The Essential Fluencies are a solid foundation for effective modern learning. They cover all the bases of the skills students need for success beyond school. Developing these Fluencies in our students is a critical thinking journey in itself. That’s why you’ll find good questions at the heart of Essential Fluencies development.
Every stage of every Fluency asks us to think deeply and critically, and their embedded skills and abilities are about stretching thought and imagination. By asking good exploratory questions, students learn the essence of each Fluency and its phases. That’s what the following lists are meant to give you and your students.
Essential Fluencies Development Questions: Our Big List
The following lists are for each of the Fluencies, broken down into their unique phases. Each question defines what the stages are about, and they provide a springboard for understanding how to move forward. Use these questions to guide students through their own Essential Fluencies development. Have them discuss and reflect on how each question applies to the work they are doing. Of course, you’re also encouraged to think of your own questions, but these are a good start.
Solution Fluency is the ability to think creatively to solve problems in real time The stages involve clearly defining the problem and designing an appropriate solution. Finally, the solution is delivered and then evaluated. Solution Fluency is defined by the 6Ds process.
- What are the details of the challenge we face?
- What do we want to solve?
- Why is this a problem that needs a solution?
- What do I need to know and what do I need to be able to do to solve this problem?
- Where have we seen this problem before?
- Why hasn’t it been addressed previously?
- If it has, why wasn’t it successful?
- What can we change about our own approach to a solution?
- What solution do we truly want to create?
- How will it function?
- What will it look like?
- What’s our best-case scenario for the end goal?
- Who will benefit from our solution?
- What does it look like “on paper”?
- How will we create and implement it?
- What are the steps we must take?
- What are the milestones and guidelines we will set for ourselves?
- How will we ensure everything is being done right and on time?
- How will we deal with problems?
- How do we bring this idea into functional reality?
- How do we practically apply what we’ve done?
- How will we present this to people?
- How will we know it’s working?
- What were the results of our efforts?
- How did we succeed or fall short of accomplishing our goal?
- What went well, and what didn’t?
- How can we improve our efforts and outcome in the future?
- How can we apply what we’ve done to similar problems?
Information Fluency is the ability to unconsciously and intuitively interpret information in all forms and formats. The purpose is to extract the essential knowledge, authenticate it, and perceive its meaning and significance. The data can then be used to complete real-world tasks and solve real-world problems effectively. Information Fluency is defined by the 5As.
- What do we know about this problem?
- What do we need to find out about the problem?
- What are common assumptions/misconceptions about it?
- Why is this knowledge we seek important?
- Where can we find information about our problem?
- What are the special skills/abilities needed to locate the information?
- Where are the best resources for finding what we need?
- What are the most questionable sources, and why?
- How will we strategize our information search?
- What information do we need to keep?
- What information can be discarded?
- How do we effectively categorize what we’ve collected?
- What patterns are we seeing in our information, if any?
- How will we check our information sources for reliability?
- How do we differentiate fact from opinion?
- How can we tell our information is answering our original question?
- How can we apply our knowledge to the problem?
- What can we create as a solution using our knowledge?
- How will we know if it’s working?
- What’s the best way(s) to share this knowledge with others?
- What have we accomplished?
- Where did we fall short?
- Where can we improve our processes?
- Where are there opportunities for greater learning here?
Creativity Fluency is the process by which artistic proficiency adds meaning through design, art, and storytelling. It is about using innovative design to add value to the function of a product though the form. The process of Creativity Fluency is defined by the 5Is.
- What do I want to create and why?
- What do I know about my own creativity?
- How can I come up with something unique?
- What is the fundamental concept behind what I must create?
- What purpose does my idea need to serve?
- What/who can I look to for inspiration?
- Where have I seen ideas and concepts that left an impression on me?
- How do these ideas and sources relate to my current challenge?
- What are the possibilities here?
- What patterns are revealing themselves in what I’ve collected?
- What combinations of ideas and concepts can I use?
- How will I decide what to keep and what to discard?
- What speaks to me on the deepest levels? (mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.)
- What past experiences can I use in this idea?
- What idea/Idea combinations do I feel most strongly about?
- How will I bring this idea into reality?
- Where can I look for continuing inspiration?
- What skills/abilities must I have/learn to create what I want?
- How will I decide when I have the final product?
- How can I best share/display my work for the benefit of others?
- How will I decide if this idea meets the original purpose?
- What do I like best about what I’ve created?
- How can this be improved?
- What did I learn from this process?
- How have I grown creatively?
- How can I use this experience for future inspiration?
Media Fluency refers to the ability to unconsciously interpret the messages contained within media of all sorts. It is also the ability to communicate in multiple multimedia formats. Media Fluency is defined by the 2Ls. From there, Media Fluency describes how both medium and message are considered.
- What is the underlying message in what I’m seeing/hearing?
- How does the message creator feel about this topic?
- What about the message is effective for its purpose?
- What about the message is ineffective for its purpose?
- What emotion/action/outcome was this message meant to cause?
