2.1. Bi-Dimensional Identity: The Concept of a Holistic and Eclectic Citizen
The widespread growth of social networks has increased the possibility for people to express their opinions regarding diverse subjects of public or private matter while under the anonymity that the internet offers. However, this participation is not equal to that found in presidential or local elections of a country or city. Who, then, are these citizens?
Aristotle defines man as a rational and political animal. Therefore, humans are separated from other animals because of their ability to think and reflect about what they do and because of their political involvement. That is to say, as humans we have to live in a society (city, polis) with other beings. Individuals cannot live alone because they all have a language, are symbolic beings, and therefore need others to share this world of symbols with them [15
Citizenship is a process that gets stronger as people become conscious of their role as political subjects and get involved in personal and collective problems. Thus, to suffocate a city with technology is worthless if its inhabitants do not face the challenges of their society. However, in addition to the fact that cities are moving towards an ideal of sustainability, what should citizens do in order to take advantage of the technology and information available?
Reasonably, the first step is to generate conditions of transformation of the archetype typical of the modern man: an individualistic citizen, whose conception of success is supported by what he/she can buy and consume. As restated by Fromm, “the main goal of human culture is to have more and more” [16
] (p. 11).
In this sense, it is worthwhile to analyze whether it is possible to change the focus and work to develop a holistic citizenship, whose principles are supported, according to Salazar [17
], by a bigger community than the total of citizens that compose it, with virtues based on freedom, an emancipating willingness, and the autonomic and social vocation. Moreover, it is important to comprehend if it is possible to form new generations of eclectic citizens that can perform effectively in the dimensions of tangible things and in the virtual world, to take care of the natural surroundings, managing information for good purposes, and manage knowledge to contribute to a better world. In other words, these citizens would need to work proactively to create more smart cities, because they work for the real world and virtual world. For this, it is necessary to understand man’s good qualities and his own contradictions and limitations manifested in the real and virtual world, changing only his behavior. The transition to the postmodern society or knowledge society incorporates the fifth dimension of the virtuality that has changed the forms of human interaction. The bi-dimensional identity demands citizens’ behavior and in this new dimension that requires holistic and eclectic abilities.
From the view point of the behavior of knowledge, according to Careaga and Avendaño [18
], arises the need of a reconceptualization, incorporating the notion of virtual epistemology. Virtual epistemology, a postmodern proposal about new notions related to the behavior of knowledge in virtual contexts, requires the approximation of theoretical notions that explain the phenomenon. Among those, the following stand out: (a) a split in the understanding of the modern concept of knowledge; (b) the axiom expands to the relation subject-object-subject which involves a substantial change in the way to conceive the sources of knowledge; (c) postmodern knowledge would be rooted in comprising the relations that constitute the sources of said truth; (d) the cybernetic resides in the efficiency of man’s interaction with the sources of knowledge; (e) man’s creations reveal to it transforming it; (f) the possibility to manage knowledge, representing and transferring one’s own intellectual constructors through cyberspace, and; (g) mutual modification as effect.
In the case of education, this approach caters to a vision that involves the need for reconsidering roles, especially the educational one, and the modalities that are adopted in the pedagogical relation in the current cultural stage. These would have to move from a rationalist-academic conception, in which it assumes a function of cognitive filter, to a more proactive conception of the autonomy of learning, sustained by a horizontal conception of the pedagogical relation [18
This new vision about the behavior of knowledge given by virtual epistemology involves a clear differentiation between the administration of information (access and representation) and the management of knowledge (creation and transfer), which requires a redesign of roles. In agreement with Careaga [19
], and Careaga and Barnes [20
], where is the epistemological border between the administration of information and the management of the knowledge?
