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Digital fluency and Digital Technologies - what do these mean? 

Primary and secondary schools are in various stages of clarifying common understandings about digital fluency, digital literacy, learning with, through and about ICTs/e-Learning or Digital Technologies. So what does it all mean?

Digital literacy and digital fluency

Digital literacy and digital fluency describes students' capability in using digital technologies to achieve desired learning outcomes. Further detailed explanations and breakdown of this can be found in Enabling e-Learning Digital fluency page and Enabling e-Learning forum: How can we foster digital fluency?

In her blog post, What is digital fluency, Karen Spencer clarifies how 'fluency' is broader than 'literacy' and in Digital Fluency, Literacy or Technology: what’s the difference? James Hopkins also adds a digitally fluent person also understands who the learning audience is and, as a result, how to create the most impact. In Three tips for becoming a digitally fluent educator, Derek Wenmoth clarifies the progressions from proficiency to fluency beautifully in this diagram below, where being digitally fluent has an element of ‘unconscious competence’.

Digital literacy progressions

Image source: Three tips for becoming a digitally fluent educator

Some rich examples of how teachers and students have been using ICTs and e-learning to facilitate and support learning gain digital literacies and develop digital fluency can be seen in Enabling e-Learning’s Media galleryWhile schools are working towards digital fluency, they’re also asking, what’s the difference between ICT/e-learning capabilities and Digital Technologies?

In the following diagram from the Kia Takatū ā-Mātihiko, National Digital Readiness Programme, we see a clarification that,

e-Learning capability supports leaders to be ‘effective users of technology’ while Digital Technologies enables students to build skills and capability so they can be innovative creators of digital solutions.

This relies on and extends e-learning/ICT capability, moving students beyond being solely users and consumers of digital technologies.

Put simply, Tim Bells explains:

Digital Fluency is about understanding how to use digital technologies.

Digital Technologies is about learning to be a creator in the digital world, not just learning to use systems.

Digital Technologies is NOT about learning WITH technology (e-learning), it’s learning ABOUT technology.

As part of the Technology Learning area, schools are expected to be implementing the new Digital Technologies curricula by 2020, so students learn to be innovative developers of products and systems and discerning consumers who will make a difference in the world. (A Nation of Curious Minds fact sheet: Digital Technologies current positioning of Digital Technologies in the New Zealand Curriculum). Over the next two terms, we’ll be exploring these areas in more detail, while celebrating what we’re doing well already.

Teachers workshopping

What connections are you and your teachers making to e-Learning, ICT capabilities and the new Digital Technology curricula areas?

Image attribution: Digital Media and Learning Flickr


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 10 Aug 2018 10:52am ()

    Here's our latest interview with a Guru: Catherine Johnson, Project Lead, Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko | Digital Readiness Programme where we asked Catherine:

    • What do you think teachers are doing well with DTs?
    • What should they focus on when addressing the new DT | HM curricula?
    • Where can they go for help?

    We'd love your feedback on this mahi smiley

    If you’re currently considering what kinds of PLD is right for you and your staff, then see the PLD support processes in relation to digital technologies with links to various levels of readiness, so that you can opt for the PLD support that’s 'best fit' for you, ie:

    • Digital fluency support: Our school/kura needs support so that all teachers can confidently use Digital Technologies in their teaching and learning programmes across the curriculum.
    • Nationwide Digital Readiness Programme: We want to know what the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum is all about
    • Tailored CF PLD support for DT | HM: We understand and are ready to integrate the new digital technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content within our school based curriculum.

    Why not visit Kiatakau and complete the Self Review Tool and find out what can work for you.

    Also see:

  • Cassandra Reyburn (View all users posts) 10 Aug 2018 3:24pm ()

    Fantastic!  Great break down of the PLD options available for schools, Catherine.  Ngā mihi, Cassandra

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 14 Aug 2018 2:44pm ()

    Thank you- it took me a while to visit this interview- it has been starred in my in box for a while now.

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e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

Exploring leadership for change, vision, policy and strategy that integrates ICTs into learning.