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Surfing the Visitor-Resident Continuum January 29, 2013

Posted by adam1warren in Uncategorized.
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Mapping your digital footprint

Mapping your digital footprint

I never could see the sense in Prensky’s Digital Native : Digital Immigrant proposition; it seemed clear to me that many young people have very shallow digital skills while many older people – well, heck, they invented the internet and all its technologies. Conversely, other young people thrive in the digital world while many otherwise competent professionals seem terrified by IT. Its all a bit more complicated than Presnky makes out. Then I came across a well-written and researched paper from 2011 which critiques the whole idea of Digital Naives and Digital Immigrants and provides all the references and critical analysis to justify my doubts.

Koutropoulos, A. (2011) Digital Natives: Ten Years After. Journal of Online Teaching and Learning, 7(4). Accessed online May 2012: http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no4/koutropoulos_1211.htm

I’d heard a bit about an alternative view – Digital Visitors : Digital Residents – which seemed to offer a more grounded approach, and have just come across an excellent video by David White (Oxford University) which provides a good overview of this. The blog post also has a link to a paper if you prefer reading about it.

The part that really struck a chord with me was the diagram above, where David described how he is a Resident in his professional life (as a learning technologist), using blog posts and tweets to build and maintain his digital identity, while in his personal/private life he is very much a Visitor who prefers not to leave much of a digital footprint. He also talked about the need to ‘feed the machine’ – that digital personas need constant activity and erode if they are neglected. I’m very aware that I’m basically a half-hearted Resident, posting the occasional blog post, irregular Facebook status update and random tweet – so my online persona is sketchy and insubstantial. I joke about ‘anti-social networking’! He also described these personas as ‘micro-celebrities’ and this is perhaps why I don’t put more effort into maintaining mine – it seems to smack of the ‘me-me-me’ generation, at odds with my quaint British reserve. Also, if you are busy living some of your life online, what is it that you are not doing instead? This is where I strongly identify with the Visitor status, using the web as a means to an end – a way of finding what I need and enabling activities… That said, it’s time to go and watch some TV… episode 3 of Utopia.

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