Literacy and citizenship in the digital age – University of Copenhagen

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Literacy and citizenship in the digital age

Within the most recent decades, digital communication technologies have changed the cultural and political institutions that make up our society.

Political processes and cultural participation take place in a new technological framework where traditional notions of knowledge, authority, identity etc. are being challenged.

This, in turn, has created a call for new goals and strategies within our educational systems: If we are to educate our children and young people into responsible and capable ’digital citizens’ we have to reconsider the properties of literacy and citizenship in the 21st century.

This challenge has been met in a range of ways leading to a range of checklists and competence frameworks such as the '21st century skills'. However, such checklists and frameworks tend to instrumentalize the concepts of literacy and citizenship and obscure their more general and historical origins in the democratic traditions of our western societies.

The aim of this international seminar is to reinstate the debate about 'digital literacy' within the democratic tradition and historical ethos of our educational systems.

10.30 – 11.00   Registration, Coffee and Croissants

11.00 – 11.15   Welcome. Anne Mette Thorhauge, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen

11.15 – 11.30   Opening speech. Merete Riisager, Minister of education.
(Video recorded speech)

11.30 – 11.50   Kjetil Sandvik, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen

Creating digital literacy - notes from the field

Challenging the idea of today's children being 'digital natives', this presentation presents how digital technology may be acquired, learned, experimented and played with from the early years and onwards. As with everything else, digital technology must be learned and appropriated in order for children (and grownups) to achieve (digital) literacy. We present a couple of cases where this has been done in daycare institutions through collaborative and playful processes between children, pedagogues and researchers.

11.50 – 12.05   Short break

12.05 – 12.45   Jackie Marsh, Professor, University of Sheffield and Affiliate professor, University of Copenhagen

Young children’s digital making as creative citizenship

In recent years, the concept of creative citizenship has drawn attention to the way in which digital production and making in general can contribute to civic engagement and the fostering of social responsibility. In this paper, I reflect on young children’s digital production in the light of these developments, considering the implications for early years education. 

12.45 – 13.10   Discussion

13.10 – 13.50   Lunch

13.50 – 14.00   Welcome back. Anne Mette Thorhauge, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen

14.00 – 14.40   Hanne Warming, Professor, Roskilde University 

Children as citizens in a digital age – inclusive or disciplining learning processes?                                     

In acceleration society, childhood exposes tensions of speed and slowness as well as hope and fear related to new technologies, social changes, and risks and risk management resulting in increasing governmentalisation of childhood. In this presentation, I discuss how this governmentalisation of childhood shape children’s lived citizenship.

14.40 – 14.50   Short break

14.50 – 15.30   Kirsten Drotner, Professor, University of Southern Denmark

Children’s freedom of speech in the 21st century: Options and obstacles

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) states children’s freedom to receive, shape and share information of their own choice. This basic right is currently being curtailed by a powerful cocktail of corporate platform providers and a panic industry. The presentation addresses contested issues surrounding children’s rights of information, situating these issues in relation to binaries of literacy definitions and drawing on examples from a recent research project examining Danish children’s digital production processes.

15.30 – 16.00   Discussion

Download the program as PDF here

Participation is free but we need you to sign up. 

Registeration deadline was 8 November 12 o'clock