The administration of information involves basic competencies that allow the efficient access to the information sources and to its processed representation the data. The management of knowledge involves creation and transfer of knowledge, competencies that allow transferring the intellectual and practical constructs through the conceptual mediation of some language, as it is appreciated in Figure 1
In this context, the challenge consists in trying to comprise, from the theory, the identity of these bi-dimensional cyber-citizens and the spaces where they move and learn. In this regard, Reig and Vilchez [21
] propose that, with the rise of internet and the social networks, we are confronted with a paradigm change and with the evolution of a new type of individual, a hyper individual or connected individual who is difficult to surprise. Because of the reciprocal influence between the cultures like the consequence of globalization [22
], there have been an increased number of people who have seen too many things to be surprised easily [23
According to Morin [24
], there is an existing holographic relation between the individuals and society. That is to say, these individuals create the society with their interactions, but this influences in the social area by means of its culture and norms. In the current stage of cultural transition, what is the hologram between the individuals and the society? Are there still three worlds, as described by Popper [25
]? The material world, composed of rivers, clouds, stones, plants and animal; the subjective world, composed of feelings, beliefs, thoughts, and the wishes of each person; and the intellectual world, defined by notions, thoughts, theorems, hypothesis, theories, symphonies, paintings and beliefs? The analysis indicates that the hyper individual or bi-dimensional citizen would live in three dissimilar worlds that coexist and surpass the ones posed by Popper. Each one of these worlds provided by its own identity: identity 1, the one made in the physical world (real); identity 2, the one who links the virtual and real world (virtual-real); and an identity 3, the one who configures exclusively in the virtual world (virtual-virtual).
These identities that coexist in distinct worlds move in a complex way without necessarily connecting the real world with the virtual world. Tendencies can show up in bi-dimensional citizen actions that take them to show organized performances that are understood like cyber organisms [26
]. Since they unchain complex decisions from very simple ones, they exert control without having to realize the mechanisms that operate to give results. In relation to cybernetics, many meanings and implications are awarded to the scientific discipline that operates with a technological base linking it to the rational science of the machines, to an informational technique, or to the art of giving efficiency to the action.
This last approach gets closer to the eventual implications of the cybernetics in education, as Couffignal [27
] pointed out in the 1960s. Based on these cybernetic concepts, it is possible to enter into human communication, attending to the interrelationships established between the individuals and the modalities that acquire these relations when they are made through artificial systems. These systems base their action on the operation of complex systems of automated control and operate to guarantee a determined purpose or end (direction, in a cybernetic sense) without users necessarily knowing the operation of said systems (notion of a black box). In this way, the new development of communication models, defined in virtue of the forms of concretion of said interrelationships, is observed when communication is perfected through networks of machines, which in reality are networks of people.
These systems act as a form of communicational control in smart cities, finding that humans communicate between themselves through technologies. Through the activation of computerized systems, these controls make it possible for them to work efficiently to fulfill the purposes of processing according to the standards with which they were designed. Cybernetics presents specific control techniques. A system behaves like a dynamic model that changes states, flowing in the behavior data and information, both in its modalities of internal communication, and in its interactions with the environment that surrounds it.
Then, the virtual-virtual dimension of bi-dimensionality identity is related to the active presence on the internet and to the interactions of communicational control that develop there by means of Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, photos, and viral videos. The reason to exist is to be on Google, configuring representations of information and knowledge that does not necessarily relate to the objective world of things. McLuhan and Powers [28
] would say that this is a result of the presence of a resonant interval, since it has acquired consciousness of two different worlds, the real world and the virtual world situated in cyberspace. This requires accepting that both worlds experience an initial crash, to surface a new environment for human beings: virtual objective ecology.
How can this bi-dimensional citizen, who moves between what is real and virtual in a natural way, understand in its different world’s reality, learning and uncertainty of knowledge? Figure 2
represents this scenario in two loops. Loop 1 (blue) denotes the interaction between bi-dimensional citizens and different spaces of formal and informal multidimensional experiences, like cyberspace, school, family, social networks, or friends. In loop 2 (green), these interactions generate learning that, as it is being adapted to the bi-dimensional reality of citizens, turns into knowledge that feeds the smart city. “The territory is therefore the network, embodied in an archipelago of joined points by lines that allows the traffic” [29
] (p. 49).
