I have been pondering this question for a couple of weeks now and at first was shocked I didn’t have an immediate opinion or thought about this. As I have pushed on in the learning, I have realised that despite digital literacy skills in their multifaceted ways being important for learning for NOW and in the future. Yes, an understanding of the multimodal landscape where information is conveyed in what we know as the Internet is definitely important now but the one thought I have had is the nature of citizenship. Not citizenship in the sense of belonging to a community but the sense of citizenship and interconnectedness with our fellow human beings.
Having read about the many affordances of technology throughout this session, Mike Wesch and his description of how things change when technologies are introduced, including cultures was really quite confronting. When you reflect o this though, you just have to look around when you sit at a coffee shop and see the changing nature of relationships and connection as people constantly check their phones when meeting up with friends or take their laptops to lunch to keep working.
Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/DwyCAtyNYHw
When I consider citizenship as important for learning now, I consider it in a sense of connecting with other people offline so that our values are developed through the meeting and connecting face to face. It is too easy to hide behind technology.
Then I am reminded of the reading by Philip & Garcia (2013) who considered the very human element that the teacher brings to the classroom. The fact that our students while being immersed in these knowledge networks still need to be guided and to an extent protected. We need to teach our students that we are ‘feeding the machine/s’ that are digital technologies. We are the machine. Everything we write represents and forms our identity. Every search we make can be traced back to us, stored as data for big name companies and then the machine/s feed it back to us through images, advertising, anything that creates a rapport between us and the machine.
The following clip, also by Michael Wesch, interestingly enough, demonstrates this idea.
Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyvjMBXoGXg
So to be a participatory learner in this digital age, we need to not only include digital literacy skills, in their plethora of guises, we need to develop critical thinking that allows empathy, respect and responsibility towards not only ourselves but to others.