eCitizenship: A Perspective from the Field
Make sure to check out Brian’s presentation about eCitizenship at the ADP 2012 National Meeting in June (#ADP12)! Here’s the information:
|Friday, June 8 | 3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.Concurrent Session: Activism 2.0: Tools and Practices for Change through eCitizenship
With the recent evolution and social significance of social networking, it is becoming increasingly important to explore opportunities for meaningful integration of social networking sites as opportunities for guided and purposeful learning of the tools themselves, and their increasing significance in civic engagement and education.
Social Media and Social Change: Frameworks for Connecting eCitizenship to Leadership
Presenter: Brian LeDuc, Manager, Leaders in Kennesaw (LINK) Ascend Program, Center for Student Leadership, Kennesaw State University (Ga.)
Engaging Students in eCitizenship through OpEd Writing, Ethical Debates and Peer Review: The Anthropology Community Action Project
Presenter: Karol Chandler-Ezell, Assistant Professor, Anthropology Program, Stephen F. Austin State University (Texas)
The Medium is the Messenger: Using Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom
Presenter: Chapman Rackaway, Associate Professor of Political Science, Fort Hays State University (Kan.)
By Brian LeDuc, Manager for Leadership Programs at Kennesaw State University (Ga.)
As efforts for social change evolve to include or rely upon social networks to inspire, educate, and facilitate movements, our students are becoming not only citizens in the physical spaces of our democracy but also digital citizens in new online and social media spaces. And with the drastic increase in and emphasis on web 2.0, the evolution of online participation has begun to impact nearly every aspect of daily lives. But presence, especially within the civic arena, is unlikely to inspire action—so, as Reshan Richards (2010) mentions in his work on digital citizenship and social media, our understanding and assertion about what participation online entails must be infused with an acknowledgement of the tenets and requisite responsibility of such power and access.
While many have debated the sustainability of such tools as catalysts for change in the complex systems that exist beyond blogs and tweets, the recent proliferation of social movements focused through social media channels identify that these networks are not only willing to contest the skepticism, but that they are reshaping how we view relationships and information, and how we organize, unify and mobilize ourselves.
Whether you’re willing to describe the Obama campaign’s focus on social media in 2008, or the presence of #Occupy, KONY2012, or Travon Martin on your Facebook timeline as a political media turning point or not, its presence in our collective consciousness as a means of creating topics of sudden concern goes beyond criticism of the source, or even the content itself. They signify a turning point marking the virility of a message through a new medium in driving activism, much the way that Gutenburg’s printing press dawned unprecedented communication and access to information. More importantly, however, the participatory, conversational, and democratizing nature of social networks drives the content and message to let users decide their relevance or importance.
To the educator, an essential focus beyond enhancing knowledge and effective use of the tools or movements taking place on these networks are the collateral forces impacting the students growing up with them. Reflecting their own lives and growing up “on” social networks, effective and responsible use of these tools and the movements will depend on the values, ethics and knowledge of users.
In an effort to effectively empower digital and social citizenship responsibly, I believe the conversations must begin with self-reflection and awareness in the context of leadership. Thankfully, in a concurrent session on eCitizenship at #ADP12 with Chapman Rackaway (Fort Hays State University) and Karol Chandler-Ezell (Stephen F. Austin University), I will be exploring my reflections of social media and citizenship, frameworks to connect our current practices connected to eCitizenship in the context of leadership, and empowering educators to create programs that explore the increasing levels of complexity related to our lives as digital citizens.
James Matthew Barrie once said “the printing press is either the greatest blessing or the greatest curse of modern times, one sometimes forgets which.” I believe we’re nearing a similar point with respect to social media—it is time that we come together to ensure the message we intend to impart is clear, and that we provide meaningful opportunities for reflection, understanding, and skill development for our students.
Please, join me in this conversation around leadership, social media, and citizenship in the weeks ahead, and let’s connect in San Antonio!
Brian LeDuc is a Manager for Leadership Programs at Kennesaw State University, focusing on the Ascend program developed around domestic exchange projects grounded in leadership development to impact local and national social issues. He holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Roger Williams University and is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University with a Masters in Educational Administration. He recently completed a two-year term serving as a Student Member on the National Association for Campus Activities Board of Directors. He writes frequently on his blog at brianfleduc.com and can be found on twitter, @BrianFLDuc.