We live in an age where our digital selves are an extension of who we are.

It’s a profound statement, but even the most seemingly mundane of mind (and that’s not to be offensive to the mundane of mind, or to infer that I am not the mundane of mind of which I speak, as I myself am a newbie here, dealing with these concepts), have embraced the very idea that the world within the digital realm offers the opportunity to exist in two simultaneous realities concurrently – So why the disconnect?

As a student commencing on a journey to redefine my digital self through an intricate game of “ketchup” (on all things digital), I am currently learning tricks, and bits, and bobs, which are expanding my repertoire as I venture to a goal which is being defined as I travel the course (The DS106 Course – DS106, look it up). The thing of it, is that I have come to realize and accept (through content which highlighted/pointed it out/told me… LOL) that what I am currently conducting is a Digital Facelift – I am having an absolute blast, playing on various platforms, redefining my digital presence from a single social media platform dedicated, other self; to a multi-platform, multi-skilled, multi-faceted and integrated, cohesive, interlinked and unified, constantly in flux, other self.

It’s a great excercise, but it is flawed in that these skills should not be something we need to pick up along the way, down the line, out of necessity, we need to change our outlook on the importance of digital preparatory practice for life. These skills should be as ingrained, as developed and intrinsic as the basic need to recite and use the alphabet (a meta tool, btw), because today’s alphabet is different, having been born out of the forward projection of technological advancement (the same way that letters put shapes to sounds), so that the new alphabet (and remember, on our online chats, we do talk in pictures these days), it looks something like this:

A-B-C-D-E-[Selfie]-F-G-H-I-J-[SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT]-K-L-M-N-O-P-[CODING][html][JSON]-Q-R-S-T-#-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

…Well, something like that.

I have a cousin, a young single developer, no kids, who one day when I was interacting with my child, who is PortuGreek (ie 1/2 Portuguese + 1/2Greek), and is being engaged with three languages (as we are primarily English speaking), commented that he would teach his toddler coding from a young age – silly? but profound? It made me think, as it speaks to the digital arc projected and expected in the future… Let’s teach our kids to be the Neo of their Matrix!

#ThePoint is that, we should be empowering the next generation, we should be enabling them through their educational trajectory, by realigning the education process so that the narrating, curating and sharing of knowledge is dependent on and intricately involved with the cultivation of a digital identity – always changing, always growing, always reflecting back and informing and redefining the self, making each student the architect of his or her own digital life. The physical learning environment needs to run in conjunction and in partnership with a digital learning environment so that the next generation is not only up to speed with the latest methodologies and tools, but that their involvement is the necessity which defines and results in the tools they need – so that our kids are not, like me, trying to get to grasps with SEO, now, short of forty…

We don’t want them to be investing time years later, making novice mistakes, taking toddler steps out of digital necessity… That maybe the current senselessness and shallowness of the current digital reality (which is symptomatically a great contributor to the stall to getting the digital more incorporated in the reality), like the celebrity selfie (which has become somewhat of a prostitution of our digital identity) may just be eradicated, minimized, a dreaded fossil of the past, as the new generation finds the openness they seek, which is an intrinsic human need for validation, as an outcome of cultivation (not discovery) of openness to the world, each other and ourselves through the nurturing and growth of the digital self; the widest external opposite to our internal selves.

It’s called a Personal Cyberinfrastructure this proposed but simple (the jargoned and nuanced incoherency of the above is ironically a direct result of its absence) solution, and it’s the Gold, it enables the students of the future to tower above us as the masters of their own webiverse.


NB Side note: Because in case it’s not obvious that this is part of a course… Now that Soz has jumped ahead to an excercise in Unit 2, he will round back and do those excercises he missed in Unit one)


Find Out More

http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure