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| FEATURE

and have the potential to mobilise new sets of thinking. Despite such noble visions,

Technology and the Citizen Scholar Education technology is an important

modern universities often reproduce

mechanism in achieving these

existing power relations, particularly

goals. Technology, when employed

in a time of neoliberalism driven

correctly, can open pathways that

by differentiated fee payments

both connect and empower students.

and decreasing public funding.

Notably, as established academics

Furthermore, the content driven,

and researchers, many of us already

discipline-specific learning

do this in our intellectual projects. We

environments do not encourage a

tend to be problem-oriented and push

pedagogy that fosters creative thinking

for change in our research. We seek

or even societal action (Friere, 1970).

to challenge existing power structures

A central purpose of higher education is to improve the societies in which we live and foster citizens who are creative, innovate and have the ability to critique the structures around them with the purpose of community betterment.

and influence how society is shaped.

establish student project teams that

and monitored by the people who

vision of a pedagogy is one that

We do not treat knowledge as uniform,

cooperate and share lessons as well

populate the space.

is rooted in the lived experience –

appreciating that context is important,

as learning materials. Students can

something that is increasingly relevant.

and we take evidence seriously in the

become culturally competent not

Political processes have been slow

Friere (Ibid) argues that we need to

knowledge generation process.

through some ‘tick the box’ approach,

to catch up to the online world. For

but by embedding learning across

example, online petitions gather

the curriculum.

hundreds of thousands of signatures,

Echoing Gramsci, Friere’s (1970)

confront inequality through motivating

The challenge is to ensure that

Beyond the social is the political.

students to question, challenge

we follow such a path in our learning

and agitate around existing power

environments. We should not let the

structures. He believed that education

dominant pedagogical model focus

the ‘new literacies’ proficiency. That

voices to be heard? For the Internet

was about addressing the needs of the

on disciplinary content transfer. Nor

is, the use of technology, design

to be a truly democratic space, our

masses and to teach them to make a

should we privilege lecture spaces

and systems thinking, as well as

democratic institutions (including

better society by addressing inequality.

in which individuals stand up at the

understanding how programming

universities) must recognise its real-

But what is additionally inspirational,

front and speak at, rather than with,

languages work should be seen as the

world presence. Genuine interactions

and reinforces the vision for the Citizen

students. Despite this, many of us still

fourth dimension of literacy – taking

online may be different in nature, but are

Scholar, is how Friere identifies that the

do. As such, we must challenge these

us well beyond reading, writing and

no less real.

way we teach needs to connect with

structures and expect more from our

arithmetic. This is fundamental in

problems surrounding us and who

learning environments. To do this, we

both ensuring employability skills,

technology at its core. This is

we teach needs to be diverse, “No

need a pedagogical stance that moves

but also understanding that much of

not technology for technology’s

pedagogy which is truly liberating can

us towards a practice that fosters

contemporary citizenship also happens

sake, however. Rather, the call is

remain distant from the oppressed by

Citizen Scholars of our students.

in an online environment.

for technology that is driven with

treating them as unfortunates and by

Though there many ways we

The second is by operationalising

Despite its many downsides, the

but where are the vehicles for these

The Citizen Scholar has education

pedagogical intent and focuses on

presenting for their emulation models

can interact with technology to

Internet as a space of democratic

developing graduate proficiencies as

from among the oppressors. The

achieve the pedagogical stance of

interaction is incredibly valuable. It

well as engaged and active citizens.

oppressed must be their own example

the Citizen Scholar, here I will focus

must be fostered and should be part

Anything less will not only fail our moral

in the struggle for their redemption”

on two. The first is to ensure that we

of any civics education program

obligation to students, but will leave

(Freire, 1970).

are pedagogically driven rather than

for its speed, its links to such a

open the question, why do universities

technology driven. Technology should

vast array of information, its uptake

exist? n

of both Gramsci (1971) and Friere

be seen as a delivery mechanism of

among young people and its capacity

(1970), we must ensure that our

our pedagogical strategy rather than

to break down social barriers and

learning environments establish a

a strategy in and of itself. If we refer

equalise interactions.

pedagogical frame that integrates a

to some of the graduate proficiencies

sense of moral and ethical purpose

highlighted in Figure 1, we can see that

is not the problem; the challenge is in

to learning; that actively integrates

‘internationalisation’ is fundamental

the approach we take to etiquette. This

Dean of the Graduate Research School

cultural pluralism in developing

in preparing the Citizen Scholar. This

includes ensuring that we provide the

at Western Sydney University. He is also

knowledge and understanding that

involves working across cultures, in

civic skills to interact meaningfully and

a lecturer in Humanities and a member

aspires to liberate the learner from

different cultural context as well as

allow for disagreement through social

of the University’s Institute for Cultural

existing power structures by fostering

cultural competence and ‘cultural

media and other forums as spaces for

and Society. He is a board member of

a desire to challenge and change the

humility’ (Nomikoudis & Starr, 2015).

engagement. Many institutions have

the Public Education Foundation, the

social system in which we live; and

The appropriate employment of

developed ‘netiquette’ guidelines, as

Chair of Diversity Arts Australia, an

If we interpret the messages

This means that the space itself

For a full list of references, email admin@interactivemediasolutions. com.au Professor James Arvanitakis is the

that connects the reality around us and

technology can allow us to ensure

well as the skill to self-police bullies

Academic Fellow at the Australian India

its many problems to the knowledge

that students connect across the

and trolls. This is social etiquette at its

Institute and a Research Fellow at the

generation process.

world and different cultures. We can

egalitarian best in that it was developed

Centre for Policy Development.

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