White’s concept of Digital Residency has brought up an insightful discussion amongst the other students. Whilst some have advocated its integration of flexibility with independence over the need for digital proficiency is a step towards the right direction, some have criticised the same factors as being other wise.
Calum’s blog post highlights one of the main upsides of White’s work. Calum believes the concept’s ability to be dynamic gives it the edge over Prensky’s model in a number of ways. One way that I can agree with is being dynamic allows Digital Residency to constantly evolve. Being a relatively new concept, it has already made substantial improvements as seen in this video.
Calum had also mentioned the importance of users of the web not being pigeon-holed. I gave this point some good thought and took a step back as to not succumb to the excitement over the innovation of a concept that involves modern relatability (e.g. doing university work during the day and using facebook at night). What are the real downsides of not being pigeon-holed into categories? I have been boxed into many categories through out my life such as belt ranking in Taekwondo, skill ranking in badminton and many more. Being put into categories where I genuinely belonged into had little to no down sides to it. I move up a rank if I objectively deserved to, simple as that.
Andy’s blog post points out another criticism that I share with White’s concept which is overall usefulness in itself and in comparison to Prensky’s model. In the same blog, I commented on why I thought being in a self-categorising system can be confusing and risky. How good are we at judging ourselves objectively?
1. White’s concept has a lot of potential. With time, the combination of it being relatable to the modern world and it being dynamic, gives it a lot of room for improvement.
2.. Being boxed into categories can only be harmful if it’s permanent which is what Prensky’s model was criticised for.
3. On the other hand, being boxed into a category for a period of time with set goals to achieve in order to move into another category is not that bad
4. Being flexible and in a continuum comes with a lot of subjectivity and in some occasions bias. Andy says it eloquently in his last point on his post on how a system that involves the principles from both White and Prensky’s models could be more beneficial. Flexibility with objectivity.
Much to the controversy of classifying web users stems from Marc Prensky’s Digital natives, digital immigrants in 2001 where he categorises web users based on the idea that use and knowledge of technology is comparable to spoken language. It was thought speaking ‘tech’ could either be your mother tongue or it wasn’t.
In an article by David S. White and Alison Le Cornu titled Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement, they have identified users of the web as either Visitorsor Residents or more specifically on a continuum of the two being at each end. However White and Le Cornu didn’t just stop there.
“Our typology of Visitors and Residents turn to the metaphor of place to provide an analytic framework, but the strength of moving away from language and accent and placing the emphasis on motivation allows for a wide variety of practices which span all age groups and does not require individuals to be boxed, inexorably, in one category or the other.”
-White & Le Cornu.
What’s The Difference?
It is not that simple. I consider myself to be reasonably more equipped in using the internet as a tool than my some of my friends. However, I spend considerably less time if not at all letting people know what is on my mind on Facebook. Time spent online and technological proficiency do not matter. Nor do you hold a cemented place on the scale of being a Visitor or a Resident. I spend the majority of my time on the web as a Visitor meeting the gigantic reading demands of Psychology in Uni. I occasionally squeeze in between my work as a Resident, catching up with family and friends from the other side of the world.
As White and Le Cornu mentioned, the key term is motivation. Residents have an identity by portraying personal opinions and thoughts while Visitors do not and remain anonymous.
Though the concepts of Visitor and Resident are fairly new it does not answer the real question of who is who in the digital world. The flexibility of the two concepts negates the purpose of categorisation in the first place. One of the main reasons why there is a need for concrete categorisation is to ensure a proper education system can take place. Too much ‘not necessarilys’ will not benefit anyone moving forward.
Marc Prensky (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9 (5).
White, D., and Le Cornu, A,L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16 (9).