Digital fluency is a trait students and teachers alike must have, in order to be successful in our contemporary digital world. According to Wenmoth (2015), digital fluency can be thought of as showing knowledge and confidence in applying and using digital technology.
Whilst print media continues to this day in the form of textbooks, worksheets etc in classrooms around the world, the Internet gives students and teachers significantly more efficient access to information and activities which have the potential to enrich the contemporary pedagogy. In terms of communication, text and images are transmitted through digital media at larger volumes and at much higher speeds today. Additionally, with newspaper, magazine and all print media sales declining, as well as Amazon selling more electronic books than print books, it is clear digital media, and by extension digital fluency is becoming increasingly important, particularly in education (White, 2013).
From a student point of view, it is obvious that the internet has become their primary source of information access and communication (ABS, 2011). However, The Australian Parliamentary report (2011) raised numerous issues that children encounter on the Internet; while not exhaustive, the list is as follows: cyberbullying, illegal content e.g. pornography, gambling, violence, as well as privacy and identity theft. In essence, students are already sufficiently literate in terms of digital media; they are able to easily search for and acquire information via the internet, however to raise this digital literacy to digital fluency, teachers need to highlight the risks and dangers of using the internet, as well as how to avoid them.
Of course, the Australian Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) have already implemented ICT components into the curriculum (ACARA, 2011). For example, in Mathematics: Specialist, investigations are a key assessment component where students are required to research a particular topic not listed on the curriculum, but still relevant e.g. Taylor and Fourier series, Euler’s formula etc, in mathematics set by the teacher, and present their findings in the form of a report, as well as a quiz to test their knowledge.
Tools students and teachers can use include SCRATCH; a program developed at MIT which enables students to animate a “Sprite” to present a story, as well as use various music and sounds to enhance the presentation. This program hence allows students to develop their logical thinking, problem solving and creative skills through application. It is applicable to almost all subjects offered. For example, for social science subjects such as history and politics and law, students can use SCRATCH to demonstrate and recreate historical events. It is also useful in science subjects such as physics, as students can recreate various theories such as Einstein’s theory of special relativity, or physical phenomena, such as waveforms or electric circuits.
ABS. (2011). Online @ Home. In 4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, Jun 2011. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features50Jun+201 1.
Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (ACARA). (2011). NAPLAN. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu.au/NAPLAN/index.html.
Wenmoth, D. (2015). Information fluency and our digital aspiration. Retrieved from http://blog.core-ed.org/derek/2015/03/information-fluency.html
White, G.K. (2013). Digital fluency: skills necessary for learning in the digital age. Melbourne: ACER. Retrieved from http://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=digital_learning