Digital Fluency

The requirement to be digitally fluent is growing, and teachers play an important role of ensuring their students have the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to succeed in a digital world (White, 2013). A digitally fluent individual is one who is competent across a wide spectrum of technology, and who has the ability to understand and critically assess both the technology, but also the vast amount of information available (Bartlett & Miller, 2011; Briggs, 2014; Howell, 2014). As students progress through their schooling, it is not enough to have a basic skill set in one technological area; they are required make sophisticated choices, collaborate, manipulate and see the connections and contexts of various forms of technology (Holland, 2013; A Digital Decade, 2007).

(SociaLens, 2011)

Teachers do not need to be experts in all digital technology (Howell, 2014, McKenzie, 2000) however their experience with, and their beliefs about technology, have a significant impact on their use and inclusion of digital resources as a classroom tool (Hermans, Tondeur ,van Braak & Valcke, 2008). As an educator you need to be open minded and willing to engage with technology to use it as resource and tool in the classroom (McKenzie, 2000). Primary aged children will require support and education in more basic areas of technology, but it is equally important to engage children with using technology to construct their own new understanding to their existing knowledge (Hermans et al, 2008). By incorporating technology an educator can introduce the primary school student to the subject matter using an engaging tool to promote creative and analytical thinking (Howell, 2014). As children progress into secondary school, students need to learn to evaluate the validity of the information they find in order to become truly digitally fluent (Bartlett & Miller, 2011).


A digital decade. (2007). Education Week, 26(30), 8-9. Retrieved from

Bartlett, J., & Miller, C. (2011) Truth, lies and the internet: a report into young people’s digital fluency. Retrieved from:

Briggs, S. (2014) 20 things educators need to know about digital literacy. Retrieved from:

Hermans, R., Tondeur, J. ,van Braak, J., and Valcke, M. (2008) The impact of primary school teachers’ educational beliefs on the classroom use of computers, Computers & Education, Volume 51, Issue 4, December 2008, Pages 1499-1509, ISSN 0360-1315, Retrieved from:

Howell, J. (2014) Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (2005) Digital Information Fluency Model [Image] Retrieved from:

McKenzie, W. (2000) Are you a techno-constructivist? Retrieved from:

Holland, B. (2013). Fluency: preparing students to be digital learners. Retrieved from:

SociaLens (2011, February 5) Re: The difference between digital literacy and digital fluency.[Web log] Retrieved from:

White, Gerald K., (2013)”Digital fluency : skills necessary for learning in the digital age”

Using app Fun English as a Teaching Resource

Fun English, is an app developed by Study Cat Limited, and is available on both iOS and Android devices. A free download of 1 lesson and 6 learning games is available and additional lessons can be purchased.

Name of teaching resource
Fun English, is an app developed by Study Cat Limited
Weblink (if web based) or has more information.

Who should this digital teaching resource be used with? (ie year/grade)
Studycat Limited states that the app is aimed at children aged 3 to 10 years old (2013).
How should it be used? (e.g. individual, whole class)
The app uses games and fun activities to get children interested in learning to read, spell and speak English at an individual level (, 2013; Dunn, n.d.).
Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?
This would best be suited to children learning English as a first or second language. It aims to improve their reading, vocabulary, listening skills, pronunciation and spelling (, 2013). It engages the child by being a fun game with colour and movement that can motivate and stimulate learning (Howell, 2014; Norton & Wiburg as cited in Marsh, 2014, p.188).
Identify the strengths of this teaching resourceIt is teaching the child English language skills as part of a fun activity, using the knowledge of concepts a child already possesses, allowing them to focus on the lesson (Dunn, n.d.). For example, the child may know the colour red, so having a red background, whilst saying red and showing the letters helps the child build on the concept of the colour. Finally, it has parental locks ensure security for the parents so that children cannot purchase additional modules (, 2013).
Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource
It does require some teacher or parental scaffolding for younger children, as they may need to explain what you need to do with each game and to move the child through each level. You need to purchase additional levels. It has American and English accents which may make pronunciation more difficult, particularly if English is a second language (Dunn, n.d.). It does not develop creative thinking and is repetitive so limits engagement (Saxena, 2013).
Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource
Provide the details of the app to parents so that the app can used at home with parental support.


