Digital Culture & Education (DCE) embraces ‘slow citizenship’ into the future

Christopher S Walsh


Published Online: December 15, 2014
Full Text: HTML, PDF


Volume 6, Issue 4 celebrates 6 years since we first launched Digital Culture & Education (DCE), an output of a successful Australian Research Council (ARC) grant entitled ‘Literacy in the Digital World of the Twenty First Century: Learning from computer games’  (Beavis, C., Bradford, C., O’Mara J. and Walsh, C. S.).  It has been an amazing journey and we are undoubtedly continuing to grow with 2014 being the first year we have published four issues.  As a completely dedicated open-access educational journal, we are not only dependent upon our cadre of talented editorial boards members, but indebted to them for their on going pro bono work, support and dedication.

DCE’s success to date has been achieved through trust, collaboration and shared endeavours, particularly through special guest edited themed issues.  This year in collaboration with Tama Leaver and Michael Kent, we published ‘Facebook in Education: Lessons Learnt’   This special issue takes the tenth anniversary of Facebook as an opportunity to critically reflect on role of that platform in higher education, whilst simultaneously engaging with some of the larger questions about the place of education online, questions which pre-date the emergence of MOOCs by a significant number of years. Then working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and co-supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, and the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), DCE published ‘Innovative programmatic approaches to HIV prevention and care services for gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender persons using information and communication technology (ICT)’.  This special issue, edited by Darrin Adams, Kent Klindera, Christopher S. Walsh and R. Cameron Wolf, celebrates and shares the timely and crucial work of frontline workers, activists, researchers and educators working in the field of HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care. It is also the follow-up to an earlier special issue from 2012, ‘Prevention as a solution: Building the HIVe’.  Taken together, both guest edited issues offer relevant and applicable examples of digital technologies being leveraged, positioned and practiced towards community-based and led HIV prevention and care services in a digital era.

Thinking about the future trajectory of DCE, we are not only committed to remaining open access, but also equally committed to embracing an ethos of ‘slow citizenship’ over a trajectory of ‘fast citizenship’.  In this sense, DCE hopes to continue to publish work that explores how the tools of digital culture can be used to rethink not only how we live together with each other and machines, but also how we can leverage technology to create spaces for co-creation, co-production, debate and exchange that connect the local with the global.  Why slow citizenship to guide DCE? Because:

Slow citizenship would not seek to retreat from the discomforts and constraints of the physical world into the instant gratification of action in the virtual world, bit to address the lived problems and opportunities that being presented to communities by socio-technical change. Slow citizenship would seek to create space to explore and live with the new (and old) forms of diverse identity that our new socio-technical tools might offer. Slow citizenship would create a space for old and young to talk together, share expertise and insight across generations and build common response to shared problems. Slow citizenship would create conversation about the socio-technical structures we are building, and out responsibilities with in them and to each other. Slow citizenship would seek to reconnect the digital and the physical, to build bridges between the city street and the virtual world, and how these can enhance each other (p.100)

DCE embraces the vision of slow citizenship put forth by Facer at a time more defined by checking in and ‘sharing’ photos, than engaging in conversations and sharing aspirations for a more inclusive and democratic future. As our world wrestles with the depletion of resources, expanding wealthier and more demanding populations, economic globalisation, shifting socio-political values as fundamentalist belief comes into conflict with Western capitalism, and the reality that science and technology is transforming what is inherent to human existence (Craft, 2013), a trajectory of “fast citizenship in which digital technologies are used to ensure that everyone has a their say” (Facer, 2011, p. 99), does not challenge humans’ persistent confidence in an acquisitive, marketised, global culture despite increasing indicators of its destabilisation (Craft, 2013).

DCE continues to be interested in work that problematises digital cultural spaces in ways that reconnect the digital to the physical and offer new opportunities for children, young people and adults to engage in ‘possibility thinking’ and experimentation that is not dependent on commercial imperatives (Craft, 2013; Facer 2011). DCE hopes to publish more work that explores educational futures that challenge ‘what is’ in order to imagine ‘what might be’, “where ‘what is’ is a marketized, individualised narrative for childhood, youth, society and therefore education” (Craft, 2013, p. 132). We remain committed to keeping digital culture open to scrutiny and will continue to publish ideas, work and research that builds the capabilities and conditions for slow citizenship.  This is because this intentional stance tips the market balance in favour of more wise ‘possibility thinking’ because it has the potential to problematise the texts and narratives of fast capitalism—education, technology, money and science—that blur the reality they describe (Agger, 1989).  By unveiling these narratives in fast capitalism, through embracing slow citizenship, DCE hopes to publish work that reminds us individually, collectively and communally of our ability to imagine a preferable future where we live together and care for one another with the goal of designing a better world, built on trusting relationships.