The interesting part of this representation is that the traditional educational system is maintained as a stage of experiences of learning. The school stops being the exclusive center for learning, since in the mixed reality (real + virtual) the formal and informal components complement each other to generate learning. The educational system requires a reformation, posing new modalities in the ways of teaching and learning. It requires reformulating the experiences of learning by means of interactions and adaptations involving diverse multidimensional spaces to improve the training of holistic and eclectic citizens.
Similarly, citizenship and education go together according to the new tendencies of change in the smart human city. At the beginning of the 20th century, Rousseau made this association between the citizen and his education, indivisible “in a weighted synthesis of both inalienable appearances, the one of the liberal individual and the republican citizen” [30
] (p. 212). At the same time Gimeno sustained the same questions, stating, at the beginning of this century, that “the citizenship (what makes possible the exercise of democracy, of the republican version of Athenian origin) and the education need and invigorate reciprocally” [31
] (p. 155).
It is important that the holistic and eclectic citizen is conscious of the impacts that globalization has on the citizenship because “if people remain unsatisfied with the role that citizens have, the stability of the democratic political systems could erode” [32
] (p. 373). This empowerment or citizen intelligence is described by Sarmiento [3
] through a series of responsibilities that the holistic citizen assumes in the smart city: commitment to the environmental politics of the city, commitment to energy efficiency and recycling.
2.2. Challenges for Education in the Smart Human City
Education is facing a historical moment that demands reformation. The digital revolution has impregnated the classical forms to teach and learn. Its main function of educating useful people for society has been affected. The formal educational system is not able to answer the new demands of smart human cities, society, and culture. The Foundation Education 2020 in Chile proposes that Latin America has been transformed into a continent of functional illiterates, where, although the levels of coverage have increased, it continues to coexist in a process of including exclusion [33
], in which the inclusion without quality continues to deny the right to education [34
In this regard, Foucault [35
] posits that disciplinary organizations organize and distribute time with diverse activities to change the behavior of the individuals regarding previously established criteria, measuring through examinations how governable a person is and how they could be classified in society.
This increase of the distance between the education and the needs of the people, together with the imbalance between what is received and what is needed, is what De Corte [36
] defines as the educational gap. This has been explained from another point of view by Robles [37
], the one who poses three paradoxes:
Education decides to contribute to the success of the individual career of all the students, but is forced to evaluate the learning of the contents that it communicates, and its results are always uneven.
On the one hand, education needs to consider the individualities of the students and take precautions with the diversity of aptitudes, vocations and expectations. Yet students must be treated like equals.
The class is made collectively within the context of the classroom. It is made up of an indefinite quantity of individuals with different experiences, from different families, and with enclosed consciousness and, therefore, must follow the same content of the class.
These paradoxes are the opposite of what it happens outside the classroom. The educational system transforms into a time catcher where students, during a determinate number of daily hours, live in an analog parallel world. Afterwards, they go back to their multidimensional and mixed spaces, where the real world and the virtual world coexist. The latter is still insufficiently incorporated in the educational classrooms. How can education in the context of the new intelligent cities be re-taught? To answer to this question, the following premises must be established:
The educational system is one space of multidimensional experiences of holistic citizens, and is not the center, but has the capacity to influence the rest of space.
Learning occurs in multiple real and virtual dimensions.
The educational system must adapt and answer to the learning needs of the holistic and eclectic citizen.
To diminish the educational gap, it is necessary to design inside the educational system multidimensional experiences of learning that recognize the personal surroundings of learning and management of knowledge of holistic and eclectic citizens.
It is necessary to consider three conceptions: 1. A new epistemological condition, in which the digital citizens know to resolve the border between how to access and represent information of how knowledge is created and transferred; 2. The recognition of a new digital citizen identity based on the notion of bi-dimensionality, that is, a citizen remitted to the real and to the virtual space, and; 3. The notion of a complex redesign of a new citizen that, according to Morin [24
], is understood by its autonomy/dependency, individuality, and self-production.
