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Posts Tagged ‘fluency

There is much we can learn from newspapers. Perhaps not so much from the news but from the mistakes they make.

STonline tweeted these two videos of an interview with our Prime Minister. The tweets are a teachable moment on the need for digital skills, literacy, and fluency.

Poor optics.

Optics is everything in politics and policymaking. If you take a look at the original screenshot, our PM does not look his best in both thumbnails.

Had the ST folk(s) the skills to select a better thumbnail in the video? Did they know they could do this or upload a better image to represent the video? This is a basic digital skill that one must have to share embedded videos on behalf of an organisation.

Did the tweeter or social media team have the digital literacy to consider how the current screen grabs send a different message from the ones in text? Do they know the importance of optics? Do they possess the ability to recognise when and why to apply their digital skills?

Can the people behind the tweets strategise and apply their skills without being told? Have they practically forgotten that they possess these skills and apply sound strategies automatically? This is digital fluency.

I have shared a teachable moment. Is this a learnable moment for the ST team? How about teachers who are responsible for far more prosumers (producer-consumers)?

YouTube relies on algorithms to guess what videos you might be interested in and make recommendations.

While it is machine intelligent, it does not yet have human intuit, nuance, and idiosyncrasies.

All I need to do is search for or watch a YouTube video I do not look for regularly and it will appear in my “Recommended” list. For example, if I search for online timers for my workshop sites, YouTube will recommend other timers.


Video source

If I watch a clip of a talk show host that I normally do not follow, YouTube seems to think I have a new interest and will pepper my list with random clips of that person.

This happens so often that I have taken to visiting my YouTube history immediately after I watch anything out of the ordinary and deleting that item. If I do not, my carefully curated recommendations get contaminated.

Some might argue that the algorithms help me discover more and new content. I disagree. I can find that on my own as I rely on the recommendations of a loose, wide, and diverse social network to do this.

YouTube’s algorithms cannot yet distinguish between a one-time search or viewing and a regular pattern. It cannot determine context, intent, or purpose.

Until it does, I prefer to manage my timeline and recommendations and I will show others how to do the same. This is just one of the things from a long list of digital literacies and fluencies that all of us need to do in the age of YouTube.

Let us imagine that you are an adult learner who wants to keep learning, but are not looking for academic qualifications. What do you do?

If you go with most agencies, they will likely offer you courses or modules. These might lead up to something or they might be self-contained. But they are still not designed with you in mind because there are desired outcomes, learning objectives, and curricula determined by someone else.

What are you looking for does not quite exist in the schooling and vendor realms. Instead what you need is designed with two main principles: Just-in-time (JIT) and just-for-me (JFE).

What you need is experiences. An extended vacation might do the trick if you travel light and learn on the run. If you stay in a place where the residents do not speak your native tongue, then you might pick up a new language.

But that is not the bi- or multilingualism I am thinking most people need to experience.
 

 
I see the wisdom of thought leaders who suggest that kids be comfortable in one or more programming language. That is something a school or vendor can help provide. A very motivated individual can also learn this on his or her own thanks to the multitude of books and online resources on programming.

Without this language, most individuals can problem-seek. But armed with the ability to program well, individuals have one more tool with which to problem-solve.
 

 
The older adult learner is unlikely to want or need programming language skills. So what experiences might they invest in?

I suggest being fluent in the daily language of operating systems. The dominant ones are Windows and Mac OS on larger screens, and Android and iOS on smaller screens. We might throw Chrome OS on both screens for good measure.

Being conversant in more than one operating system language can help older learners problem-seek and problem-solve on any major computing platform.

If you need to book that vacation, can you do the research, take notes, seek advice, book a cheap flight, and get the ideal Airbnb place on desktop and mobile devices? Do you know the merits or demerits on each platform?

Now imagine having to offer your services or wishing to stay relevant to clients who are likely on different platforms. You might create an online presence on one platform, but does it look the way you want it to on another? You can only know for sure if you are comfortable, or better still, fluent in all major OS languages.

This is why I have no qualms about investing in various devices with different operating systems. They create learning opportunities just-for-me and just-in-time.

When articles run on techie sites or blogs about devices running a particular operating system, there will invariably be a comment war where one side slimes the other. This is as pointless as arguing whether one language is better than another.

The more you learn, the more you realize how they are more the same than different. Then the fights seem small-minded and petty.

Stages of Digital Fluency by kmakice, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  kmakice 

 
Some weeks ago, the folks at #edsg revisited the topic of being digitally literate vs being digitally fluent. I am not sure how much new ground we created but we certainly unearthed some key resources.

At a much earlier conversation, I bookmarked Digital Information Fluency (FAQs) and The Difference Between Digital Literacy and Digital Fluency.

Both are useful starters and anyone can define these terms reasonably and differently. I borrow from these resources to define digital literacy (DL) and fluency (DF).

The FAQs define DF simply as “the ability to find, evaluate and ethically use digital information efficiently and effectively to solve an information problem”. It goes on to say that DF has elements of information literacy (IL) and technological literacy (TL).

I like to think of IL as building on the ability to read and write in order to search for, analyze, evaluate, and create resources. If you have TL, you have the skills to help with the searching, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. To borrow from the second article, you know what to use and how to use it. For me DL=IL+TL.

According to the second resource, if you have DF, you also know when and why to use (or not use) a tool or strategy. If pushed for examples, I might suggest that when searching you know when and why to use Google, Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia, or YouTube.

A logical analogy is language ability. If you are literate, you know how to converse or to write sentences. You might be able to compose and propose.

But if you are fluent, you tell and get jokes that only a cunning linguist might take a licking liking to. You do not just read; you read in between. You do not just speak or write; you persuade and change.

Someone who possesses DF will be able to not just search effectively but also know to archive and possibly curate. When asked to recall or recommend, the digitally fluent need only reach for his/her network, archive, or curated work in order to inform and convince.

It might still be difficult to distinguish between DL and DF because they lie on a long continuum. But just like how we can tell someone who is literate from someone who is fluent, you can tell the difference DL and DF.

In one case you have the knowledgeable. In the other you have the knowledge-able.


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