I’ve written in the past about Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, and I like the concept. But something wasn’t right, I wasn’t happy with the concept, but didn’t know what it was.
Now I think I’ve found it … and it’s called Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’, posted to Twitter by Julia Ault (@juliadesigns).
In it the post, and JISC paper, outlines that:
“… students could not be usefully categorised as Digital Natives or Digital Immigrants. I.e. This distinction does not help guide the implementation of technologies it simply provides the excuse that “some people ‘just don’t get it’ …”
The terminology of Native vs Immigrant implies a certain skill level based on either generation or familiarisation with technology, but this does not cover all the options. The “students appropriation of online services did not seem to follow a simple pattern based on skill level. It seemed to depend on if they saw the web as a ‘place to live’ or as a collection of useful tools.”
This is the nub of the subject. Do the students embrace the world online?
Here is a breakdown on the two classes;
- Digital Resident – “… an individual who lives a percentage of their life online. The web supports the projection of their identity and facilitates relationships.” These people want to, and do, do a vast majority of socialising and ‘living’ through their professional and social network online.
- Digital Visitor – “an individual who uses the web as a tool in an organised manner whenever the need arises.” These individuals use the Internet for a goal, but do not need to, or have to, reply on it.
So, what does it mean to us as facilitators? It means we need to understand the distinction between them, this is “useful when considering which technologies to provide for online learners”.
- Visitors - unlikely to use RSS feeds
- Residents - expect to interact on website, leave comments, subscribe, etc.
How do you spot which is which … when “offered membership of a facebook group … (the) majority signed-up without question as they wanted to stay in touch with fellow students and continue discussions. The remainder saw the group as pointless and a possible invasion of privacy.”