Dean of Learning

Digital Literacy and Digital Fluency

How do you store your family photos?  Do you still have a photo album or are all your photos digital? If you have an album, what is your process for choosing photos to print and place in an album?  If you only have digital photos how do you manage them? How often do you take them off your phone or do you use a camera? Do you have both because you are not sure which way to jump?

These types of questions can be applied to many aspects of life and learning.  Do you keep a paper diary or schedule your life through your phone and laptop?  If you have to write something that requires deep thinking do you start with pen and paper, go straight to the word processor or make some notes on your phone?

Your answers to these questions relate in part to your digital literacy and digital fluency.

Digital literacy “refers specifically to the range of skills, knowledge and competencies required to operate effectively in a world immersed in digital technologies.” CORE Education

At Loreto Normanhurst we have had success in normalising the use of technology for appropriate age-specific, learner-centred, digital literacy.  Now we are turning our attention to building digital fluent students who  “can decide when to use specific digital technologies to achieve their desired outcome… and can articulate why the tools they are using will provide their desired outcome.”  Ministry of education NZ TKI Te Kete Ipurangi

How do we create digital fluency in our students? We encourage the girls to leverage technology to create new knowledge, deal with new challenges and issues, at the same time complementing critical and creative thinking, complex problem solving and social intelligence within and beyond the school gate.

Digital fluency flows into student learning, for example, through understanding data, leveraging digital tools of communication and in their digital creativity:

  1. In an era of information overload, having digital data fluency is crucial. Students need to develop the capacity to use data to make informed decisions, ask more questions and develop deeper learning. For example, students sometimes only look at the final mark of an assessment task.   As they become fluent in interpreting and using data they can break down performance in multiple choice, short answer and extended written responses to measure improvement.
  2. In learning students need to be digitally fluent in communication. Discerning the appropriate digital media resources while identifying bias, errors of omission and facts requires a savviness in using digital tools.  A digitally fluent student can tell her story by making her presentation in person but she is also required to use digital storytelling skills whether it be in an assessment in school, a tutorial presentation at university or a marketing lobby in the work environment.  This requires not only the ability to use but create material, for example, through social media, augmented reality, QR Codes, blogs, wikis, survey software, infographics, screen capture videos podcasts and videos.
  3. Students can be digitally fluent by leveraging digital tools to creatively undertake tasks and activities. Instead of taking notes they can creatively learn their work by using the mind mapping software ‘Inspiration’ to sort the logic of their ideas and learning. Alternatively, they can audio record their notes and listen to them at their desk, in the backyard, on the back deck, in the gym or on a walk/run.

It is most important to encourage face-to-face conversations, use a pen and paper, keep a photo album and handwrite a journal and maintain an analogue diary. Likewise, it is important to be abreast of and use the digital tools which can assist learning at school and to this end we have been successful in building the digital literacy of our students.

We are still on the journey of attaining digital fluency across the curriculum whereby students know which digital tools to use for what purposes. We are confident we are on a path that will help the girls’ learning and life skills and we encourage the community to walk with us.


Mr Martin Pluss

Dean of Learning