Digital Fluency: What’s That?

Male looking confused.
What’s digital fluency?

I didn’t even know that Digital Fluency was a thing until a few weeks ago. How did I miss that? At any rate, it’s got me thinking about my digital literacy and fluency as well as my students’.

How I Make Sense of  Digital Literacy and Fluency:

  • Digital literacy is:
    • using a digital tool to complete a task
    • following instructions/steps required to complete the task
  • Digital fluency is:
    • knowing why a tool is used
    • knowing how a tool works
    • match need to tool – when is it appropriate
    • elevating a task or creating something new with the tools

 From the SAMR Lens:

  • I’d suggest that digital literacy resides at the Substitution and Augmentation phases. In this case, faculty might use edtech for an analog+ experience e.g., encouraging students to take notes and saving them to the cloud.
  • Digital fluency would then live at the Modification and Redefinition phases. In this case Faculty might “appsmash” a variety of tools to create a completely new type of learning experience.  The challenge with these phases is having a breathed of understanding. (BTW, last summer I created smashed Nearpod, Flipgrid, O365, for an synchronous session. It took some choreography, but I appreciated knowing the analytics behind the students’ interaction with the tools.)

My Digital Fluency:

I’ve been working towards my digital fluency for the past 5 years while I worked in e-learning, IT, and as part-time faculty. I likely chased a few too many “sparkly” apps, but on the other hand, it helped me get to the place I am today.  Now, I’m in a position to streamline my digital edu ecosystem to only those that meet my requirements (like access, accessibility, and UDL).

Students’ Fluency:

I typically ask my students to use specific tools and applications to execute a variety of industry associated tasks, but seldom do I take a step back to assess the tool with them.  Why was a tool selected?  How does it compare to other similar tools?  Who built it and from what ideology were they working?  If I’m going to help students become digitally fluent, then I need to find ways to include them in the conversation rather than just providing them with a curation of digital tools. This also applies to content too. How do I include them in the discussion about content selection?  Why are we using a particular textbook, video, or article?

How are we going to make time for all of this thinking and conscious decisions?


This is post 8/9, in participation with ecampusontario’s #9x9x25 challenge  Other recent posts include:  Classroom Greetings: I Yearn for a Fancy Handshake and Accessible Documents: Make it a Combo 


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