1. What aspects of computer science should citizens understand with regard to ICTs?

  2. What understanding of and competencies with ICTs should citizens possess?

Although some people may see these as equivalent questions, I take them to be overlapping and somewhat divergent ways of being fluent. I take the second one as being more inclusive of a range of sophisticated everyday activities associated with ICT that do not necessarily connect to an understanding of computer science (e.g., being able to participate in a variety of ICT modes of communication, using ICT to inform personal decisions). In this paper, I consider both frames on FITness to be important, given the set of rationales enumerated in the report and ICT trends in society.1


The Being Fluent report presents a tripartite FITness framework consisting of intellectual capabilities, concepts, and skills associated with ICT fluency. To date, the cognitive and learning sciences have only focused on specific segments of the ICT domain. In order to explore select aspects of the cognitive and learning foundations of the FITness framework, I begin by asserting some connections to general principles or characteristics of cognition and learning and then describe some areas of specific research on FITness components. It should be noted that having to rely on general principles is less than ideal; below I also detail a research agenda that would help advance the field.

Problem Solving As one might expect, there are many connections to be made between accounts of problem solving and many of the components of FITness—from principled and disciplinary identification and specification of a problem (see Box 2-1, intellectual capabilities #1), to the decomposition of problems and the sequencing of corresponding components of a problem solution (intellectual capabilities #2), and to the broader utility of more abstract domain knowledge (intellectual capabilities #10). It


I do see evidence of both fluency frames in the 1999 report, although there is more of the first than of the second. Perhaps it was a natural result of working within the constraints of the 30 components of FITness.

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