My Digital Fluency blog

J Howell states, and I paraphrase, Digital Fluency is acquired largely by trial and error, and can be difficult to quantify, and she goes on to suggest that students should be exposed to as many different technologies and forms in an academic year. (1)

We as teachers have to find ways to take our students through as many of the available technologies as we can, develop their knowledge and fluency with these technologies, and at the same time reassure them that what they have learned, though it will likely be obsolete in a few years, is not wasted learning, but the foundation for future learning.

“Digital Fluency is defined as the competencies, new representational practices, design sensibilities, and technical expertise that a learner gains or demonstrates by using digital tools to gather, design, evaluate, critique, synthesize, and develop digital media artefacts, communication messages, or other electronic expressions” (Hsi, Pinkard, & Woolsey, 2005).

Part of this fluency development could be to take the student from a technology that they are familiar with, eg their smartphone which they use mainly for texting, and introduce them to new applications on the same device. This may be maps, to use for directions. They can also record places visited on a holiday. The calendar function can also be used as a diary. Most young people already know how to download or listen to music on their smart phone, but the challenge for the teacher is to stay up to date with technology as it develops, and to find ways to impart this new knowledge to the students. As I have said most students are fluent in their areas of interest. It would be a great learning tool if they were encouraged to develop and share their knowledge in the classroom.

We have computers available for use in a lot of classrooms. These can be used as investigative tools. We can encourage searching for complementary applications to the ones we are familiar with. This will reinforce the student’s self-belief that they have capabilities. There are many different art related applications to be experimented with. We have digital calculators these days, compare these to slide rules, logarithm tables and the old abacus. Encourage the students to be daring and challenging.

(283 words)


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