In this issue

This issue begins with ‘Facilitating dialog in the game-based learning classroom: Teacher challenges reconstructing professional identity’ by Yam Sam Chee, Swati Mehorta and Jing Chuan Ong.  Their article explores the challenges teachers face when enacting authentic game-based learning predicated on dialogic pedagogy in the classroom. Rowan Tulloch then challenges the debate around gamification, conceptualising the concept not as a simple set of techniques and mechanics, but as a pedagogic heritage and an alternative framework for training and shaping participant behaviour that has at its core the concepts of entertainment and engagement in ‘Reconceptualising gamification: Play and pedagogy’. In ‘Digital ontologies of self: Two African American adolescents co-construct and negotiate identities through The Sims 2’, Tisha Lewis Ellison describes how two African American adolescent male cousins become co-constructors and negotiators of identity while playing The Sims 2.  Her work challenges educators to acknowledge how students participate with digital tools in communal spaces that shape how their literacy and identities are constructed, and it adds to the limited representation and investigation of African American family meaning-making and identity via digital tools. In, ‘Digital Culture and neuroscience: A conversation with learning and curriculum’, Kathryn Grushka, Debra Donnelly and Neville Clement outline the challenges faced by teachers as they engage in curriculum work that seeks to integrate the capabilities of our new digital culture in the design of learning experiences. It also highlights insights into human capacities for learning offered by neuroscience regarding the interplay of experience, memory, cognition, emotion and reflection in learning. Finally Robert Nelson and Phillip Dawson discuss their invention of a conversation simulator (or conversation sim) which illustrates how conversation and reading can be integrated in any Learning Management System (LMS). Their conversation sim for virtual learning demonstrates how automated educational technologies can positively contribute to the ongoing reinvention of reading and conversation through thoughtful absorption in a text and verbal interactivity over a topic. Daria Gladysheva, Jessica Verboom and Payal Arora present study investigates the phenomenon of museum communication through online video hostings, either by using YouTube or a customized platform in ‘YouTube as the art commons? Strategies, perceptions and outcomes of museums’ online video portals’.  Interestingly, they argues that as art becomes a cultural product to be consumed online, popular video portals such as YouTube serve as an important platform to facilitate this democratizing effect, with varied implications for the art world.

Into 2015

When Digital Culture & Education was conceived in 2006, open access publishing was not receiving the attention it does today. Our motivation for publishing DCE as an open access journal was simple.  We wanted to make all articles available to education practitioners—especially classroom teachers and front line workers—who might not have access to an academic library, and to scholars from institutions who are unable to fund that access. Open access was, for us, a way of disrupting the hegemony of academic publishing to intentionally reach a wider audience, particularly anyone who might find the work published in DCE useful. 2015 will see DCE continue to grow, with exciting changes.  We will be recruiting a new a co-editor, updating our website and publishing our first book under a first creative commons (CC) license.

We remain committed to publishing print and digital work that takes a critical approach to the issues raised by the increasing importance of new technology in all facets of society; in particular, research that examines the uneven uptake of technology, and perspectives on new media that emphasize its materiality, production, or environmental impact.  DCE has an open call for proposals for the development of guest-edited special themed issues and cover art. Guest editors and artists should send a short proposal or image to for more information.


Agger, B. (1989). Fast capitalism: A critical theory of significance. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Craft, A. (2013). Childhood, possibility thinking and wise, humanising educational futures.  International Journal of Educational Research, 61, 126–134.

Facer, K. (2011). Learning futures: Education, technology and social change. London and New York: Routledge.

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Author: Digital Culture & Education (DCE) embraces ’slow citizenship’ into the future - Digital Culture & Education
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Digital Culture & Education (DCE) is an international inter-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the exploration of digital technology’s impacts on identity, education, art, society, culture and narrative within social, political, economic, cultural and historical contexts.

We are interested in empirical and conceptual approaches to theorising globalisation, development, sustainability, wellbeing, subjectivities, networks, new media, gaming, multimodality, literacies and related issues and their implications for how we educate and why. We encourage submissions in a variety of modes and invite guest editors to propose special editions.

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The scale and speed at which digital culture has entered all aspects of our lives is unprecedented. We publish articles and digital works including eBooks (published under Creative Commons Licenses) that address the use of digital (and other) technologies and how they are taken up across diverse institutional and non-institutional contexts. Scholarly reviews of books, conferences, exhibits, games, software and hardware are also encouraged.

All manuscripts submitted to Digital Culture & Education (DCE) are double-blind reviewed where the identity of the reviewers and the authors are not disclosed to either party.

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Digital Culture & Education (DCE) invites submissions on any aspect of digital culture and education.  We welcome submissions of articles and digital works that address the use of digital (and other) technologies and how they are taken up across diverse institutional and non-institutional contexts. For further inquiries and submission of work, send an email to editor@