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Digital Literacy vs Digital Fluency


Digital fluency is different to digital literacy.

Being ‘digitally literate’ means having the skills to make and create meaning, and select the right technologies to do so. Being digitally fluent however, requires the ability to not only select the right technology but also know what to do with the tools, and be able to explain why they work in the way they do and how they might adapt what they do if the context changes.

Here is an example. The tools achieve the same outcomes but the contexts are different.

Yesterday I presented two digital literacy classes. One to a team based in Johannesburg and Pretoria the other to a team based in Paris and Boston. My tool of choice? Zoom. Chosen because of the functionality to present online classes, eg sharing a mobile phone screen for real-time demos.

This morning I have a WhatsApp video call scheduled with someone nearby. Why WhatsApp? Because that is where the individual reached out to me, which dramatically reduces the friction to connect via video. After that I have a Facebook Messenger Group call with a team based just outside of Sydney. Why Messenger? That’s where I was contacted and again a group call in that environment has the least friction. The parties use Messenger and group calls rock on the platform. This afternoon another literacy class with teams in Pretoria and Stellenbosch. Again on Zoom.

So all the above are video calls but using different platforms based on the context.

Choosing video technology, requires digital literacy. Knowing when to use which platform depending on the context requires digital fluency.