The emergence of digital technology and its ability to facilitate learning and development, fostering communication and contribution towards employability is a recent phenomenon that has sparked interest all over the world. As a member of Generation Y, my journey through the world of digital technology has been reflected by the advancements digital technology has gone through, in other words, as I have grown with it. My intentions behind taking this unit on board were to explore how I can utilise the digital platform to expand my knowledge as well as building networks with other people such as my classmates and colleagues. I am currently on the final two semesters of my course — Bachelor of Business/Commerce majoring in Human Resource Management, and this was actually the first and what will be the only (god willing) elective unit I’ve undertaken. What I have learnt throughout this unit has been invaluable, and this blog will demonstrate that by reflecting on my journey of digital technology before starting this unit (as evidenced in my very first blog) what I have learnt throughout this unit as well as how I will apply what I have learnt in this unit towards to my employability and future learning.
1. My Digital Journey
My initial stage of my journey through ‘Living, Learning & Working on the Web’ and establishing my digital identity was done by posting by my very first blog. It was my first experience posting a piece of writing in the public forum that encouraged feedback as well as constructive criticism for improvement. It provided an insight into my earliest experiences with digital technology from adolescence through to teenage hood all the way up to present day (adulthood). Digital technology was once only a means to preoccupy my time away from the more serious aspects of life such as my education however over time that has drastically changed. Digital technology has now become a platform which facilitates and encourages my education and enhances my employability. Zucker (2008) argues that technology is instrumental in achieving education goals and objectives, and can be a valuable resource for schools. Digital technology has also substantially beneficial for my career. My job entails me to demonstrate and train clients on how to use online products and software. Digital technology enables me to reach out to clients all over the country by providing platforms such as online meeting websites. Social Media platforms such as LinkedIn has been instrumental in enhancing my career outside of work by allowing me to connect with other professionals in my field as well as providing prospective opportunities for employment. Zide et al (2014) explains that recruitment for employment on social media platforms such as LinkedIn is done by scouting for the relevant qualities that the prospective employee demonstrates on their LinkedIn profile. This goes back what I learnt in this unit about digital identity, how ones digital identity can differ from different platforms. I wrote about this concept on the very first blog.
2. My Learning Experience
2.1 Writing in the Public Domain
There was a lot I learnt from publishing my first blog online and sharing it in the public domain. I felt comfortable with the whole process even though it was foreign to me. There were a number of reasons for doing that; the most influential factor was so I could the initiate step to official becoming a digital citizen. Mossberger et al (2007) explains that digital citizenship requires “educational competencies as well as technology access and skills”, all tools which were at my disposal. I enjoyed the aspect of having people, particularly peers and teachers reading my work and critiquing it. Nardi et al (2004) theorizes this sentiment by explaining how blogging allows for social interaction between bloggers and readers which establishes a relationship of sorts based on shared interests (which in this case was our blog topics). I made it a conscience effort to utilize the feedback which was provided to on my blogs to improve them and incorporate them into my future blogs.
Throughout the entire semester, the topic which sparked the most interest for me was the issue of Digital Surveillance. The reasons I felt most passionate about this topic was due to the fact that I felt strongly about the level of privacy individuals have when on the web. As an avid social media user I have been subjected unintentional exposure. I reflected this in my second blog by bringing up the example of googling my own name and seeing links to my old social media profiles. The topic of surveillance through digital technology is a growing concern for a number of reasons; there are a lot of key features on social media platforms that are able to obtain information on people (Fuchs et al 2012). Although I learnt a lot information about how digital surveillance works (for example breach of privacy on social media) it is definitely a topic which I would like to learn more about in the future. The reason being is because I feel that this issue of digital surveillance should be brought into the limelight to increase awareness. I feel digital technology has now become such a staple of life that it has surpassed that people only require it at their own free will, it seems now that people from previous generations being forced to increase their digital literacy (Gilster et al 1997). Though I don’t see a career for myself solely committed to the issue of digital surveillance per se, I do wish to continue to post blogs about it to increase awareness.
2.3 A Community of Practice
This unit ‘Living, Learning & Working on the Web’ really provided the opportunity and platform to share ideas, foster communication and encourage learning & development amongst students. I feel as though a community of practice was created within the unit via the social media platform of Facebook. I discussed the concept of a community of practice in more depth in my final blog post. The concept of a community of practice translated itself into the group work that was done for the digital campaign. There are a lot of advantages to having a community of practice some of which manifested itself when producing the digital campaign; Wegner et al (2012) describes a community of practice as ““groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” (page 4). That is precisely what transpired in our applied project group work. The group was formed based on a shared concern of digital surveillance — the topics I as well as the rest of my team members were most passionate about. The use of social media platforms such as Facebook was effective in contributing towards my learning as it provided ease of access and generated quick responses between my peers as well as with Jenna. I had used social media on a regular basis for group assessment in university however one aspect that changed was the fact that I shared my work with the entire unit. I’m not sure what my future has in store as far as the wide community of this unit but I definitely would like to keep in touch with my group members’ in the future through social media. Being part of this community of practice was the additional step which prompted me towards my objective of achieving digital citizenship. The group work further established my digital presence.
The use of digital tools such as Facebook was beneficial in facilitating our group work for applied project on our digital campaign. In addition the Facebook group chat which was created, we also utilised the university’s Zoom application to have audio conversations amongst the group to discuss how we were going to go about our campaign. There were a lot of advantages generated by the use of our social platform when doing our group work which included; generation of immediate responses as well as the ability to share thoughts, ideas and proposals in an efficient matter that was easy to understand for all parties involved. We were able to produce digital content that was relevant to our topic and disseminated by sharing it on a public platform and using social media language such as hashtags to get the message our digital content was attempting to convey across. Improvement which could’ve been made to our group work overall would’ve been to utilise alternative digital outlets to disseminate our digital campaign as the response we received was limited.
3. Final Chapter?
Overall, I’ve learnt a lot in this unit and enjoyed the way in which it was set up. It facilitated communication, ideas and feedback amongst my peers and provided the platform for me to express myself. I liked how all my favourite aspects of the unit intertwined together with a particular focus on digital privacy and being part of a community of practice and it culminated in my applied group project as it was based on the topic of surveillance and it formed a community with my peers. Before taking this unit on board I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I must admit what I have learnt will be applied to my future learning as well as my career. This is definitely not the end of my digital journey, rather simply the transition I have made from being a digital native to now becoming a digital citizen.
· Gilster, P. and Glister, P., 1997.’ Digital literacy’. New York: Wiley Computer,
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· Wenger, E., McDermott, R.A. and Snyder, W., 2002. Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Harvard Business Press.
· Zucker, A.A., 2008. Transforming Schools with Technology: How Smart Use of Digital Tools Helps Achieve Six Key Education Goals. Harvard Education Press. 8 Story Street First Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138
· Zide, J., Elman, B. and Shahani-Denning, C., 2014. LinkedIn and recruitment: How profiles differ across occupations. Employee Relations, 36(5), pp.583–604.
· Nardi, B.A., Schiano, D.J. and Gumbrecht, M., 2004, November. Blogging as social activity, or, would you let 900 million people read your diary?. In Proceedings of the 2004 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work (pp. 222–231). ACM.
· Fuchs, C, Boersma, K, Albrechtslund, A, Sandoval, M 2012, ‘Internet and Surveillance: The Challengers of Web 2.0’, Routledge
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