Digital technology is used increasingly for a variety of purposes: social networking, recreation, marketing, research, media and learning. Theories by Prensky (2001) – although highly criticised – gave us an important framework and a typology for how individuals use technology in their day-to-day lives. The movement from “Digital Natives and Immigrants” (initially suggested by Prensky) to “Residents and Visitors” has come to light for various reasons. For example, it focusses on age-related groups rather than an individual’s skillset, and does not take into account variation within the groups (Bennett 2008). However, these frameworks are highly useful as they support learning theories, thus they can be used to implement successful and effective electronic education. (White and Conru 2011)
A Resident is someone who spends a significant amount of time on the web and uses it to create an online persona; allowing them to network and build relationships. They maintain their online presence for most aspects of their life (professional, study and recreation) and use the web to put their ideas and opinions forward. A Visitor is an individual who simply uses the web as a tool and limits their time on the web for when the need arises. They do not maintain an online presence and are often sceptical of services that offer them the ability to reveal their identity online. (White and Conru 2011)
White (2013) demonstrated how “visitors” and “residents” are not necessarily distinct categories, and how majority of internet users are a mixture of both, depending on their motivations. This shows that there exists a continuum between the two categories. White’s mapping process explores an individual’s engagement with digital and web environments. I have drawn up my own map (shown above). This has shown me that I am currently a visitor and use the internet for personal rather than professional means.
As we are progressing through the digital age, our use of technology is becoming more versatile. Understanding the different way individuals use the internet is useful in modifying educational techniques. This TED talk explains the role of technology in present and future education.
From personal experience, schools and universities have adapted to using more technology to advance and refine learning techniques. This ranged from as little as using MyMaths.co.uk during maths lessons at school, to the use of anatomy videos/podcasts, iPads in the anatomy lab and Aclands video anatomy for medical school education.
Marc Prensky (2001) “Digital natives, digital immigrants,” On the Horizon. 9(5) Available at: http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf, [Accessed 9 February 2016]
Sue Bennett, Karl Maton and Lisa Kervin (2008) “The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence,” British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5):775-786. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00793.x [Accessed 9 February 2016]
David, S. White & Alison Le Cornu. (2011). Visitors and Residences: A new topology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9) Available at: http://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049%20https://comminfo.rutgers.edu/%7Etefko/Courses/Zadar/Readings/Selwyn%20dig%20natives,%20Aslib%20Proceedings%202009.pdf. [Accessed 9 February 2016]
David S White (2013) Visitors and Residents mapping process: the video. Available at: http://tallblog.conted.ox.ac.uk/index.php/2013/06/05/vandrmapping/ [Accessed 9 Feb 2016]
Screenshot from Scott Border’s anatomy Show me Tell me videos, from the University of Southampton MedSoc page. Available at: http://sotonmedsoc.com/foundations-of-medicine