Introduction – This presentation is going to cover the following areas: What is Digital Fluency? – Comparison to Digital Literacy Why do we need to be Digitally Fluent? – we will look at a couple of different models of digital information enquiry and fluency from different researchers Issues involved when teaching Digital Fluency? Steps towards Digital Fluency – Discussing the four stages to digital fluency Where to from here? – as teachers where do we need to go from here? Image: The Difference Between Digital Literacy and Digital Fluency. (2011). Retrieved From www.socialens.com/blog/2011/02/05/the-difference-between-digital-literacy-and-digital-fluency/
What is Digital Fluency? Digital Fluency is the ability to find, evaluate and ethically use digital information efficiently and effectively to solve an information problem (Briggs & Makice, 2011). Briggs & Makice (2011) define digital fluency as the ability to reliably achieve desired outcomes through the use of digital technology. The digitally fluent person knows what to do with technology and how to do it as well as when and why to use it at all.
Digital Literacy has many definitions it is widely agreed to be more than just reading and writing. We need to be able to gather information from any format and make sense of that information, use it, and communicate it to others (Stripling, 2010). Both skills are intertwined in today’s’ society. If you do not understand digital literacy then how can you be fluent at it? Just as if you do not have the prior knowledge required to read then you can not read fluently. We must first understand how to read and interact with digital literacy before we can become fluent at it.
Why? Why do we need to be digitally fluent? There is a large increase in the amount of information that is presented to us in a digital format. The way digital information is presented is also continually changing. Think how many different digital pieces of information have you used today? (Intranet/internet to mark my class roll, internet for research activities with my class, digital phone book, digital calendar, SmartBoard presentation formats to my class) The Australian School Library Association (ALSA) states that technology is ever changing and being able to read or even use a computer is not enough. Our students must be able to evaluate and apply information.
Digital literacy is not enough for our students they need to be able to acquire extra skills that allow them to: connect ideas to personal interests and have a desire to know ask questions that probe beyond simple fact gathering investigating answers from multiple perspectives – constructing effective search strategies for the web, being able to source where information has come from, checking for accuracy of what they have found, ethical participation within in the digital environment. constructing new ideas through a variety of formats – determining the importance of ideas, identifying main ideas and the supporting evidence, combining ideas to support each other. express new ideas to share learning with others - new digital sharing tools change the ways information can be presented. reflect on both the process and product of learning (Stripling, 2010) Constant cycle of information gathering, there is a need to ensure that our students can perform each of these skills to be able to retrieve, understand and communicate information they need to. Images: Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/teachers/tps/quarterly/inquiry_learning/article.html
Digital Information Fluency Model This model is very similar to previous, showing again that the information cycle is continuous and the various stages that we need to teach to students. The red writing shows us the different issues or skills that are involved with each section of the model. These are the skills we need to cover as teachers or teacher librarians. Our students need to be taught to look for ownership, author bias, how to skim text and where and how to search for the information they need to name a few. Image: Gifted Kids May Be Tech Savvy, But Are They Fluent?. (2012). Retrieved from http://ctdblog.northwestern.edu/2012/04/10/gifted-kids-may-be-tech-savvy-but-are-they-fluent/
Issues involved: What issues are involved with digital fluency? Are they any different to digital literacy? In order to teach our students to be digitally fluent we need to be digitally fluent ourselves. How can we teach these skills if we can’t adequately demonstrate them? There are also the typical issues that appear when working with a digital environment such as: reliability of the information, being able to sort through the information and determine what is true and what is fake Absence of gatekeepers – textbooks and journal articles have been peer reviewed and cross referenced. Information on the internet is not always treated the same way as published books etc The manipulation of images that can occur (Miller & Bartlett, 2012) The ethical use of information found – we need to teach students to recognise where their work has come from. There are also the issues of inappropriate content, with students having easier access to an incredible amount of information that is not always pre-checked. Previously with students using published material, it was known what was inside these books, students can now search information and find their own information that has not always been seen by the teacher or teacher librarian beforehand. There are increased skills that are required with becoming fluent in the digital world compared to earlier forms of fluency. This is in addition to each piece of digital technology having different skills in order to become fluent in that piece of technology. These issues will be continually changing as the digital environment changes. PowerPoint 2007 Clipart Image
These issues will continually change as the technologies change, there are issues that will arise in the future that we don’t yet know about. PowerPoint 2007 Clipart Image
Steps to Digital Fluency. First- hand experience is the best way – to develop the knowledge, skills and mindset that will led to fluency Briggs and Makice (2011) discuss four stages of learner in terms of digital fluency Anti-Literacy – rejects the possibility that there could be any use for technology. Trouble typing, searching, using a mouse, difficulty trouble shooting basic computer problems. An anti-literate person is drawn into the next stages because they feel left behind, they eventually realise that digital technologies are serious business and therefore seeing the possibilities. Pre-Literacy – recognises something is to be gained from addressing the lack of ability to use. Understands the different types of potential value of using a technology. Has difficulty using basic tools of digital technology and there are many knowledge gaps when it comes to technology. Motivations to move into the next stage can include finding a digitally literate hero to support them on their journey and when a fluent person makes the technology seem easy to use.
Literacy – have acquired basic abilities that allow the full use of digital technology. Understands the potential value in the use of digital media, they are able to copy other people using the technology. In order to move them to the next stage a literate person wants to make the technology work differently or sees benefits in the possible extra uses, they also might experience a breakdown and realise there are missing tools in their technology tool box they wish to fill. Fluency – understands why the use of digital media is important and when it is appropriate or inappropriate. Able to move from one kind of technology to another to advance the goal, they are able to adapt to the changes in the digital world. They are able to embrace this change. They have the ability to know when and why to use a particular type of technology. In order to move our students through these stages we need to provide opportunities for first hand experiences. PowerPoint 2007 Clipart Image
Where to from here? Students need to be taught skills to allow them to move through these stages in order to become digitally fluent. We need to expose students to many different types of technologies and from an early age. We need to push students beyond the typical poster with typed up information and PowerPoint presentations. We need to consider animations, videos, blogs, websites the list continues. Along with this we need to teach students how to safely and appropriately use technologies such as the internet. SmartBlog on Education. (2012). Retrieved from http://smartblogs.com/education/2012/09/25/solution-fluency/
Conclusion Digital Fluency is an area that is continually changing as new technologies are invented and the uses for technologies change. In order to keep our students up to date with technology we ourselves need to keep up to date. I leave you with 3 questions for thought and discussion.
We need to have a deeper understandingof technologiesImages Ethical ConsiderationsAbsence of GatekeepersInappropriate contentIncrease in the skills needed to be fluent
Issues are not limited to those mentioned.The internet and digital technology is anever changing place and therefore theissues involved are always changing.
Anti – LiteracyRejects the possibility that there could beany use for technologyPre – LiteracyRecognises that there is something to begained if they improve their skills
LiteracyHas acquired basic abilities that allow forthe full use of technologiesFluencyThey are able to know when and why touse different forms of technology.
First hand experiences are the most idealIntroduce and expose students to manydifferent forms of technologiesTeach skills that encourage theresponsible use of theseTechnologies.http://smartblogs.com/education/2012/09/25/solution-fluency/
How can we incorporate technologiesinto our everyday teaching to enhancedigital fluency?Will the issues involved change overtime?Does digital fluency fit in with the currenttrend of 21stcentury learner?
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