1. Digital Literacy
a. I cannot pick only one aspect that I believe is the most important because there are a few that I think deserve recognition. Firstly, being digitally literate allows you to become a citizen of the world in a way, because we discussed a lot about global citizenship and how we should be empathetic towards others and I believe that we could do that through internet communication. Because when one is able to be skeptical, think critically, asses the credibility of sources, communicate with others worldwide, be the voice of the marginalized ,etc. they would be on their way to becoming a digital citizen of the world. And so of course, communication is also a very important aspect because when one is digitally literate, they are able to communicate on a global scale with friends and family and even strangers across a variety of mediums. I think that collaboration is also an important aspect as it allows for people to talk about inequalities, problems and crises with the hopes of being able to “collaborate” with one another to hopefully be able to make a change. But before being able to collaborate, everyone must have the necessary skills to be able to feel empowered and empower others digitally. This is something i mentioned in the last question for this section, which is online safety. I believe that it is just as critical as being able to communicate and to collaborate because if we are not safe while doing so then i believe that we could cause more harm than good. We must be able to learn how to protect our identity, accounts, data and to what extent do we want our digital footprints to grow. Lastly, i think another important aspect of digital literacy is evaluation especially with the increase of fake news and biased reports and journals, one must have the skill to be skeptical and to be a critical thinker instead of just accepting whatever information is presented merely because it was on the internet.
b. I technically call myself a “cave man” when it comes to using technology because I feel like I only have the basics covered such as researching, using social media accounts, editing pictures but when I am given a task that I am not familiar with I always panic and resort to google like my grandmother does when she wants to know how to like a post on Facebook. Because even though to a certain extent my generation was always exposed to a certain kind of technology, I was always the type of person that preferred pen and paper as opposed to using computers. So when we were given the Narrative Game assignment, I was so worried because I could not for the life of me understand how I could make it seem like it was a game. But after attending the workshop, I learned about how to use Google Forms and Powerpoint to do so and I ended up learning a lot when I actually had to bring my game to life. I also loved the hypothes.is activity, because this was something I never knew existed and this made me add another digital skill where I was able to read other people’s thoughts and get feedback on what I wrote and so this also contributes to the idea of being a global citizen through the use of different mediums. Finally, another assignment that really made me become aware of the importance of being digitally literate was the Exploring Digital Literacies reflections because i remember that at first i was shocked because of how long the assignment was but when i started doing it i realized that every step facilitated the next step that i had to do. And the most important lesson i came out of this assignment with was, was the differentiation between digital skills, literacies and fluency because if you had asked me what the difference between these words were before i had done the assignment i would have probably assumed that they all meant the same thing.
c. This is something we briefly talked about when group members were presenting and when one of our assignments had online security as one of the options for our activities but I think that it is as important for us to learn about online security as it is to learn about digital literacies. Because I believe that throughout this course we have learned new technological skills such as the wikipedia workshop and even though we never went through with the assignment, it was still interesting for me to learn about how we can all be a part of this platform to share information. Also, when working on out podcast we had to use Audacity, which was new to me and so we had to challenge ourselves by learning to use a different medium from what we were used to and finally, the portal we used for Soliya was new to most of us. So my point is that we have learned about the skills needed for us to become digitally literate but I feel like we should have focused more on how to protect ourselves especially because we keep leaving more and more digital foot-prints on the Internet. I would have also liked to talk about how we could hypothetically implement a class where schools would teach younger generations about the dangers of being literate digitally especially at a young age, because I remember when we had a class discussion on how younger siblings and cousins live their lives now as opposed to how our childhood was like.
- Intercultural learning
a. The most important thing is to be able to fully know your own culture and how it is similar and/or different to other cultures. It is also very important for people to realize that due to the increase of people using the internet and with all of the technological advancements the world is facing, we have to constantly deal with people from other cultures and as a result, we must learn how to be accepting, tolerant and open to new things. I think that another important aspect is to be open and tolerant to ambiguity, where we learn to be open when we learn something new about another culture that could be very different from what we are used to in our own culture. By doing so, we will make it possible for us to learn about differences and understand how or why people in another culture think and act the way they do. Also, when showing others that you are open to learning about their culture, you will make them comfortable enough to ask you about your culture and they would be keen on learning more because they felt like you were understanding and open. I think that communication and debating skills are important because when you learn how to peacefully communicate and negotiate, you will be on the road to become a more tolerant person when it comes to learning about differences. I think this is very important because this problem all of the time with Egyptians, where they feel like they can criticize their country but ONLY with other Egyptians. And the minute a non-Egyptian gives any criticism everyone becomes extremely defensive and they do not allow that other person to voice their opinion so i think that debate and negotiation skills are of pivotal importance.