Dunn, O. (n.d.) How young children learn English as another language. Retrieved from:

Howell, J. (2014) Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand.

Marsh, C. (2014) Marsh’s Becoming a teacher/Maggie Clarke, Sharon Pittaway. Pearson Australia.

Saxena, S. (2013) How can technology enhance student creativity? Retrieved from: (2013) Studycat drop Fun English prices to celebrate 2 million users. Retrieved from:

Using Padlet in the Classroom as a Teaching Resource

Educators can use Padlet ( as a resource in the classroom.

Name of teaching resource
Padlet, previously known as Wallwisher, is a collaborative website that allows multiple users through open editing, to post comments and questions, or images on a “wall”. (Granata, 2014).
Weblink (if web based) and see my example at

Who should this digital teaching resource be used with? (ie year/grade)
Padlet could be used with children in Year 6 or 7, to provide a collaborative opportunity for them.  At Year 6 or 7 we should be encouraging students to reflect on their learning of a subject, abd to start to learn how to create their own digital content and enhance their creativity (Halsted, 2014; Howell, 2014).
How should it be used? (e.g. individual, whole class)
Padlet is an online notice board that can be used to gather responses from students in the class about a particular subject (Halsted, 2014;, n.d.). It can be used as the class is underway, or accessed for a homework task and can be set up to allow access to multiple users, whilst still in a private environment (, 2015; Byrne, 2013). For example, as part of a book review in English you can discuss a particular character in the book by collecting comments to explore (Granata, 2014), create interactive story telling (Miller, 2014) or asking students to put a note on a geographical place they have visited (Granata, 2014). You can use it to create posters or document excursions or notes from a lesson using either text or images (Miller, 2014).
Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?
Padlet could be very successful across a numerous subjects such as English, History, Geography, Social Studies or Science (Granata, 2014; Piyush, 2013). It can be used for asking open questions to gain students understanding of a certain subject at either the beginning or end of a lesson, or for them to participate throughout the lesson whilst maintaining the pace (Piyush, 2013).
Identify the strengths of this teaching resource
Padlet provides an opportunity for all children to participate, even those more reticent about speaking in class, and can also be used to communicate with parents (Miller, 2014). It is free to access (, 2015). It provides children opportunities to practice with keyboard skills and to begin to create their own digital content as part of a broader project (Howell, 2014).

Padlet can be password protected for security and has moderator rights to provide the teacher with the opportunity to review posts if they prefer (Byrne, 2013).

Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource
Each sticky note is limited to 150 characters which can limit the commentary or thinking that the student can post about the subject (Freedman, 2007;, n.d.). The site can become unresponsive if there are many users posting at the same time (, n.d.).
Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource
A wall in Padlet could also be created for teachers to share ideas and resources or as a notice board for parents (Halsted, 2014).


Byrne, R (2013) How to use padlet Retrieved from

Freedman, T (2007) Twittering in the classroom:some issues Retrieved from

Granata, K (2014) Five ways to use Padlet in the classroom Retrieved from:

Halsted, E (2014) Why Padlet is an important tool for your classroom. Retrieved from:

Howell, J (2014) Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. Oxford University Press Australia

Miller, M. (2014). 20 Useful Ways to use Padlet in class. Retrieved from:

Piyush, P (2013). How to use Padlet in the classroom. Retrieved from:

Teaching History (n.d.) Padlet. Retrieved from:

Digital Identities and Digital Security

(Dept. Education & Training, State Government of Victoria, 2015)

We all need to be mindful of our digital presence and identity we project in the cyber-world. Once internet content is posted it remains in the public domain and can have a significant impact on how others perceive us (Freedman, 2013). It is extremely difficult to completely remove your digital identity from the internet, however research shows that the second page of search engine results are significantly less read, so creating a strong positive profile on the internet can counteract people viewing undesirable content (Rosenblatt, 2012). A teacher’s online presence will be seen by students and parents and so they need to consider the identity they wish to present (Freedman, 2013). With the increased use of digital technology, children need to develop an understanding of their digital identity and cyber-security, and as educators we need to support the education of online safety ( We should be encouraging positive engagement with digital technology, whilst helping children identify the potential risks and how to be self-protective whilst using the internet (

One element of digital security is cyberbullying, which is the repeated hurtful or embarrassing treatment of a victim, conducted with the use of technology, such as the internet or mobile phones (Wankel & Wankel, 2012). Cyberbullying can potentially have more damaging consequences than face to face bullying (Wankel & Wankel, 2012). As a teacher I have a responsibility to create good digital citizens who are safe, positive and responsible users of the internet (Fletcher, 2014). Educators can do this by using a variety of tools to engage different developmental levels of students. Examples of useful tools include games, videos or movies, and setting up a debate or discussion in the class (Freedman, 2012). An example of a movie that might be suited to an upper secondary class is Cyberbully.

