacy in this political and technological climate. In the library, we realized that it has become increasingly difficult for individuals in our community to assess the credibility in the things they consume online, and to manage their digital identity. Previous work in our library centred on creating resources that our community members could consult to build their skills in managing their online privacy and assessing the credibility of their news sources.

However, these technological, media, and data literacies are difficult to incorporate into typical in-class library instruction. As a result, students who do not actively seek out this information may not have the opportunity to develop these skills.

The Digital Literacy Pop-Up Toolkit will help you run activites to connect members of your community with tools to improve their 21st century digital literacies through short-form, light-touch, pop-up based programming. These activities can be run with supplies that are easily available in any setting. These pop-ups provide opportunities for one-on-one or small group instructional engagement, while also providing libraries, teachers, or engaged citizens with opportunities to assess community interest in and attitudes towards digital literacies.


You Shall Not Pass:

Improving Password Security

This activity uses How Secure is My Password?, an online password checker produced by Dashlane Password Manager, to raise awareness of password security and password best practices. Invite passersby to participate by asking, “How long do you think it would take a computer to crack your password?” Use a tally system (in our case, this was displayed on a large whiteboard) to record the amount of time it would take to crack each password according to this website.

If students have questions or concerns about their security based on the results from the first activity, we offer to show them another, Have I Been Pwned?. This tool allows users to check if they have an account that has been compromised in a data breach.

Download supporting documents


Checking Your Information Privilege

Recognizing Inequitable Access and Injustice in Media

This activity is a tactile card game where the participant arranges the cards in order from lowest priced item to highest priced item. The cards are flipped over to see how accurate their assumption was. The game raises awareness of the cost of resources and the information privilege afforded to those enrolled in post-secondary education.

Invite passersby to participate by asking, “How much would you guess the library pays for your access to scholarly resources?” Players get three cards to arrange: two item cards and one library-funded resource card. Facilitators of the activity should be prepared to speak to each of the resources listed, explaining what the resource is for users who may not recognize the pictures or logos. Once they’ve arranged them in order from what the expect is the least costly to the most costly, flip the cards over to reveal the actual price of each. What follows is an opportunity to talk to the participant about the value of the resources on the cards (especially those provided by the library) and promote open access.

Optional: Ask students to complete the following sentence on a whiteboard: “If I lost access to library resources today, I would…”. This allows for reflection on one’s own information privilege. Take photographs of the whiteboards for future reference (and include participants in the photographs with permission).

Download supporting documents

fake news

Fake News and You

Critically Evaluating Information

This card sorting game was created using Media Bias Fact Check, an online media bias resource founded in 2015 by Dave Van Zandt, to show the bias of popular news sources and raise awareness of the tools that are available to help readers in evaluating news content. MediaBias/FactCheck uses a strict and transparent methodology to determine the media bias of various news sources.

Invite passersby to participate by asking, “How well do you know the media bias of your favourite news sources?” Players align the logos of different media outlets on a grid with four quadrants based on their perception of that media outlet’s reporting bias and level of factual reporting. Use the cheat sheet to reveal the bias as determined by MediaBias/FactCheck.

Offer players the IFLA pamphlet with useful links printed on the back that they can use to help evaluate online information.

Download supporting documents


I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

Practical Lessons in Digital Privacy

This activity uses Apply Magic Sauce, a web-based tool created at the University of Cambridge. It predicts psychological traits from the digital footprint of social media users. Players have the opportunity to explore their data profile. The purpose of this activity is to raise awareness of the information collected about us and to promote the responsible creation of online information.

Invite passersby to participate by asking, “Do you want to find out who Facebook thinks you are?” While players are looking at their data profile, talk to them about how they can tighten up their privacy settings in Facebook and other social media platforms. Tell them about other tools they might want to explore, such as Predictive World or this Online Privacy Libguide.

Download supporting documents


Read About Us:

Guerrilla Instruction for a Digital World, March 2018, Western Libraries News


Get in Touch:

Madisson Goldhawk | Erin Johnson | Lillian Rigling


This project would not have been possible without the support of Western Libraries who allowed us the time, space, and resources needed to fully explore this idea. The work was inspired by the Digital Life Decoded team at North Carolina State University (Hannah Rainey, Will Cross, Lillian Rigling, Lauren Di Monte, Sonoe Nakasone, and Ekatarina Grguric). Icons by Font Awesome and Icons8. Site design based on SinglePaged Theme by Tim O'Brien. "Digital Literacy Pop-Ups Toolkit" is open source.