Category Archives: Fluencies

Foundations – Media Fluency

While we are well aware of the immense amount of media and its tremendous influence, we often are still operating in a 20th century paradigm. The focus is on text and the many conventions associated with writing correctly and effectively. In their book, Literacy is NOT Enough, Crockett, Jukes, and Churches point out that in the 21st century more is required.

From the book:

It is critical for educators to understand that excellent traditional writing skills are not enough to make someone a good communicator in our multimedia world. Effective communication in the digital age requires more than the ability to produce traditional products like handwritten or typed reports.

Students need to be able to communicate as effectively in the graphical formats as we were taught to communicate with text.

Media Fluency goes beyond operating a digital camera or knowing how to create a podcast. It’s about being able to look critically at content in any medium, but it also involves choosing the most appropriate and effective medium for communicating an intended message and then being able to produce it.

Media Fluency means being a “prosumer” – an effective consumer and producer of digital content. So there are two components for Media Fluency: one for media input, or consuming, and another for media output, or producing.

Here is a video by Lee Crockett on Media Fluency!


Foundations – Creativity Fluency – The 5 Is

Creativity is often sited as one of the most sought after abilities in the 21st century. Often referred to as out-of the-box thinking, creativity holds the key to resolving many global issues. As well as leading to more satisfying and meaning ful life. Yet, numerous studies cite that creativity decreases throughout a student’s school years. Sir Ken Robinson, in the previous post, talks on how schools may actually kill creativity. There is a belief that says only  a few are creative – artists, perhaps dancers and musicians.

We are all creative!

From the book, Literacy is NOT Enough: “Creativity is the currency of the 21st century. Creative individuals and nations are poised to prosper. The new Third World will be the nations that have to import creativity. Let’s be clear. This isn’t about some far-off murky future. It is already happening. As routine cognitive work and manufacturing jobs are outsourced, the only jobs left are likely to be creative-class jobs – the jobs that require higher level thinking. Nonroutine cognitive work that can’t be outsourced, replaced by software, or automated will be in high demand. Businesses are turning to creativity like never before.”

In this video Lee Crockett explains the 5 Is of Creativity Fluency:


Identify: Begin by preloading your brain with the data of the current problem. Start by asking yourself what your task is and what you need to create. This brings meaning and relevance to the problem.

Inspire: Inspiration can come from anywhere: scanning remote memories, visualizing, flipping through magazines, going to a museum, looking at colour photo books or web sites, brainstorming over coffee, wandering around a bookstore, or listening to music.

Interpolate: The left brain’s job is to analyze the sensory inputs that are constantly arriving from the right brain’s playground of inspiration and to connect the dots by searching for patterns, alternate meanings, and high-level abstractions.

Imagine: As you toggle back and forth in the process from Inspire to Interpolate, discarding extraneous information, you start to home in on a possible solution. Continue searching, and the moment will come when the synthesis of Inspire and Interpolate unites in the birth of an idea.

Inspect: Does our idea meet the original criteria? Does it match our definition? Is it feasible? Will it work? Can it be accomplished within the existing time and budget?

Foundations – The 5As of Information Fluency

In acquiring a new skill there is a learning model called the four stages of competency. Stage one is unconscious incompetence; stage two is conscious incompetence; stage three is conscious competence; and stage four unconscious competence. In the book, Literacy is NOT Enough, when Lee Crockett, Ian Jukes, and Andrew Churches refer to fluency, they are intimating stage four unconscious competency.

From the book: “We define Information Fluency as the ability to unconsciously and intuitively interpret information in all forms and formats in order to extract the essential knowledge, perceive its meaning and significance, and use it to complete real world tasks. There are five distinct steps to the Information Fluency process: Ask, Access, Analyze, Apply, and Assess.”

Here is a short video in which Lee Crockett describes Information Fluency.

The 5As of Information Fluency:

Ask: Asking is about formulating relevant and meaningful questions that will lead to correct information.

Acquire: Answering the questions involves acquiring the essential raw data by accessing the most appropriate high-tech, low-tech, or no-tech sources.