- Where is the opinion or bias in this message, if any?
- What is my personal feeling/opinion about what is being said?
- How does this design connect with the message?
- Where is there harmony and unity, as well as disharmony and chaos?
- How does this design invoke feeling and opinion?
- How does this medium tell the intended story?
- Who is this intended for? (audience, demographic, age group, etc.)
- What is the message creator doing to connect with the audience?
- How is this medium appropriate/ineffective for the target audience?
- What is the message I want to convey?
- Who is my target audience?
- What do I know about this subject?
- What do I know about my target audience?
- What is the most crucial concept in my intended message?
- What do I want my audience to take away from this message?
- How can I convey my message in the most effective way?
- What mediums are most consistent with my intended outcome?
- What are the best mediums for my target audience?
- How can I use this medium to get my message understood?
- What do I need to learn about this or other mediums to make them more effective?
- How will I gauge if the medium I’ve chosen is ineffective?
- How will I get my message to the widest possible audience?
Collaboration Fluency refers to team working proficiency that has reached an unconscious level. It’s the capacity to work cooperatively with virtual and real partners in online environments to create original digital products. The process of Collaboration Fluency is defined by the 5Es.
- Who are our main team members?
- What are everyone’s individual strengths/weaknesses?
- Who are the primary leadership candidates?
- What are everyone’s individual roles and responsibilities?
- What is our system of communication/accountability?
- What are the guidelines and milestones we will set for moving forward?
- In what ways is everyone willing to learn as we progress?
- What is our main challenge or goal?
- How does the whole group see the challenge?
- What are the individual opinions and concerns everyone has?
- What are the possibilities for what we want to achieve?
- What’s the best-case scenario for our group’s intended outcome?
- What information do we have about our challenge?
- What information do we need before we can proceed?
- What are the specific criteria we will use to evaluate our outcome?
- What is the plan for meeting our challenge?
- How will we ensure top performance from all team members?
- How will encourage progress and accountability?
- How will we support each other through the process?
- What is the most efficient way to delegate team responsibilities?
- How will we ensure the work is distributed equally and fairly?
- How can we best maximize each team member’s strengths?
- What can we do to ensure each team member has an opportunity for growth?
- How will we plan for unforeseen events and mishaps?
- What is the best format/medium for presenting our solution?
- What are the audience’s needs and expectations?
- How will we work together to present our solution?
- Where were we most unified/disconnected in our process?
- What can we improve about our process?
- How will we perform individual and team evaluations?
- How do we intend to recognize/reward each team member’s contributions?
- What are the most constructive ways to move forward as a team?
This citizen is conscientious, respectful, and compassionate. It is an individual who strives to establish a sense of global community in all their online and offline relationships, duties, and endeavours. The Global Digital Citizen is defined by 5 unique tenets.
- What are my personal responsibilities to myself in my own life?
- What are my responsibilities to others?
- How can I learn to communicate with others in the best way?
- What can I do to make my relationships better?
- How can I learn best from other people?
- What will I do to practice and protect my personal health?
- What can I learn about financial management and responsibility?
- What is my own personal moral and ethical code of standards?
- How can I improve and refine them over time?
- How will I contribute to the safety and well-being of our whole society?
- In what ways am I a citizen of the world, and what does it mean to be one?
- How does technology connect us as global citizens, and what are the advantages/disadvantages of this?
- How can I help and support both local and global communities?
- What can I do to respect and understand other cultures, their values, and beliefs?
- What are the advantages of having a more globalized marketplace due to technology?
- How can we portray ourselves positively with our online personas?
- What are the consequences of painting ourselves in a negative light with our online profiles?
- How can I learn how to communicate constructively and positively with others online?
- Why is it important to respect others in online environments?
- What are the personal and global consequences of destructive online behaviour like flaming, cyberbullying, and online stalking?
- Why is it important to ask permission to share someone else’s work or intellectual property?
- What are the ways we can give proper credit and recognition to the work of others?
- How can we best protect our own private information and intellectual properties?
- What are the best actions we can take when we witness harmful or destructive online behaviour?
- What are the benefits of helping and serving others?
- How do we grow as as society when we practice compassion and charity for others?
- How do we grow personally when we practice compassion and charity for others?
- Why is it important to never forget those who helped us in the past?
- How do our burdens and losses connect us emotionally?
- How can this help us be more compassionate and charitable?
- What are the best ways to manage and preserve our resources for present and future generations?
- What can we do personally and globally to improve the environments we live in now?
- How can we best contribute to the prosperity and longevity of future generations?
- How does maintaining a healthy environment support our personal health?
- In what ways does caring for the global environment bring world cultures together?
- How essential for the world’s survival is it to have a strong global community, and why?
Here’s To Your Journey
Hopefully these questions for Essential Fluencies development have given you a good starting point. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means. You’re encouraged to think about additional questions of your own for students. After all, there are always different ways of looking at things and you’ll always have new paths to take. That’s what Essential Fluencies development and learning in general are all about, so enjoy the journey.