Students Need Digital Fluency

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Vocabulary is important.  In my last posting, I wrote about the technology levels I observe in schools and that largely these waste time and money.  We need effective steps based on strong trends. 

Students need more than skills, they need digital fluency.  Frequently schools focus too much on “Internet Safety,” rather than looking a strong fluencies students should have.  With those fluencies, students are aware of their “safety.”  My list of digital fluencies for students include:

  • Manage a positive personal reputation
  • Protect the privacy of others
  • Value relationships with others
  • Respect the ownership of intellectual property
  •   Manage personal safety
  • Protect the technology at school

 Manage Personal Reputation: Increasingly as students progress through school, they will have more freedom from their parents and schools.  They should produce a positive digital foot print on the Internet and manage it appropriately.

Protect the Privacy of Others:  Students should not post every piece of gossip they hear or read as well as not post photos that are could be embarassing to them or to others.  This speaks directly to the heart of sexting.

Value Relationships with Others:  Just because we can post the picture or write the posting doesn’t mean we should.  Further it speaks directly to cyberbullying.

Respect the Ownership of Intellectual Property:  Normally students learn about this from the negative side, plagiarism.  Students should learn the rules of the road for scholarship, that include attribution.  I don’t often see the rules of scholarship presented in a positive manner.
Manage Personal Safety:  This is the safety issue that is primary focus of many Internet iniatives in school.  It is important, yet not at the top of the list.
 Protect the Technology at School:  Teach them about stewardship of resources.
Here’s a start of an outline about digital fluencies. 
 Some may call these skills.  To me fluency is easily used and refined because of repeated use in real situations.



  1. I agree wholeheartedly, and have even dedicated this as the year of Digital Literacy for our adult students. However, I really prefer the term ‘Digital Fluency’ as it is a clearer mandate. So much of our society revolves around the need for tech skills. Even jobs can only be applied for online, and those without tech skills face the same challenges as those without reading skills.

    1. Jeffrey L. Hunt – Jeffrey L. Hunt is an educational technologist living in suburban Chicago. When he's not learning about and implementing technology in classes, he's running or looking at the stars.
      Jeffrey L. Hunt says:

      As educators we use terms like “fluency” for reading and “automaticity” for mathematics. The language and action around learning with technology should be as strong.

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