Thursday, January 26, 2012

Digital Native- Digital Citizen

Each week, I make a blog entry that reflects new knowledge gainded from research and introspection of new technology, new media and its role in our social communication. I have found that understanding communication within the idea of community and the relationship community has with citizenship is key. This blog will further the discussion of community and citizenship while making a correlation to the ideas of digital immigrants and digital natives.

Jason Ohler, author of Digital Community Digital Citizen, introduced the discussion and explains the need to consider the relationship or connection of community and citizenship as society continues to be inundated with technology and media. Ohler (2010) says “as we consider technology as figure, and see clearly its pervasiveness and power, we realize there is very little we can effectively legislate in a free society that will prevent technology from running amok or us from misusing its power” (P. 18)

This concern is the basis of the importance of insuring that individuals have the opportunity to understand their community in a digital way. I believe a foundation that is built on understanding and critical thinking offers individuals the opportunity to process their responsibilities that we all share within the digital community.

Digital community does lead to citizenship. My approach to this process is first understanding how a community is defined. The idea of a place where humans connect, communicate and survive describes the basis of a community. Within that community, the ability to project a universal mind set that allows for the growth of families and culture within that community is key. Naturally, the people of a community usually develop boundaries associated with behavior that defines what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Citizenship involves protocol, rules and laws. Citizenship is sometimes looked at as being separate than community. Ohler (2010) shares, “the result is that your community and the basis for your legal, geographically defined citizenship could be completely separate” (p. 38). A community consciously and subconsciously creates these boundaries that allow for a community to thrive and therefore form citizenship. Digital citizenship requires individuals to be responsible. Ohler (2010) introduced the ISTE (International Society For Education) as an example of the responsibility necessary in a digital community.

“Citizenship is tied to community. It is an expression of our understanding of what our community expects of us and we expect of it” (Ohler, 2010, p. 36). I found it interesting that citizenship historically was meant only for those of a higher status. Dr. Jason Ohler explains in is book, “citizenship as most of us would recognize it is based on the efforts of philosophers, writers, and politicians living during the age of enlightenment”(Ohler, 2010). Citizenship suggested entitlements then and continues to suggest entitlements today. Entitlements are universal. Everyone can feel entitled in today’s media driven, social networking society by creating digital personalities within a digital community. Within that community citizenship evolves.

Digital community-digital citizen can be correlated to digital immigrant-digital native concepts. Within a digital community that evolves a digital citizenship, suggest that there is a conscious process that is a result of the community. Within the community, a collective mindset is to survive and communicate. The digital immigrant wants to do the same. As the digital immigrant develops communication and survival skills amidst the overwhelming amount of technology and media access, the process of becoming a digital native has begun. In affect digital immigrants exist within a community and as they develop so does the process of citizenship. The goal, in my mind, is to be digital natives completely aware of your digital and media space. This is a responsible act and holds a level of responsibility to the community. In my opinion, the responsibility discussed defines citizenship.

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