Rich Reflection on Digital Citizenship (2.0?)


Digital citizenship differs from digital literacy in many ways. One way is that digital literacy is the learning of knowledge on how to operate the digital world, while digital citizenship is the application of that knowledge to be a good citizen of the digital world.

The first article espouses more on this. It talks of how “digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills” (Digital Citizenship vs. Digital Literacy). So basically digital literacy is the way to work the digital world, like with communication technologies, creating information, and this requires “both cognitive and technical skills” as the article points out (Digital Citizenship vs. Digital Literacy). The article goes on and talks about how there are four levels of digital literacy:

“1 A digital muggle, requiring no skills;

2 A digital citizen, who uses technology to communicate, find information and transact;

3 A digital worker, who configures (such as website design or publication design) and uses digital systems; and

4 A digital maker, who builds and creates digital technology (for example JavaScript, HTML, Python and other programing tools)  Foundation for Young Australians” (Digital Citizenship vs. Digital Literacy).

These four levels distinguish between what digital citizenship is and what digital literacy is. Literacy is the knowing and how-to’s of navigating the digital world, while digital citizenship is the application of these skills to being a citizen of the digital world.

Then the article talks of how “a digital citizen is a person with the skills and knowledge to effectively use digital technologies to participate in society, communicate with others and create and consume digital content” (Digital Citizenship vs. Digital Literacy). A digital citizen plays an active role in society, contributing one’s own knowledge to it and uses his knowledge of digital literacy to apply to his digital footprint.

The second source talks of “educating for democracy” in its title. It talks about what citizenship is, and how policy makers have been trying to make people into citizens of the world and society throughout the ages. We can learn from this model of citizenship many things in that “citizens require … preparation for a society characterized by “durable pluralism” (What Kind of Citizen). Citizens must be prepared for society.

Some “educators see good citizens as those who actively participate in the civic affairs and the social life of the community at local, state, and national levels” (What Kind of Citizen). We can apply this to citizenship in that good citizens are ones that are active in society, contributing to it, and making sense of what is before them, like with writing to newspapers and offering comments to news articles for example. This idea that citizens should play an active role in society also applies to digital citizenship since digital citizens must also be active in the digital world.

Lastly, the article talks about justice oriented citizenship. It talks of how policy makers view citizenship as central to pursuing social justice and the like. This can be applied to citizenship if we view it as a valid intellectual paradigm. Social justice citizens would pursue justice in many ways, like with protest, expression, and free speech, both online and offline.

Digital citizenship and digital literacy differ yet they also intertwine. And there are different modes of citizenship. When we come to understand both, new modes of knowledge will be created.

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