Today my digital era will start… perhaps.
Why perhaps and not something more convincing, like “be sure” or even stronger. Well, being digital is something that perhaps will not only consume my time, by writing, reading and writing back, but also will make me be unfocused, dispersed and even less efficient in my work. Perhaps…
These are my fears… But they are perhaps based on my own digital gap, my own lack of digital knowledge that operate as a barrier against these new form of cognition, of creation and transmission of knowledge. Then, why not to explore what is all about? Why not to try to get out of the traditional cognitive and pedagogic shells that we tend to reproduce – most of the time without questioning – in our academic classrooms.
How to do it? That is ‘the’ question. In the net there are so many possibilities, infinite number of combine opportunities for improve the way that we engage in learning and teaching processes. At the university, where I regularly teach, students know more than their teachers regarding available the digital tools… Embarrassing? Not necessary. What we need, as teachers and educators, is a little bit of ‘insolence’, that is, being a little bit impertinent vis-á-vis our lack of digital knowledge and courageously explore this new digital cognitive dimension.
As Aristotle said, ‘talent is culture with insolence’. And… I will said that digital literacy requires talented cultural insolence in order to blossom and produce its maximum positive effects.
Digital literacy is a cultural manifestation of our modern, digital societies. This particular form of literacy, which includes a ‘digital’ element that differentiate it from traditional forms of literacy based on printed supports, has been and it will be incorporated more and more as part of our daily cognitive culture, within our teaching environments and as part of a broad cultural manifestation (and product) of contemporary society.
However, digital literacy is not free from cognitive challenges. Learners and to the educators, as to any body else in the society. need to adapt themselves to this new semiotic paradigm, which put into question our traditional cognitive culture, the processes of creation, validation and transmission of knowledge. Our traditional modes of communication, largely based on a paper/written centred culture, are now more focuses on the transmission of messages through images (Instagram), videos (You Tube), short texts (140 characters of Tweeter) or social platforms (Facebook).
Therefore, these new vehicles of digital literacy challenge traditional cognitive processes by introducing a new cultural system of creation and dissemination of knowledge. This new system is largely atomized and bottom up, in which anonymous participants are directly involved in the new cognitive culture. They participate in a talented and flexible manner, being capable to adapt themselves – through different and most of the time intuitive strategies – to a changeable and evolutive digital environment.
In this sense, individuals – learners and educators – require to have some ‘insolence’ in their approach to existing cognitive structures. They need to explore new cognitive paradigms, new form of validation and transition of knowledge, which escape from the traditional archetypes of the written literacy and transient the conservative and well-rooted printed cognitive means.
An insolent approach does not mean to be dismissive regarding the existing cognitive processes. Insolence needs to be seen as culturally contextual, as any other cultural activity, in order to have a meaningful effect within the cognitive environment in which individuals interact. In fact, digital literacies need to build upon the existent knowledge in a creative but unorthodox or perhaps insolent manner.
In short, digital literacy would require talented cultural insolence in order to provide sustainable answers to the changeable cognitive needs of the digital era.
And… that is precisely what I would need to do. That is, to be slightly insolent vis-à-vis my lack of digital knowledge, having a learning by doing approach in order to overcome the potentially existing digital gap.
My digital era… perhaps! by Alejandro Fuentes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.