A crisis of trust has erupted on the web. We no longer simply laugh at ancient memes of a dog being a cat. Now election interference, online bullying, catfishing, Nigerian princes promising riches ...all threaten users of the web. Even more troublesome Congressional hearings and a presidency are now threatened by online manipulation. All of these threats to our community share the web with animtate gifs and familty cat photos.
We stand at an inflection point in the life cycle of the interent. Youth and adults now turn to the web as the primary text for information (cite Pew studies). Yet users young (Leu et al, 2015) and old (Smaford Study) do not often question what they read online. What causes this paradox? How do we spend more and more screen time but our ability to wade through the web has dimished? One explanation could be the rise of monoculture paltforms, silos with billions of users,that many people around the world belive is the internet. (need to search bookmarks for source).
The crisis of trust threatens our local schools. Study after studies only show our youth and adults do not have the knowledge and skills to evaluate online information. Even more troubling new skill gaps are emerging that fall on racial and econominc lines (Leu et al, 2015).
The economic threats of ceding control of the local web to centralized commercial platform is very real in local communities. In 2017 impressions and traffic from facebook business pages dropped 20% as the company decided to tweek the algorithim. Local communites need to help support businesses on to the local web.
The large centralized platforms also influence local politics. Female candidates running for local office face far greater harrassment and threats of doxxing. While there are correlations to political activity most studies find the noise has little effect on policy. In order to model the civility necessary at the national level of politics our local communities need to support the local web.
We believe establishing the local physical library as a place to onboard patrons to the web will help overcome issues we face in education, economics, and politics. This proposal if funded, would create a system for local library patrons to check out a domain, a web address (url), and get two gigabytes of storage annually for free. In essence the local library becomes a shared host and archivist of the local web and a builder of our democracy. Such an approach would allow the development and enforcement of local codes of conduct and help create a web literate populous. These two factors will together help create local knowledge and work to restore a web of trust.
As we ignored the literacy issues of the web our shred thrughts became threatened. As educators we must shape the spaces of learning to bring in ideals of democratice education (Dewy 1934). For Dewey democacry was not simply a form of government. It is a way of being, of experiencieng (cite) the best human collective action could muster. This framework provides us with a lens to understad the role of community, experiencing inquiry, and reflective action.
Community matters in the construction of the web. Dewey (1927) noted, ‘[a] Great Community can only occur with free and full intercommunication’ (p. 211). In terms of fighting fake news and wrestling back control of the web from corporate silos we must build a shared experience around common goals with elements of experimentation and criticality (Bruce & Bishop, 2008). This framework provides us with guidance that the outcome of the communituy matters as much as individual changes in skill. Such community inquiry allows people to construct knowledge from both the personal and the collective Shore et al., 1996).
Human thought begins with experience mediated by culture, history and tools (Cole & Engstrom, 1993). For Dewey (1916) the difference lie in reflection. Experiencing differed to adjusting to phsycial stimulus through the act of reflecting on the experience. As we condiser the literacy of the web this learning happens both the indiviudal and social levels. For Dewey this creates a significant relationship between art and experience Dewey, 1934). The web is not different. When designing oneself on to the web it marked by many small experiences with beginning , middle and ends. From adding your first post to redesigning websites, You can not seperate the personal feelings from the learning. Yet together these small little experiences represent the experiencing of the web. Our expression emerges between the artisrty and agency (Tierney, 2008) withing the community and as educators we must shape this community through reflective practice.
Refelctive thought drives learning. Dewey (1934) noted that thinking occurs in "forked road situations" where we are presented with problems and mist work through proposed alternatives. Dewey argued that through training we could transform learners natural capacitities to project future outcomes into the habits of critical inquiry. Chip Bruce argues this type of democratic education occurs best in community of inquiry (bruce & Ching-liu, 2009). Jmes Paul Gee, like (2016) highlights the cirucuit of reflective thought as being essential to learning. By providing partipciants with a domain of their own we hope The web, and by extension our democracy needs a literate populous with these habits. T
This thought and exeperiences are culturullay mediated and invole practices and tools developed throughout out literate histories (Gutiérrez & Rogoff, 2003). The monoculture of the web threatens nondominant narratives as users conform to one design aestethic or worse get ran off the web by actors more effective at network technologies. As educators responsible for teaching the citizens of our great democratic experiment we have an obligation to build a better web.
We incorporate a committment to community, experience, and reflection in the design of our formative experiment. By rooting our project in the local libraries we seek to utilize the art of shaping oneself and one's community online. Bruce, (1998) building off of Halliday's work on understanding reminds us we need to learn technlogy, about technology and through technology. For today's library patrons you can not know how truth is shaped online until you shapre your own.