Being digitally fluent is a skill that children in this digital world need to possess. As Karen Spencer points out in her blog about digital fluency (2015), being fluent means more than being literate, it is being able to select the appropriate tools for a job, whilst also being able to explain how and why they work.
I entered the workforce with a very basic understanding of computers and the internet, the impact of this technology was yet to be realised. 20 years on technology has advanced so much with the invention of social media and mobile devices that it has become embedded in our lives. Being taught the skills necessary to be a successful participant in this new world are absolutely essential. In White’s (2013) report he suggests introducing a digital fluency class for students K-12 so that they can learn the practical skills they will need to interact successfully, and stay safe in this globally connected world.
To start students on their journey to digital fluency I, as their teacher, need to think about how I can include internet use and social media to enhance my lessons. I need to listen to the children and find out where their interests lie but I also need to be, as Howell (2012) puts it, techno-fearless! Students should be allowed scaffolded play with technology wherever possible.
As Howell (2012) points out, children need to be proficient in a wide range of technologies. The importance of being proficient in digital technology is certainly not lost on students of today like it was once for me. We need to keep up with the technology available to students today so they can be prepared to enter the workforce and take up a role that may not even exist yet.
Karen Spencer’s blog post about digital fluency: https://karenmelhuishspencer.com/2015/10/30/what-is-digital-fluency/
Howell, J., (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press
TEDx Talks. (2012, March 22). The essential elements of digital literacies: Doug Belshaw at TEDxWarwick. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watchv=A8yQPoTcZ78&list=PLSXiRL8TtaWsEm2MVk4xWVqn0oExopump&index=2
White, G. K., (2013) Digital fluency: skills necessary for learning in the digital age. Melbourne: ACER Retrieved from http://research.acer.edu.au/digital_learning/6/