Digitally Fluent in New York City

What does it mean for our learners to be digitally fluent? I think we’ve got a good definition here in New York City: “Being digitally fluent means our students have the knowledge, strategies, and competencies (inquiry, critical thinking, and problem solving) to effectively use digital resources and tools to collaborate, communicate, create, network, and inspire change.” We know this is vital work[1].

Empowering the Digitally Fluent Learner

To that end, the New York City School Library System partnered with Dr. Barbara Stripling and lead librarians to create foundational documents such as learner portraits, an alignment framework, assessments, and culminating products.

Learner Portraits

Digital fluency isn’t just about technology; it applies to the whole child to include academic competencies, a growth mindset, SEL attributes, Cultural responsiveness, a strong self-identity, and student voice and agency.

Digital Fluency Alignment

This alignment frames the various competencies and skills that make up digital fluency through information literacy, inquiry, and cultural responsiveness. Priority Digital Inquiry skills, Digital Fluency skills, and Cultural Responsiveness skills and attitudes are aligned and organized by the phases of inquiry for K-12 and Grade Bands K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

Empire State Information Fluency Continuum (ESIFC):

The ESIFC is a compendium of skills for information fluency, critical thinking, digital fluency, social and emotional competencies, and cultural responsiveness students learn through the inquiry process.

Modified ESIFC graphic organizers incorporate new social/emotional learning, cultural responsiveness, and/or digital fluency skills to help you collaborate with teachers on digital fluency lessons and projects.

Culminating Products

Culminating products are meaningful opportunities for students to apply the skills and competencies they have developed in information and digital fluencies, as well as cultural responsiveness.

Check back on the website for updated lessons and Assessments posted to Google Drive for integrated digital access and use.

Our work needs digital fluency now more than ever!



Author: Leanne Ellis

I am a School Library Coordinator for the New York City Department of Education’s Department of Library Services. I plan and deliver workshops, provide on-site instructional and program support to school librarians, coordinate programs, administer grants, and am program coordinator for MyLibraryNYC, a program administered with our three public library systems.

Categories: Uncategorized

1 reply

  1. I think when we talk about digital fluency, it is also important to add an element that addresses the students’ ability to make use of technology as a tool. I saw the lack of this skill first hand this year as I worked as a principal for our regional virtual learning academy. Students had no idea how to make effective use of calendars, tasks, reminders, or other digital tools that could have greatly improved their quality of life and work. Voice and Agency were also severely limited by students’ inability to formulate a cohesive email as opposed to treating email as a text. We got a lot of one-line emails that consisted of “can I ask a question?” as opposed to laying out the full need from the start.

    Great work!

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