3 November 2016

Digital Media Fluencies

Time and time again I see how institutions portray long lists of requirements for candidates. Sometimes there is even a mention of how they want candidates who can work with technology and electronic environments - which, in other words, is really whether candidates are able to work with the institution's LMS and other means of internal communication platforms.  Never do I see mentions of one's approaches to digital literacies. Never do I hear questions regarding digital citizenship and learners. 

At times I also see how being able to use an institution's LMS and communication platforms seem to be the one and only skill understood as being able to work with technology. Which begs the question - what about learners using digital tools for learning? What about digital writing and its implications for learning?

In regard to a report on Digital Literacy, Maha Bali poses the following question:

"(...) Who is going to champion students in their  use of these tools in critical and creative ways? Don’t we need teachers with digital literacies to do so, or support and consultation on helping teachers develop these literacies themselves? The “Literacy Across Disciplines” section does call for curricular integration but there is no advice on how to do that – it simply says “In some ways, digital literacy as curriculum is the most ambitious version of digital literacy as implementing it requires a broad-ranging curricular redesign”. This is not enough. We will need people to enact changes of this scale. People with skills yes, but more importantly, people who have an understanding and respect for the complexity surrounding the relationship between digital literacies and digital tools." 

Oddly enough, it is those skills which never seem to be touched upon in many recruitment processes. Equally baffling to me is how the discussion of digital writing is often left unspoken, as if it is something taken for granted - yet not always understood. As Sean Michael Morris points out:

"We approach digital writing as if it is the same as our old familiar writing. But as our occupation of the digital continues, we discover the only familiarity left is our approach."

 These are the skills that will be called upon when learners join the workplace. These are skills not for tomorrow but for today. 

Digital media fluencies are an integral part of our lives today and of our students' learning process - learning not only from a restricted syllabus in a classroom, but learning with everything which surrounds us, and that includes the digital world. Especially the digital world. 

I also think that one cannot really talk about digital media fluencies without touching upon
digital identity and digital citizenship - elements of learning which require reflection and discussion in classrooms.

Nevertheless, these are conversations which I rarely see invited and open- other than on the web. I am left with questions, wondering about those long lists of requirements which do not include the world of today nor the needs and interests of our students. I am left wondering about the true contemporary dynamics of educational institutions who understand the practice of digital technologies as the ability to use their moodles and internal communication platforms only. 

As for resources related to digital media fluencies and digital citizenship, why not check these links below which contain great videos for lessons and discussions:

6 Great Videos for Teaching Media Fluency

For colleagues teaching ESP or at Higher Ed, why not explore  Top Universities Video Search Site where you can find a wealth of video resources for you and your students.

How do you embed digital fluencies in your classroom practices?

Further Suggestions:

If you are interested in learning more about Digital Literacies (and more), why not follow 

DIGITAL PEDAGOGY - A community of educators, thinkers, writers


  1. Just wanted to ensure u know thar the article you're citing is co-authored with Lee Bessette and Autumm Caines - also worth following

    1. Thank you Maha! I have it here as well (http://www.scoop.it/t/voices-in-the-feminine)