Didactical Tool: Digital Cultures

Authors: Thomas Köhler, Robert Kleemann
Tags: Digital Inclusion Digitalisation Digital Literacy

A digital culture is a concept that describes how technology and the Internet are shaping the way that we interact as humans or groups. It is always a shared, I.e., a collective phenomenon, that is learned from one’s environment. One may narrow it down to a certain context, for example an organization or digital reality, which leads to focused concepts. This means that a digital culture is the way (our everyday culture) we behave, think, and communicate within the current society.

What is it about?

With the emergence and further development of “life in the digital sphere”, a culture of its own increasingly developed, consisting of the most diverse groups and individuals, just as in the “real world”. With this development, not only positive and negative aspects emerged, but also manners. The examples deal with the omnipresent phenomena of hate speech, cyberbullying and digital cultures and their manifestations. The aim of these examples is to prevent cyberbullying and, if it does occur, to have measures and patterns of action ready to effectively resolve the issue. Furthermore, an understanding of the existence and form of digital cultures, as well as their effects on everyday life, should be demonstrated and developed. Users should read the concepts on Digital Cultures from the DigitClue project website, as well as watch or listen to other formats, depending on the example and interest.

Try it out

Example 1:
“Hate speech” and “fake news” have advanced especially in the context of the digital development of the world. In the context of peer groups and digital inclusion, “cyberbullying” is a familiar term among children and young people.

  • Explain the term “cyberbullying” and show possible consequences for the individual.
  • Discuss how to deal with the phenomenon of “hate speech”. Research possible factors that lead the authors to use this form of communication. You can share your Experiences on the D.I.-Map.
  • Develop a concept for dealing with “cyberbullying” with your pupils during a project week and have the pupils research and contact appropriate contact points in order to raise awareness and strengthen the pupils.
  • Create short videos using TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat or digital posters using PowerPoint or Paint, to avoid or deal with the issue. Share your findings with others on the D.I.-Map and/or with an “offline” workshop performed by the pupils themselves or an online workshop by using, for example, the app GatherTown.

Example 2:
Our society is not only dependent on its members as individuals but also on the existing and emerging groups within society. It is shaped and also formed by them. This process is very dynamic in digital cultures and its offshoots reach far into the “offline realm”. Think about how the aspect of “cultural difference” shows up within and between societies.

  • Are there similar structures within or between digital cultures?
  • What similarities and what differences do you see between cultures and digital cultures?
  • What makes them different?
  • Where do the digital and non-digital cultures have their points of contact or intersections?
  • Create a Mural, a Miro or a MindMup on which your findings are depicted.

Tell your colleagues

Sharing positive and negative experiences of digital inclusion in general, and the examples of use in particular, helps others to educate themselves and raise awareness. Users should share their experiences with their colleagues and thus increase the reach of the topic. Therefore, the project aims to establish a sharing platform that makes these experiences visible (anonymously) and offers the possibility to exchange projects, materials, ideas, and comments from their own country, but also worldwide. This platform will be available as a “D.I. Map” (Digital Inclusion Map – inspired by the “Queering the Map” project) on the DigitClue project website.

Thinking further

However, the development does not have to and should not end here. The users are encouraged to create their own projects and to adopt other perspectives, which can be chosen freely and vary according to the target group. The goal is a complete education and a barrier-free coexistence in the context of (digital) inclusion. Immersing yourself in the digital world through platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and co. can bring a whole new perspective to students’ individual needs and wants. If you’re not part of these communities yet, take heart and take a look with an educator’s eye.