Monday, December 16, 2013

eDemocracy, eLearning, eGovernment eEverything

-         Lots of arguments start when people find they are using the same words but using them differently.  I want to make it clear here that I'm using many words almost as synonyms.  

L  Four sets of synonyms I am using: 
  • Online, digital, electronic, internet “e” – eg. eLearning, eGovernment
  • Digital democracy, eDemocracy, internet democracy, digital citizenship
  • Direct democracy, participatory and/or pure democracy
  • Education, change, democracy

The function of #ePetitions in #ParticipatoryDemocracy and #FuturEd

A petition is a request to do something.  Typically a petition sets out a problem and demands that responsible parties solve it.  An #ePetition is a request made accessible and sharable on the internet, using a variety of electronic polling and networking tools.   This means unlimited numbers of people can electronically sign the petition, and very large numbers of petitioners can be difficult for responsible parties to ignore.  This is the essence of true democracy – individuals participating in decision-making on an equal basis – one person, one vote – with a simple majority being able to reach the decision.   True democracy transformed itself into representative democracy before we had the tools for everybody to be involved, so individuals are elected to represent large numbers of people who transfer their voices to their representative.  The flip side of representative democracy is direct democracy where individuals have the opportunity and the responsibility to engage in informed decision-making.  The internet makes this possible, the scale of global problems makes this necessary, digital petitions are vehicles for direct democracy and positive change, and education systems must take a responsible role immediately.   In this context, democracy, education and change are essentially synonyms. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

And now for something truly disruptive: ePetitions, Participatory Democracy and Education

I haven't been blogging for a long time, but I have something to say and I'm going to blog it.

I believe that the single best use of the internet at this point in time is for #digitaldemocracy or #participatorydemocracy - using all the tools available to animate social change.  

Social change and participatory democracy are needed because representative democracy is dead - unable to deal with the huge challenges we face on planet Earth.  In my view, too much time and energy is wasted on such drivel as organized global photo ops for politicians, and not enough is focused on the real issue of #social justice and #survivability - how we need to adapt our thinking and our social actions to survive as a species.

The tools that facilitate participatory democracy are the internet, online activism organizations, and #ePetitions, among other things.  I'm going to focus on ePetitions because they are so powerful at bringing about change AND they are an excellent teaching tool.  

The best ePetition organization I know is  Lessons I have learned from Avaaz have prompted me to make this commitment:  I will sign an online petition every day and I will encourage everyone else to do it too.  

Because it could be dangerous to mindlessly sign petitions, there are a number of associated skills that can be acquired in "the classroom" using ePetitions as a teaching tool.