Fluency is the ability to communicate an idea or tell a story with ease. To be fluent in a foreign language, for example, means going beyond just asking for directions or reading a menu in a restaurant. It requires understanding the language well enough to create and express whatever the situation calls for, at will.
Technology is also a language. For the most part, the current generation knows how to search for information, use apps, send email and post on social media. There's not much fluency—not a lot of mastery or even understanding of the technology itself. The tools are confused for the end results. Consider a raft. After it gets you across the river, you can put it down and walk. If you carry it, it will slow you down. Google can only get you so far.
The word fluent comes from the Latin, meaning "to flow". Fluency serves to carry students further along in their education. Learning to read and write, for example, empowers them to learn many other things. Digital fluency is no different. The day will soon come when digital fluency will be a requirement, not only for employment but for a lifetime of mental and social growth.
Jeff Meyer, Director of Education at Learning.com, is concerned, and rightly so, about the prevalence of digital illiteracy. Although today's students have grown up using technology, most lack the digital literacy skills required for success by the time they enter high school. Why? They've never been taught the language. Meyer feels that digital literacy should be taught as early as kindergarten; at Préscolaire Early Learning Academy, we suggest sooner. Key areas Meyer identifies as essential, such as keyboarding and coding, can be skillfully introduced during preschool years.
Why wait? The sooner children learn to master the language of technology, the further the rafts will take them.