Module 2: Perceiving

eye pledge a legions 2 the flag

Perception may be most useful when we touch with our ears, taste with our fingers, smell with our eyes, hear with our noses and see with our tongues. That is, when we embrace the polysensual aspect of imaging, we open ourselves to the opportunity to perceive more than we otherwise might.

For module two, we were challenged to observe a well-known artifact from our topic area and then re-imagine it and re-present it, communicating the topic by appealing to a sense other than the primary one by which we first experienced it.

With [digital] Citizenship as my topic, I chose to examine the “Pledge of Allegiance,” a promise I uttered every day in school during my formative years, and something I would consider a core artifact of Citizenship. My primary experience of the pledge was auditory, speaking it myself as well as hearing my classmates and teachers speak it aloud. I started my examination of it by once again reciting the words I learned more than 50 years ago. I found myself dredging up the rote memory of thousands of recitations and recalled how through those many years, even though I knew what the words meant, they often flowed devoid of meaning from my mouth. I recalled the feeling of standing straight and tall with my hand over my heart and my eyes directed toward the flag mounted at the front of the room.

My re-imaging of the pledge is in a visual format but not simply the words on paper. Rather, I re-created the pledge in video form via a series of images re-presenting the words of the pledge, sometimes literally and other times playing off their sounds but not their meanings. After several passes at using images alone, I decided that the video required some audio accompaniment. Searching through a variety of patriotic music, I selected Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” as my soundtrack based on the feeling of loyalty and pride it inspires in me when I hear it. Also, one might notice that using the “Fanfare” gave me an opportunity to have some fun with the phrasing of the pledge.

This re-imagination of the pledge can hold significance for Digital Citizenship in a couple of ways. First, it can be a reminder to others that citizenship is an agreement among people to certain ways of acting when they are part of a group. Just as people pledge to be loyal to flag and country as national citizens, so too should they pledge to be honest, respectful, legal and kind when part of an online community. Second, the playfulness of my image choices is meant to draw attention to the rote manner sometimes adopted when behaving digitally. For example, the practice of clicking through licensing agreements and terms of use without even thinking twice about what they actually say. When schools have students (and staff) sign Acceptable Use Policies, it is critical for the signees to know and actively agree to what they are promising or those AUPs are not worth the paper upon which they are written.

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