Reflection: So you think you’re a Digital Resident?

Fire & Ice

Topic one was of particular interest as I had little previous knowledge about Digital Residents and Visitors, however through the reading of academic work and blog posts of my peers, I can now consider myself well versed in the area.

Through reading the blog posts of others I was able to understand the terms in a more simplified and accessible manner than that of academic text. It was insightful to see the alternate views in terms of where people placed themselves along the continuum and whether they agreed with the terms Prensky had developed. Will even went as far as to include another term in which he considered of importance, opening my eyes to something I had not previously considered.

Through the feedback on my post via comments, I am able to identify some flaws in my post, as well as factors that have been well received. An issue that I will work on in my next post is making it less ‘clinical’ through shorter, easier to read paragraphs, and more engaging graphics aesthetically wise. This will make my post more accessible to wider audiences

Hei Lam and Arun’s comments were particularly helpful in developing on my blog post, and opening me up to further ideas I had not previously considered. Arun suggested referencing particular websites where social learning is already used, and through reflection I was able to think of many examples I have used in the classroom previously. The Student Room acts as an example in which collaborative learning is used through the conversing of the global community; adding this as an example in my post could further emphasise my point.

Hei Lam suggested considering the relationship between technical capability and the Nature vs Nurture debate – this is not something I had previously considered, hence her comment helped widen my perspective on how many factors influence whether you are a Digital Resident or Visitor.

Links to my comments:


So you think you’re a Digital Resident?

The turn of the 21st century has witnessed technology, in particular the Web, grow at an alarming rate. The Web is intrinsically linked into everyday life, however is used to different extents by different groups of people, and for different purposes.

Previously, Prensky’s (2001) ideas of digital natives/immigrants was proposed to express the way in which different people approach the digital environment. A native was defined as someone born after the 1980s, having grown up with the Internet, and an immigrant as someone who wasn’t born into the digital age. Natives were seen as being at ease in the digital environment, whilst immigrants could never be fully competent in this area (White and Cornu, 2011.). These terms were criticized due to the age segregation in which they inferred – scholars such as White et al. (2012) challenged this concept, finding no relationship between age and technological capability. Similarly, Margaryan and Littlejohn (2008) suggest that whilst digital natives have been surrounded by technology, they may not have the ability to use technology concisely for certain purposes such as to support learning. This is shown in my own technical abilities and preliminary struggles with uploading this blog post, despite being born as a ‘digital native’.

Criticism led to the evolution of the terminology to ‘Digital Residents’ and ‘Digital Visitors’ (White and Cornu, 2011)

digital-resident-and-visitorThe graphic above displays the distinction between the two extremes of the continuum – the terms do not act as binary opposition. People are not necessarily categorised as either a Digital Resident or Digital Visitor, they may lie between the two and their position may change according to context. For example, people may be a resident whilst at home, but in the professional context may use the Web in what would be considered a Visitor’s position.

Both the role of the Visitor and Resident are both effective and valued, and are of particular importance for study as technology can be used to revolutionise and shape learning. The use of the Web for educational purposes is increasingly prominent, particularly in University settings (Harris et al. 2010). Social learning is seen to positively facilitate learning as information can be expanded through the sharing of information via networks; this can be utilised through the Web in terms of blogging and comment feedback (Kerr, 2007). Through understanding that people use the Web to different degrees and for different purposes, and abolishing the idea that all students will be Digital Natives, allows for recognition that the amount of support and structure for all students varies.


Kerr, B. 2007, A Challenge to Connectivism. Transcript of Keynote Speech, [Online], Available:, [accessed 2016, October 16].

Harris, L., Warren, L., Leah, H. and Ashleigh, M. 2010, ‘Small steps across the chasm: ideas for embedding a culture of open education in the university, In Education Technology & Social Meida (Special Issue, Part 2), vol. 16, no. 1.

Margaryan, A. and Littlejohn, A. 2008, Are digital natives a myth or reality?: Students’ use of technologies for learning’, [Online]. Available: [accessed 2016, October 16].

Prensky, M. 2011, ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants’, On the Horizon, University Press, vol. 9, no.5.

White, D. S. and Cornu, A. L. 2011, Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement., vol. 16, no 9.

White, D., Connaway, L. S., Lanclos, d., Cornu, A. and Hood, E. 2012, Digital Visitors and Residents Progress Report, [Online]. Available: [accessed 2016, October 14].