b. Of course, Soliya because the whole point of this activity was to learn how to communicate with other people from all over the world and to learn about their cultures while you are also given the freedom to answer any questions that others had about your traditions and beliefs. The time that was most beneficial for me was when our facilitator randomly chose participants to go to the break-out room where we would have one on one conversations about our final papers. I benefited the most then because it was very personal in the sense that you would feel connected to the person you were speaking with and the conversation was very flexible and that is why i suggested in the next question that having something like a pen-pal would be interesting . And i have previously used this assignment before but the Danger of a Single Story is also applicable here because we need to be able to be accepting and open to learning about other cultures or we will fall trap to believing that our culture or the only culture that we are exposed to is the only thing that is out there.
c. Due to the fact that our Soliya groups were not by any means diverse and most of the participants would not show up i think that it would have been interesting if we were given the opportunity to communicate online with people who are from cultures that are very different from our own, maybe something like a pen-pal but online. That way, our conversations would be to our own liking and we would be able to learn more about our cultures because we are not restricted to talking only about certain readings or completing certain activities like we had to do in Soliya.
3. Global citizenship
a. I believe that the most important aspects are critical thinking and cross-cultural awareness. Starting with critical thinking, I believe that it is of the utmost importance to educate others to not just accept information that is superficial or that is given at face-value. Instead, one must delve deeper and try to think from other perspectives, empathize with the “other” and lastly, use their own schematic knowledge of the world and try to think about whether or not a certain claim is true. Because for me, global citizenship is a means of unification amongst people of the world regardless of gender, race, borders, culture or any man-made category. I have previously voiced out my opinion in class with regards to citizenship and said that I believe that it is a man-made invention that only meant to divide and separate but I believe that global citizenship is what we should all strive for because at the end of the day, we are all inhabitants on planet Earth and therefore, we must learn to co-exist with one another. To do so, we must be able to filter out the divides that mean to segregate us as a people and we can achieve this if we think critically. Thinking critically could also lead to us being able to see that these man-made divides are superficial and this can help us look past stereotypes and be able to work together as a people.
b. My choice of activity may seem a bit weird because I do not think that the message behind this game was to help raise awareness of global citizenship but after reflecting on it, I believe that it has left a profound mark on me. There was this game where we as a class had to write down labels on flashcards and then we were each given a few random labels and these labels made up our identity. Then we were asked questions and had to move forward if our identity “allowed it” and take steps backwards if it didn’t. This game was really eye-opening because it made me realize that even though we are all living together on the same planet, you are priviliged if and only if you have the “superior labels”. It made me realize that we are not global in anyway and that global citizenship is not something that is applied in the world because these labels either made people move forward, remain in the same spot or take steps backwards. Also, I would like to point out that for another course I am taking this semester, we were given the option to do a take home exam or to write a research paper with the topic of our choice. It is a history course titled “Imperialism” and then I thought of the TED Talk we watched in class, The Danger of a Single Story” and it inspired me to come up with a topic for my paper.I was proud of this because it made me realize that the lesson I learned from the talk resonated so much with me that I applied what I learned from it in another class.
c. I believe that because we were all really interested in the topic of education, maybe we could have learned more about the application of global citizenship in the educational system and then learn about the impacts it might have on future generations. I was actually very interested in this topic after my presentation with Nayera and Camille on global citizenship because I got to read more about how education on said topic could actually prevent extremist violent acts, so maybe learning more about the application just than the theory could have been interesting. We could have also had like a creative discussion where we could have each proposed the ways that we thought were most applicable for the application of global citizenship in the Egyptian curriculum. Also, we could have had debates about this topic and I came up with this idea after Mohamed’s presentation on Citizenship, where he brought up the question of whether or not the robot Sophia deserves the Saudi-citizenship. I think that having debated about controversial topics such as citizenship especially given the refugee crisis the world is dealing with (as Nayera suggested) could really help us to think critically about this topic.