Analyze: The raw information is unfiltered and unverified. Before it can be utilized, it must be analyzed and authenticated by validating sources to determine whether something is true or not, and distinguishing between fact and opinion.

Apply: Apply is the stage where actions are taken, problems are solved, and questions needs to be satisfied. Being able to access huge amounts of data means nothing unless the data is effectively analyzed, turned into personal knowledge, and applied to solving problems with real-world relevancy.

Assess: Assess is a critical step that is often overlooked. Once the information has been utilized, you must be able to reflect critically on the process, considering how each stage could be improved and which sources were most effective.

Foundations – Information Fluency

Never before has so much information been so readily available to so many so easily. This availability of information has literally changed the world in which we live – they way we learn, the way we do business, the way we interact with others and the world around us – to mention a few. Computing capacity, telecommunications, and storage capacity continue to grow exponentially every year, so the amount of information, and misinformation, is not going away.

In Literacy is NOT Enough, authors, Crockett, Jukes, and Churches point out: As result of Infowhelm, we now live in an age of disposable information, one in which the daily newspaper arrives out of date. Information has become a temporary and disposable commodity. Yes, information has value, but it is just about as perishable as fruit. It may have a value today, but it will have to be discarded if it is not used by tomorrow.

With so much information available, no one today can be an expert. If our students are going to operate in an age of Infowhelm, they will need to be informationally fluent.

In the short video below Lee Crockett gives us an insight to how much information is out there.

It is important to note that it is not just our children who are affected by Infowhelm. We all are – parents and teachers. How are we adapting?

Foundations – Solution Fluency

Where did you learn your ability to solve problems? The answer for most people is when I left school and got into the real world. Then it was by watching others and a lot of trial and error. Imagine having learned and internalized a systematic approach to solving problems before leaving school.

Problem-solving is always near the top of the list when speaking of 21st century skills. As authors Lee Crockett, Ian Jukes, and Andrew Churches write in Literacy is NOT Enough: “How we teach problem solving in classrooms isn’t really working for us. Presenting a problem, then giving students the answer by showing them how we got it, and then repeating the process over and over by giving them a series of similar problems to solve doesn’t cut it. When we do this, we aren’t teaching them anything other than how smart we are. We are cultivating dependency, not independent thought and the ability to analyze and solve problems.”

They go on to add: “In a 21st-century learning environment, the method is different. We provide problems that are interesting and relevant to students, problems whose solutions involve elements of the mandated curriculum. To guide the students, we provide them with the 6 Ds, a process by which they can solve any problem they encounter, and Solution Fluency, the ability to use the 6Ds in an unconscious manner.”

Here is a short video by one of the authors, Lee Crockett, on the 6 Ds of Solution Fluency:

From the book:

DEFINE: To define a problem is to unpack it by restating in your own words so that you understand what is being asked of you before you start to solve the problem.

DISCOVER: How did we get to this point? What decisions were made in the past that provide insight to help us solve the problem? What could have prevented the problem? Does that still apply? How have others before us looked at this problem?

DREAM: Dream is a whole mind process that allows us to imagine possible solutions as they will exist in the future. This is a visioning process in which we not only imagine what is possible but also remain open to what seems to be impossible. Conceptualize what might be. Open your mind and ask, “Why not?”

DESIGN: Design is a roadmap that keeps us on track to our goal. It is a plan that can be checked, discussed, re-evaluated, and modified. We build backward from the future to the present, identifying the milestones and creating achievable deadlines, breaking down all the necessary steps to get us from here to there.

Deliver: There are two components to Deliver: produce and publish. Producing is only half the work. Designing a presentation isn’t enough; it has to be presented. Writing a song isn’t enough; it has to be recorded. Developing a script isn’t enough; the work has to be performed. You must deliver the goods.

DEBRIEF: Debrief offers the opportunity to examine and evaluate the final product and the process undertaken, to determine what was done well and what could have been done better. Solution Fluency is not a linear process but a cyclical one. At any point you may need to revisit one or more of the previous stages and make adjustments.