Empowering Digital Literacy
We are experiencing a world in transformation. The changes we are submitted to are accelerated by the deployment of the digital technologies in all areas, a process which is generally subsumed under the term “digitalisation”. Moreover, the corona pandemic is forcing now a large part of us to use digital tools to communicate, to work and to do business . This is not only a technological change because technology is never neutral. It shapes the society and the individual, creating new subjectivities and relationships between people. This process also affects the communication behaviour, the ways of living together, society and politics. The use of digital technologies itself influences people's perception, thinking and feeling. To understand this changes, to meet them confidently, to develop digital maturity is a learning task for the whole society.
We understand digitalisation as a comprehensive process that presupposes and promotes technological change, brings about changes of the whole society and is politically framed. Digital literacy does not mean adapting to technological change in the best possible way. In addition to acquiring technological knowledge and skills, the aim is to develop an awareness of the various dimensions of digitalisation – and to ask how it can be shaped so that it serves the well-being of all.
One path could lead us to a dystopian future, between the Orwell's Big Brother nightmare, with technosurveillance and killer robots and Huxley's Brave New World, with people indifferent to the real living world, absorbed in digital consumption, virtual reality entertainments and coached by artificial intelligences which fullfill their desires before they express them. The other path could help us build together a more open, less hierarchical, supportive, inclusive and decentralized society. In this society, people would share knowledge and intelligence and cooperate with the help of the digital technologies to solve the complex and intewoved crisis that we are now facing at a planetary level: ecological, sanitary, economical, social and ethical. Should we think of human beings in terms of “naked life” and “data flows” or do we keep them in the loop?
To this end, we offer various considerations. The contributions provide information on the history of digitalisation, artificial intelligence, Work 4.0, cyber-bullying, big data, new structural change of the public sphere, the EU data protection regulation and cooperative work with the help of digital tools. The wiki was used in our exchanges both as a collaborative platform and as a support for content production. It was thought as a tool for exchanging and structuring knowledge, share ressources and help our team to organize its work and to collaborate remotely . It has also been used with a pedagogical purpose, to make the team members familiar with on-line collaborative editing, commenting and exchanging ressources. Moreover, the contributions contain descriptions of formal and non-formal training methods. They were tested in joint workshops to be applied in adult education.
The result that we propose is a picture of what has been achieved during a dynamic process. Our common work can be compared with a journey where we had learned to know each other and to advance together, to enrich ourselves with our differences, cultural and professional, sometimes with missunderstandings and divergence of views, sometimes with great moments of joy and cohesiveness. The main conclusion of this journey is that we all agreed on one point: technology is not a purpose in itself. The human relationships and the exchanges are essential.