“A country without boarders”
A story in the Guardian this morning made me laugh, and then think! “On 21 October, Estonia’s parliament unanimously voted to extend national digital e-residency rights to foreigners by the end of the year. With this e-residency programme, the least populous country in Europe, of 1.3 million people, intends to attract around 10 million “digital citizens” by 2025.” (Read the entire post at this link.)
Up until now, in my world of ICT in education “digital citizenship” has had quite a different meaning. It has been defined as “the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.” (Digitalcitizenship.net) IB schools generally try to educate their staff and students of all ages in the nine themes of digital citizenship (Respect Your Self/Respect Others: Etiquette, Access, Law; Educate Your Self/Connect with Others: Communication, Literacy, Commerce; Protect Your Self/Protect Others: Rights and Responsibility, Safety (Security), Health and Welfare).
But with the advent of Estonia’s e-residency concept, perhaps we should consider a broader definition, or another term. Perhaps something building on “digital participation”? In the Glossary from the new Technology in the IB document, digital participation is described as “The process of participating in digital culture by creating and receiving content online. Digital participation encapsulates concepts such as digital citizenship and branding. Digital participation assumes that the online world is a participatory culture that one must learn to navigate in order to contribute (Jenkins 2009; Hague, Williamson 2009).” (The Role of Technology in the IB Programs-Prepublication, 2014, p.20)
What is e-residency in Estonia?
Estonia’s new e-residency is explained in this video from Reuters:
(A transcript can be found at this link.)
and in the video on http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2014/s4136006.htm from the Australian television.
This audio is a little more critical: http://www.dw.de/estonia-e-residency/av-18117130 (Deutsche Welle)
The Estonian Government page writes: “The purpose of e-residency is to make life easier by using secure e-services that have been accessible to Estonians for years already. By providing e-residency, we are moving towards the idea of a country without borders.”
Hmm…certainly a new twist for “digital citizenship”. A new paradigm for “International Mindedness”?