Every person who uses digital technology does so with varying levels of competency and understanding, and how well they utilize them is known as digital fluency. Digital fluency has been described as being able to reliably achieve a desired outcome through using digital technology, selecting the right tools and using multiple tools in combination (Tougher, 2013). Being an educator in a digital world means that it is critical for us to be digitally fluent in order to be able to help our own students learn to become digital fluent or keep up with them, adapting new teaching strategies.
Today’s students are vastly different from the ones a decade ago, advancements in technology have rapidly changed the world we live in and the children growing up in this new world are called digital natives. They study, work, write and interact with each other in ways that are different from the way many educators did growing up, reading blogs rather than newspapers, meeting online rather before in person, getting music online rather than in record stores and send instant messages rather than make a call (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008). Their lives are mediated by digital technologies and such as in their social interactions, friendships and civic activities (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008).
With being digitally fluent being essential to success in the workplace and modern life, digital fluency is emerging as a necessary component of curricula across the globe (Briggs, 2014). Teaching a new generation of digital natives requires the modern educator to acquire a good level of digital fluency so that they may use new digital technologies to facilitate learning and teach their students to be digitally fluent themselves. Teaching strategies that can help build digital fluency in learners include asking students to independently acquire content knowledge via online research, create scaffolding challenges that gets them started and teach themselves to complete the project by learning to navigate online sources, and encourage student collaboration to share solutions (Holland, 2013).
Growing up as digital natives means that many of them have a high level of digital fluency, although this may not be the case due to the digital divide. This means that educators need to be digitally fluent themselves and understand why it is important in education and know how to create new teaching strategies in order to teach students digital fluency as well.
Digital fluency: skills necessary for learning in the digital age.
Inspiring all Australians in Digital literacy and STEM.
Briggs, S. (2014). 20 Things Educators Need To Know About Digital Literacy Skills. Retrieved from http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/digital-literacy-skills/
Department of Education and Training. (2016). Inspiring all Australians in digital literacy and STEM. Retrieved from https://www.education.gov.au/inspiring-all-australians-digital-literacy-and-stem
Holland, B. (2013). Building Technology Fluency: Preparing Students to be Digital Learners. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/building-tech-fluency-digital-learners-beth-holland
Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2008). EXCERPT. Retrieved from http://www.borndigitalbook.co m/excerpt.php
Tougher, M. (2013). Digital Fluency Introduction. Retrieved from https://prezi.com/ahhv 6iwm1sdp/digital-fluency-introduction/
White, G. K. (2013). Digital fluency : skills necessary for learning in the digital age. Retrieved from http://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=digital_learning