I purchased Audrey Watters’ Claim Your Domain a few months ago, but a part of me felt that I already knew what it was about. Having read Watters’ compiled lectures, I was aware of the argument for a domain of one’s own. Subsequently, I left it on the shelf. Thinking a bit more deeply about blogging lately, I decided to jump in. And I was glad.
As you would expect, Watters touches on the mechanics of a domain of one’s own, however this is only a small part of the book. The real focus is what it actually means to exist in a digital world and why we need to take more control of our presence. At the heart of this all is the question of data and the implication this has for agency and identity. That is, an understanding that goes beyond mere numbers to include a deeper appreciation of the world we are in.
The book itself is divided into three sections: the learner’s digital domain, why claim your domain and controlling our own technologies. Throughout it explores such questions as what constitutes data today, who controls it and in what ways do learning management systems apply a template that dictates the way we exist? Although it closes with a reflection on portfolios, Watters’ vision is much more radical. Advocating for something more than just student voice, but rather student action.
Some may complain that Audrey Watters is sometimes more critical than constructive, this book though does provide some solace. Not because it provides a mystical elixir that once applied will fix all of ills in education (although she does include some useful resources in the appendix), but rather for providing a clear set of questions to support leaders and learners alike in growing and developing their own solutions from the ground on up.
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