To be digitally literate, if not fluent, seems to be an increasingly important skill to have for effective participation in the 21st century. Niessen (2013) states that digital fluency refers to one’s ease of technological ability and the knowledge of when, where, how and why to use specific digital mediums. As the digital world is so vast, it is challenging to define fluency in a quantifiable manner. According to Howell (2014) digital fluency can be achieved in any number of technological skills such as navigation or programming. As digital literacy is a precursor for digital fluency, this is appears to be an educational focus.
Seemingly, it has become a fact of modern life in Australia that each work, home and recreational space requires a degree of digital literacy for effective participation. This provides a good argument for Australians and people across the globe to increase their digital fluency. According to Purposeful Technology (n.d.) success in both white and blue collar jobs depends in part on one’s digital literacy.
Educators should remain mindful that the knowledge and skills they impart upon students should be relevant and applicable to the current times; thus, I believe it is a teacher’s responsibility to educate in a manner that enhances digital literacy and fluency. It is a well-known fact that learning is most effective when skills are experienced first hand (Briggs & Makice, 2011). Consequently, a number of hands on activities can be devised that aim to increase digital fluency. Howell (2014, p. 134) suggests a combination of digital activities that involve creative, experimental and purposeful components which are well suited to this outcome; examples of these activities may include blogging, animations and spreadsheeting.
It is my opinion that the goal of most teachers is to prepare students for successful participation in society through the development of their literacy, numeracy and critical thinking skills. This now also includes digital literacy which I believe to be one of the foundations for success beyond the classroom.
Briggs, C., & Makice, K. (2011). Digital fluency: building success in the digital age. Retrieved from http://www.socialens.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/01/SociaLens_Digital_Fluency_Sample1.pdf
Howell, J. (2014). Living and Learning in the Digital World Mod 02 03 Week 6. [ilecture]. Retrieved from https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8443/ess/echo/presentation/69320b47-1f26-4f87-ae1c-7ba4e48e0050
Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.
Niessen, S. (2013, April 19). What is digital fluency. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.shuananiessen.ca/what-is-digital-fluency/
Purposeful Technology. (n.d.) Why is digital literacy important. Retrieved from http://purposefultechnology.weebly.com/why-is-digital-literacy-important.html
Socialens. (2011). Digital fluency. [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.socialens.com/blog/2011/02/05/the-difference-between-digital-literacy-and-digital-fluency/
Socialens. (2011). Digital fluency – Two levels of skill. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgaWWp75K64
The Learning Mob. (2013). Digital literacy. [Image]. Retrieved from https://thelearningmob.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/diglit2.jpg