Sunday, May 07, 2006

Metaphor shift


The idea of digital natives and immigrants evokes a world of nationhood defined by a territory to which you either belong or don’t. Similarly the notion of insiders and outsiders draws a geo-spatial map of our lifeworlds, suggesting a boundary that separates or divides. In contrast Web1.0/Web2.0 evokes the creation of a different environment or the development of new services. All these ideas seem like rather simple models of digital practice if we think instead in terms of repertoire across multiple domains of use. If we shift from a socio-political metaphor to a linguistic one perhaps we can more clearly identify how confidence, competence and fluency in a variety of digital contexts relates to emerging structures of power and status and where, and how they are contested. Questions that then arise are: What are the high status practices and who defines them? What explicit and implicit messages are communicated in education curricula and pedagogic routines? Whose practices are valued? Who are the winners …and so on. This view also helps us to show how certain practices function as identity markers, and how our digital accents are an index of our personal and social history, and how what we do digitally relates in more complex ways to other meaning-making practices in our lives.

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