First of all this is just open thinking – I am looking for feedback.
I started thinking in this direction when I started working with Donna Lanclos back in 2014. We co-authored a blog post where Donna wrote:
In a post-digital academy, where presence may be seen as having value, understanding how an online persona is perceived is important, especially if one considers that opinions and judgements will be formed often with no direct interaction with the owner of the presence.
The context for this discussion around digital presence in academia was the use of Johari window for understanding how academics might perceive their digital presence, and how others would perceive it.
Johari Window (Luft and Ingham, 1955) is a heuristic exercise developed by psychologists to help people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. To use the tool a person selects from a list words that they would use to describe themselves. Other people also select words to describe the original person.
The words that match appear in the Open Area or Arena. Words that other people select that the originator did not, appear in the blindspot, and words that the originator selected but others did not appear in the Hidden Area or Façade.
A discussion can then be had around those words and what they might mean in the context the tool was used.
There is a lot of discussion around digital practices, but much of this is based on what is it that academics (or students) do with tools, or on platforms. Here I want to think about what they do with any cognitive/theoretical framework (if they have one for their practice) and their motivations for engaging with digital. In a very brief discussion with Andrew Preater, he also started me thinking about his drawing of the definition of Praxis from Freire; “reflection and action on the structures to be transformed.” This is possibly at the heart of where my thinking is going. I want to engage people with their practice, encourage reflection and action on both their existing practices, and the digital structures and background against which their digital self (Identity?) is perceived by themselves and by those with which they engage.
Is this Digital Praxis? I am looking for input.
The relationship between Johari and Digital Praxis
As a tool, I am thinking that the framework of the johari window might be a starting point for critical digital praxis. How you perceive your practice, and how you are perceived by others is the point at which understanding and reflection of your motivations for being in digital places and using digital as a tool can begin. That beginning of understanding may also be the commencement of transformation.
The original Johari window tool allows the use of 56 adjectives, from which someone selects 6 – 8.
In the application of the tool to digital praxis, thought needs to be given beyond these simple terms.
Replacing the 56 adjectives, I thought more in terms of behaviours or actions that would be selected from a list (thanks to Marcus Elliott for input), for example:
- (Edit – Dan Perry made a good point to me elsewhere that there is a need to explore without implying that there is one ‘right’ answer, or encouraging box ticking behaviour rather than something deeper. – so in the alpha version of this it will be made clear that none of these are “right answers” they are just perceptions of yourself, and how others might perceive you. )
- Accessible / responsive to others
- Authentic on social media
- Engages and participates on social media
- Collaborates in an open way
- Professional in social media
- Blogs regularly
- Blogs Prolifically
- Engages in professional spaces
- Is an advocate or ally for others in online spaces
- [Something about understanding power dynamics in online spaces]
- Uses open-licences to share work
- Amplifies other people’s work
- Suspicious (a better word?) of social media tools.
- Comments online on other people’s work (positive feedback)
- Identifies and mitigates biases
- Doesn’t see the value of social media in an organisational setting?
- Constructs separate personal and professional identities
- Is able to convey emotion, such as memes, in an appropriate way
- Uses hashtags to connect to wider conversations
- Something about perceptions of edtech? Need 2 or 3 statements
- Something about perceptions of Technology? Need 2 or 3 statements
- Creates content in a variety of formats suitable for potential users
Again. This is something where I would like input and suggestions for.
This is very early thinking, and more an exploration of an idea. As a tool, it should be emphasised that it is aimed at being reflective, not diagnostic. Should it become real, there will need to be testing, and guidance on use, ethics and supporting people who go through the process will also be a priority.
Luft, J.; Ingham, H. (1955). “The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness”. Proceedings of the western training laboratory in group development. Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles.