Reflective Summary of Topic 1

I would like to start by saying the module layout is different to anything I have come across before as I am used to the traditional layout of mass learning from an expert. Therefore, this module has opened my eyes to a new way of learning which is not only engaging but much more social than other forms. The idea of learning from each other as well as ourselves brings a community feels which is non-existent in most learning formats. I feel I am fairly competent with technology and social media yet WordPress and blogging is a new concept for me in an educational or personal sense. Despite this I felt quite comfortable with using it within a short space of time.

The concept of Digital Visitors and Digital Residents was new to me so it made my initial research more interesting, during which I found a transition of improved ideas on the subject. Through the use of YouTube I was able to learn from the theorist himself which improved my learning experience. Researching at my own pace helped to solidify my ideas on the topic and make sure I was sure of the theories before starting my post.

I presented the original theory by Prensky of Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives and David White’s improvement on Prensky’s ideas to come to a conclusion on where I fitted on the scale myself. The comment left by Kevin on my post made me reconsider the letter/email analogy as I agree this is more a representation of Digital Visitation as it is the result of using the internet for a tool. Maybe this should be replaced by the concept of professionals using LinkedIn to network rather than attending networking events.

Overall I enjoyed the start to the module and I am looking forward to the next topic.


“Digital Visitors” and “Digital Residents”

Back in 2001 Marc Prensky, an American writer and speaker, presented the idea of “Digital Natives” and “Digital Immigrants”. The theory of it was that those that grew up with the internet and other digital platforms are very capable of using them, due to being surrounded by them all their lives. This new generation would be known as “Digital Natives”. On the other hand, for an older generation, the digital world is all new and they will never gain the natural ease of use with online activity as Digital Natives. Prensky called these users “Digital Immigrants”.

In his published writing what interested me is that he uses the metaphor of language to describe the situation, as if adapting to a digital age for Digital Immigrants is like learning a second language. Additionally he mentions some Digital Immigrants as having “accents”, which are combinations of non-digital methods with online activity (e.g. printing off emails to read them).

More recently David White of the University of Oxford presented his improved view on Prensky’s ideas and stated that

“age is not the predominant factor in the successful engagement to digital technology”

He instead prefers the idea of “Digital Visitors” and “Digital Residents”, a similar idea to Prensky yet it uses the idea of having social presence online compared to just using it as a tool. He also presents it as a scale rather than a set group a person could be placed into. White goes on to say that it also depends on the user’s activity in determining where on the spectrum they are placed as some may be visitors in their professional lives and residents when it comes to leisure.digitalvisitor-digitalresident

In my opinion I would call myself a digital resident but mainly for leisure purposes as I share much of my personal life online through popular social media and communicate with friends predominantly through use of instant messaging. In terms of educationally I am drawn to be a resident by University services such as Blackboard and SUSSED yet tend not to stretch my use of digital formats into lectures and independent study past what is considered normality, making me more of a Digital Visitor. I feel that generally there is pressure pushing people towards digital residency as, for example, the act of sending a letter to socially communicate is now seen as very old fashioned when it was very normal not so long ago.