(Cyberbully, 2015)


Chanan, B (Producer) & Chanan, B. & Lobatto, D. (Writers). (2015) Cyberbully [TV Movie] UK: Raw TV

Fletcher, P (2014) Cybersmart digital citizens update puts focus on cyberbullying  Retrieved from:

Freedman, T. (2013) How much should we share online? Retrieved from:

Freedman, T. (2012) e-safety and cyberbullying news. Retrieved from:

National Cyber Security Alliance (2015) Raising Digital Citizens Retrieved from:

Rosenblatt, S (2012) How to delete yourself from the internet. Retrieved from:

Department of Education and Training, State Government of Victoria (2015) Bullying for Primary School Students [Image]. Retrieved from:

Wankel, L. A., & Wankel, C. (Eds.). (2012). Cutting-edge Technologies in Higher Education, Volume 5 : Misbehavior Online in Higher Education. New York, NY, USA: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. Retrieved from

Participation and the Digital Divide

Howell states that 86% of Australian households have internet access, but this can vary geographically, with as little as 49% of Tasmanian and South Australian homes having internet access (2014). Whilst government funded programs such as Networking the Nation have aimed to improve the access and usage of telecommunications infrastructure, and improve services for regional Australians (Trinidad, 2006), the digital divide remains, with regional children spending less time chatting or emailing their friends, and half the amount of time pursuing academic activities online, than their urban peers (Smith, Skrbis & Western, 2012).

(Computer Use, n.d.)

Teachers are increasingly using digital technology in the classroom and should not have an assumption that all children have access to digital technology, or posess the same competency levels (Howell, 2014; Smith et al, 2012). Regionally located children may have less access to teachers providing education of the use digital technology, and within those geographic distances there is further disparity when you consider the household socio-economic status, creating potential issues of social justice (Atkinson, Black and Curtis, 2008).

Educators need to ensure that children understand the use of technology, and encourage participation and engagement by using appealing tools such as apps, collaborative websites and social media, thus ensuring we meet the expectations of the child, and that of parents, future educational institutions and employers (Howell, 2014;Freedman, 2011). Encouraging use of technology in the classroom, school library or community centres can help prevent the divide widening (Atkinson et al, 2008). Educators need to be well trained and aware of developments in technology, to continue to engage children and work with them in partnership to build their confidence and skills in digital technology (Howell, 2014 & The World Bank, n.d.).


Atkinson ,J., Black, R., Curtis, A. (2008) Exploring the Digital Divide in an Australian Regional City: a case study of Albury. Australian Geographer Vol. 39, Iss. 4.

Howell, J. (2014) Teaching with ICT: Digital Pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand.

Freedman, T. (2011) 13 Reasons to use Educational Technology in Lessons.
Retrieved from:

Morton Grove Public Library (n.d.) Computer Use [Image]. Retrieved from:

Smith, J.,Skrbis, Z., Western, M. (2013) Beneath the Digital Native myth Journal of Sociology Vol.49(1), pp.97-118

Trinidad, S. (2006) Closing the digital divide: education telecommunications systems and possibilities in Western Australia. Anderson, Neil (ed), ACEC: Australian Computers in Education Conference.

The World Bank, (n.d.) The digital divide. Retrieved from

Reviewing Apps for Schools – A Good Read

Some great apps for teachers to use in the classroom


I’ve come across a great little blog today called Schoolyard Apps:

It reviews different apps for use in education and provides suggestions on worthwhile activities each app can be used for.  The writer is a reading teacher in a school in Wisconsin, where she is impressed daily by the tremendous use of technology to facilitate classroom learning.

I recommend having a read!

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