Harnessing the Power

When I reflect on digital literacy I am quickly reminded of the connectedness to being a responsible digital citizen; what I consider to be those perceived norms and appropriateness of using technology.  The twenty first century has opened the door to a new digital society; a place where we desire to access information anytime, any place…ultimately resulting in workplaces that demand just in time information that is speedy and correct.  Resultantly, I believe educators and society have a role in promoting information literacy skills to people of all ages as technology continues to progress.


Jones and Hafner (2012) described the affordances and constraints of digital literacy and what particularly struck me was the discussion on how technology can influence the social identity that as humans we adopt.  Individuals locate their identity in relationships that are formed with families and communities and that identity has now extended to include the Internet and technology.  The question that I am left with surrounds has we now started to modify and change our identities in response to the fast and changing pace of the technology? And what becomes the impact on the larger community? Do we actually feel more connected or perhaps even more isolated in the virtual realm?

I found an interesting article from the UK that described ‘hyper –connectivity’ as resulting from near-continuous access to the Internet.  The author Professor Beddington suggested that this hyper-connectivity does in fact have a critical effect on how individuals define and identity themselves and with their larger communities.  Does our need to constantly seek information suggest that we are always waiting and ready to be interrupted; in turn what impact does this have on our overall well being and persona?  I can honestly state that I have a tough time not being connected; sadly admitting to carrying two iphones (work & personal) and always hoping I remember to bring my charger if away.  I read recently that airlines are now considering allowing people to use their smartphones while in the air, opening up yet another space where technology can be constantly present.

I can open hope that as society advances, so too will digital citizenship, literacy and ethics that frame use of technology.  How should we act when online and what should be taught to the next generation.  Having the knowledge, ethics and skills will be foundational the harness and power and ever growing potential of the digital world that we now live in; roles for educators and policy makers alike to consider.


Is social networking redefining identity?



2 thoughts on “Harnessing the Power

  1. Kathy,
    Thanks for your timely comments and the article on hyper-connectivity. I am also concerned about the increasingly invasive nature of technology, and its implications for how we live and interact with others. I wonder if people in Renaissance Europe felt similarly after Gutenberg introduced moveable type. It’s fascinating (and intimidating!) to speculate on how technologies change the very structure of society, and as you point out, our own self-identities. As the historical example of the printing press shows, it’s impossible to foresee all of the potential changes our tools provoke, but I think that as time passes, today’s “revolutionary” technologies become increasingly mundane. As they integrate into the everyday fabric of society, they become invisible. With this in mind, it’s essential that we, especially the philosophers and ethicists among us (like McLuhan), continue thinking technological change and how to respond to it in a socially responsible way.

  2. Hi Lida, great connection to Gutenberg; I had not thought that far back but of course, it makes perfect sense….technology has been instrumental for a very long time in changing and molding the very foundation of society. Glad you brought up McLuhan again, I can honestly say that I struggled initially with understanding the tetrad…seemed so abstract to me. However as the discussions have progressed over the weeks, I find myself drawn more to it and understanding how it can help define and influence relationships/impacts between technology and society. Will certainly be interesting to see what the future holds! Kathy

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