I never do this, but here I am liveblogging from the concluding keynote at MacArthur’s Digital Media and Learning conference, one which heralds the arrival of “our field,” as Eszter Hargittai put it during last night’s keynote panel. Generally I am finding this conference really really good. One of the reasons is the evocativeness of the work here. Even when it’s not pushing out paradigms that I want to use, it’s giving terms to react against or through from different contexts, such as education.
One of the educators’ panels asked us to come up with a definition of “digital citizenship.” This was a lot more productive a paradigm than the “digital natives” discourse I’ve been seeing that takes off from John Palfrey’s popular recent book. Digital native implies a special, exceptionally enabled sort of person, independent of race, class, or other factors–but as Livingstone’s ethnographies show, there is actually quite a low level of skill in young people’s use of the Internet, something that Siva Vaidhyanathan and Hargittai have noted.
Digital citizenship implies instead rights, soverignty, and a sometimes vexed relationship to affordances which works better to my mind. The rights to free movement (across platforms, standards, virtual worlds), the rights to speak your own language, the rights to access–these are less utopian ideas than “digital natives,” who seemingly need nothing and “naturally” know how to do everything.
I am almost out of batts! more later.