What are Digital Communities and Platforms?
A digital community is an online community, also called an internet community or web community. Community members interact with each other primarily through the Internet. Many members of the online community feel like they are a part of a family of invisible friends.
A digital platform is any electronic tool for communication includes desktop, mobile, social and email software this covers websites and Social Media – Twitter, Amazon, Wattpad, etc.
Why is it important to understand Digital Communities and Platforms?
Digital learning communities transcend physical boundaries. Some families maintain work schedules or family responsibilities that prevent them from visiting the classroom during school hours. Others may not have the resources necessary to get to school independently. Still others may have negative memories of their own school experiences, and being in school buildings may still be uncomfortable. Digital learning communities invite families into learning spaces that are not constrained by the physical boundaries typically associated with school.
Digital learning communities recognize that learning happens in a variety of contexts. When I found my mystery green bug, I was at home, and my student and her mom found another member of my mystery bug family at the park. Therefore, digital learning communities have the potential to interrupt inequitable hierarchies of learning that value school-based learning above home- or community-based learning experiences.
Digital learning communities invite participation in a variety of ways. Families, educators, and students can choose to create content through photos, videos, or captions, or they may choose to respond to others’ creations through commenting, liking/favoriting media, or simply viewing it. All parties can choose their most comfortable mode of community membership.
Digital learning communities situate language as a resource, not a barrier. Digital learning communities depend upon visual media such as photos and videos, which interrupts the inequitable practice of situating one specific language (typically English) as the sole means of communication. We live in a world where we make meaning through signs, commercials, ads, emoticons, and other visual points of reference, and digital learning communities build upon these strengths. Families, students, and educators can choose to write captions and comments in the language they find most comfortable, and other members of the community can use online translation tools to make meaning across languages.
Digital learning communities tap into technology most families already access. Participation in digital learning communities depends on access to devices and access to internet. Research on the digital divide originated before the rise of smartphones, tablets, and other hand-held points of internet access. I found that while some families might not have a computer at home, almost all had a cell phone or tablet that they used to access the internet via a home network, work network, or cellular data network.
Parents: What You Wish You Knew: A Quick guide to the basics of Social Media (and the potential risks for children and teens)
“What is Digital Platform.” IGI Global, 2020, www.igi-global.com/dictionary/digital-platform/55829.
Tapia, Brenda. Virtual Communities. www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvZB2iz0JGo.
“Creating Spaces for Families: Exploring Digital Learning Communities” ASCD In Service, 1 June 2017, inservice.ascd.org/creating-spaces-for-families-exploring-digital-learning-communities/.