Digital technologies play an increasingly important role in our daily lives as it is relevant in every aspect of our everyday activities. Digital technologies are significant in almost all our daily lives, ranging from mobile phones to laptops and tablets or digital music players. In schools, many learning resources such as materials for activities, video and audio materials, software’s and electronic books are available in the form of digital information. Therefore, to enable students to survive in a world driven by digital technology, there is a need for student’s digital skills to be fluent. Moreover, there is a need for students to make meaning out of the digital information made available to them and this can be achieved by improving the competency of the student’s computer skills. In other words, for students to become actively engaged in learning, and to survive in a world that is driven by digital technology, there is a need for students to become digitally fluent.
According to Spencer (2015) below, digital fluency involves a combination of digital proficiency, digital literacy, and social competence. Spencer (2015) further explained digital proficiency as the ability to comprehend, choose and use technological systems. On the same hand, digital literacy involves cognitive competency which incorporates the ability to read, create, evaluate and make judgments while using technological systems. Also, social competence involves the ability to effectively relate and communicate with others. Howell (2012) explained digital fluency as the development of proficiency in key programs and digital technologies as well as recreational tools such as gaming consoles.
White (2013) argued that the internet has changed the way people find information and the way they communicate, changes to the way students learn. Therefore, to enable students to become actively engaged in technologically influenced learning, there is a need for students to become digitally fluent. Spencer (2015) also emphasized that it is essential to be digitally fluent in other to keep ourselves safe online and also to be able to work, manage finances and become part of the society.
Howell (2012) suggested the checklist of digital fluency by the end of early secondary to include:
- Proficient use of word, power point, excel
- Ability to use some higher level technology programs such as flash and front page.
- Ability to create videos
- Proficiency in web searching such as truncation and data mining
- Experience in blogging, Wikis, and RSS feeds, among others.
Moreover, some programming language such as scratch among others can be adopted in the classroom for creating games, animations, and interactive stories.
The implications of the relevance of digital fluency to learning are such that teachers need to be aware of the skills and digital technology abilities required and then work towards developing themselves.
The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) (2010), requirements for information and technology capability demands students to learn the use of information and communication technology effectively. This is to enable the students to create and communicate information, solve problems, and also limit the risks to themselves and others in a digital environment. Hence, Teachers need to possess high-level digital fluency in other to be able to produce students with the technological skills demanded by the curriculum and required to survive in the 21st century.