'Gives a physical sense almost': using immersive media to build decolonial moments in higher education for radical citizenship

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In the context of higher education, immersive media may provide a way to deepen students’ learning experiences and facilitate a sense of ‘being there’. Immersive media can also possibly contribute to decolonization if it involves Indigenous-produced content and generates increased appreciation of Indigenous knowledges that leads to student commitment to undermine colonial power. In doing so, radical digital citizenship can be extended. This article examines how immersive media can help educators develop appropriate learning experiences that support radical digital citizenship, a way of engaging with the digital that is defined as critiquing digital technologies which are oppressive and then developing emancipatory technologies to provide alternatives (Emejulu and McGregor 2019). Theoretically and practically, the arguments herein are inspired by Tuhiwai Smith’s imperative that decolonization in higher education must not be an empty promise but work to transform institutions, teachers and students. The convenience of using immersive media for learning is frequently emphasized in higher education, but the challenges of ensuring students can use immersive media are not often acknowledged, and the immersive media and pedagogy literature is just beginning to deeply engage with issues relating to decolonization. Drawing on an empirical study of the use of immersive media in a co-taught third year and Masters course, this article uses observations from in-class use of immersive media and a survey of students who actively engaged with, and thought about, the technology (n=71). Immersive media usage can extend the notion of radical digital citizenship by using existing technologies to help students understand and then challenge settler colonial relations and practices in their work and daily life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalDigital Culture and Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2021

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