What digital technology have you used today? If you really think about it, you may find you used it for small, insignificant purposes. Does it play a major role in your life? Where would you be without it? For many of us, digital technology plays a major role in our lives. We keep screens in our hands, in our purses and backpacks, next to our beds, and surround ourselves with them at desks or when relaxing.
Carr (as cited in White, 2013) argues that man-made innovations, like digital technologies and the internet, can affect the structure of the human brain. We are developing the necessary skill set required for function in a technology-rich, 21st century world.
Digital fluency involves using technology “readily and strategically to learn, to work, and to play, and the infusion of technology in teaching and learning to improve outcomes for all students” (Government of Saskatchewan, 2012, para. 1). You may have heard of “digital literacy”, which is the ability to make and create meaning with digital tools (Spencer, 2015). To be digitally fluent, we need to be able to show confidence and wisdom in our application of digital technologies to our tasks and activities. Fluency allows us to explain why certain tools work in particular ways, and how they can be adapted for particular contexts. It requires a much higher level of thinking (Spencer, 2015). As society continues to change and advance, the list of skills that students require to actively engage in a technology rich world is growing and evolving. Digital fluency is vital to developing as a 21st century learner.
Spencer (2015) writes that digital fluency relates to issues of responsibility, equity, and access. We all have the right to participate in a technology-based education and an increasingly digitised society as active citizens. If we operate with fluency and confidence in technological pursuits, we can maintain safe practices and take full advantage of the opportunities in front of us (Spencer, 2015).
An increasing number of services are gradually moving online, for example insurance, banking, retail, voting, health, and human services. We are encouraged to ring customer service lines and to conduct our business online, limiting face-to-face interaction. It is crucial that people develop their digital fluency skills to avoid being left behind by technology, preventing access to the vital services they require.
Fitz & Pirillo. (n.d.). Comic strip [Image]. Retrieved from http://sarahmaycqu.blogspot.com.au/2010/11/learning-theory.html
Government of Saskatchewan. (2012). Digital fluency. Retrieved from http://www.education.gov.sk.ca/Instruction/digital-fluency
Spencer, K. (2015). What is digital fluency? Retrieved from http://blog.core-ed.org/blog/2015/10/what-is-digital-fluency.html
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