Being a Digital Citizen in a Civil Society

Civil Society

Spekulator. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/888077

A critical element that is increasingly apparent to me is the importance of digital literacy to a civil society. The theory of my New Media course converged again with our Digital Contexts course. We delved deeper into the components of Web 2.0 in Digital Literacy acquiring new skills, exploring innovative apps and discovering the potential of many online tools. This learning substantiates the theories  from one of my readings regarding the concept of Web 2.0, the designation of which Dahlgren (2012) notes is an “overburdened simplifier” given that it is loaded “it with new implications” because of the “increasing participatory character of the new media platforms” (p. 30). The dynamic, collaborative and community-based nature of Web 2.0 is its appeal; conversely as a digital citizen the vast quantities of information and participatory applications can be overwhelming. Additionally, it is apparent that the associated rights and responsibilities for a digital citizen in a digital society need to be appropriately understood by media consumers. Courses such as these two in which I am engaged need to be embedded as core curriculum for learners so that we ensure that we are indeed more than ‘tech savvy’; but are in truth, fully digitally literate.

Our focus in a relatively light week (nice break!) was on wiki’s and how this collaborative tool compares to the other tools we have explored, specifically blogs, Google Docs, and Evernote. Well, thumbs up, at least philosophically. Any tool that can be used to engage students, facilitate learning and invoke interest has merit. However, until I have an opportunity to really explore its capacity, wiki’s are slightly lower in the rankings for me. Google Drive is currently the clear winner right now, with blogs and their associated tools a close second.

We were asked to determine which of the components of digital citizenship we considered most important. Here are the three that I identified:

  1. Digital Etiquette –a critical consideration for anyone engaging in online communication. The ramifications from cyber bullying; from miscommunication; from inappropriate uses; from texting in unsuitable circumstances or injudicious cell phone use are all serious and need to be factored into any communication. One of our very first links “Netiquette” was one of the best finds for me and will find its way into my courses.
  2. Digital Literacy – having just finished our Drive presentation on Digital Literacy reinforced the concepts of digital literacy which includes the “ability of individuals to appropriately use digital technology and communication tools to access, manage, integrate, analyze and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, create and communicate with others…” (http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/dist_learning/dig_lit_standards.htm ).

And, perhaps most importantly the third element which resonates for me is:

  1. Access – ensuring that there is equal access and inclusivity is another core principle. Digital access for organizations and individuals needs to be considered so that we can work to eliminate the haves and have not’s in a digital world.

    Access

    Access. Hanisch, A. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/806152

I found a quote in Dahlgren (2012) this week and it speaks to voice as a critical social value. He states that narrative associated with voice “is a basic element of our humanity and thus to deny it to others is to at least implicitly to deny their humanity” (p. 37). Ensuring that access to a digital world is not impeded by socio-economic barriers needs to be an ongoing goal for all digital citizens.

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