Thus, lifelong learning with the following attributes is proposed: multidimensional; holistic; eclectic; situated; interactive (related to classroom and distributed learning); self-regulated; autonomous; connective; adaptable (in any place and by means of any format or space, real or virtual), and; recursive.
For this re-significance of the bi-dimensional learning, one must work in the following meta-concepts: adaptation; the holistic and eclectic vision in the training of the digital citizen, and; the new pyramid of needs for the digital citizen.
2.3. The Adaptation
The skill of adaptation “involves the wish and the skill to change central competences and expand continuously the degree and depth of the skill” [38
] (p. 223). Similarly, it is possible to transfer one’s own knowledge and skills to the new tasks and contexts of learnings to a lifelong state [39
]. This is especially true in this time, as designated by Bauman [41
], which is like liquid modernity, that moves to the individuals by the uncertainty rather than by the certainties.
] posits that examples like Wikipedia and the massive open courses online (MOOC) relate to the autonomous learning competence anytime, in the network, openly, massively, and ubiquitously. The epistemological foundation that sustains this possibility of adaptation and learning anytime and in any place is based on the connectivism theory [43
] that maintains that learning can reside in artificial devices.
For Zapata-Ros [44
], this connectivity premise contradicts the theories and conceptions of learning, arguing that it corresponds to an exclusively human activity linked to the faculties to know, represent, relate, transmit, and execute. However, why would it have to reside only in the human mind? Siemens [43
] offers some clarity when affirming that learning is fundamentally a process of training networks. A subject then forms part of a network of nodes connected between them, being itself one of these nodes that contributes to those connections. Therefore, learning is a process of the creation of thousands of new connections that connect with contents, people, groups, services and repositories [45
]. Likewise, the epistemological frame of connectivism is related to an emergent knowledge, connected and adaptive [43
], where the knowledge remains in the individual, but resides in the community.
Siemens explained how the theories of analog or modern learning did not consider identity 3 (explained in Section 2
]. When he affirmed that these were obsolete, perhaps he should have explained a bit more about how learning online could fit perfectly with this new human identity. Cyberspace is the mind of identity 3 (where the distributed learning is produced); the databases and searchers are versions of the inferior brain, half and upper, fed by thousands of connections. When Siemens created the first MOOC, perhaps he suspected that internet users were newborns with identity 3 that were not yet conscious of it. Ruíz-Velasco [46
] defends this idea when affirming that learning is a process that can occur in multiple environments outside of people’s control. This process can reside outside of the human being, either inside of an organization or in a database.
The possibility to learn anytime and anywhere requires management of learning spaces and knowledge.
2.4. The Holistic and Eclectic Vision for Training the Digital Citizen
A holistic approach can be appreciated in the model of research, creation, and re-thought of contents in personal surroundings of learning (see Figure 3
). This proposal incorporates an eclectic look at the real world and the virtual world. It then considers two circuits: one related to the consumption of information, and the other to the collaborative production of knowledge.
The relationship between the model’s different verbs show a sequence of research and re-construction of knowledge based in the hypertextual, not sequential theory. Hypertextual theory pretends to reflect nonlinear learning that is typical of the digital bi-dimensional citizens. In relation to the hypertext, Corona [47
] indicates that it refers to the forms in which a user visits, sails, moves, and interacts with data on internet.
Nonlinear learning associates the notion of distributed and flexible curriculum that does not correspond to the rationality of a traditional curriculum, mostly rigid, academically rational, formal and prescribed, as it is nowadays. Nonlinear learning is self-regulated, formal, informal, face to face, virtual and temporal. Nonlinear learning implies making connections between things people already knew and new knowledge. This meant that persons actively constructed the knowledge as they needed it, in a subjective and individual way, because each individual experiences distinct social and psychological phenomena in an entirely unique phenomenon.
Together with the hypertextual theory, the model makes evident the collaborative production of knowledge through the production of intellectual constructs and digital devices.