Is Fluency the New Literacy?

Categories: Trends

Information literacy” has been the most common term used to describe how to educate students in technology, in digital technologies in particular.  But more recently fluency may be replacing literacy as the best description of the goal achieved by education in technology.  The 21st Century Fluency Project make the following distinction:

To be literate means to have knowledge or competence. To be fluent is something a little more, it is to demonstrate mastery and to do so unconsciously and smoothly.

Being Fluent with Information Technology (1999), an report authored by the National Research Council Committee on Information Technology Literacy describes fluency with information technology as:

a deeper, more essential understanding and mastery of information technology for information processing, communication, and problem solving than does computer literacy as traditionally defined.

Educause has compiled a list of Digital Fluencies that include articles on a variety of new  literacies, but also articles suggesting more fundamental changes (see: Understanding Students Who Were ‘Born Digital’, Revolutionizing Learning in the Digital Age), changes that deserve a new vocabulary.

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