Digital Landscapes: Resident or Visitor?

Natalie and I recently ran a workshop at Dundee and Angus College, with a group of staff from across the college – it was largely based on Dave White’s workshops looking at digital residents and visitors. Initially, we revisited Prensky’s digital native/immigrant work with them; like so many, they were very familiar with the terms, but had various critiques. One that resonated with me was the point that, while many millenials (a large proportion of their students), were more or less welded to their phones for social engagement with peers; they were far less comfortable when using a laptop for what might be seen as more traditional IT functionality (the functionality, that, in 2001 would have been seen as the realm of the digital native).

Moving to the mapping activity, covered those digital tools people identified themselves as visitors in – not intentionally leaving a visible trace of their visit, and those that saw themselves as resident – leaving public evidence of their visit. During it, a range of different patterns of usage appeared. Looking at particular tools (e.g. Trip Advisor, Amazon) the room as a whole very much followed the 1% rule – with far more of the group being a visitor than a resident.

Staff members looking at others' digital resident/visitor maps
Comparing resident visitor maps.

We then moved onto discussing student digital capabilities, and that staff were, generally, more comfortable with using tools for work and study related issues, (regardless of how they used them personally), where students may on the surface be more resident in many systems, but need support using them in a study related way.

One key element of this discussion was the way that we have a number of overlapping issues that both staff and students should be aware of; what data is being shared with service providers – and what are they doing with it; something many are increasingly aware of, given the recent GDPR regulations. But, in contrast, how are individuals able to harness the power of the internet to enhance their “good” digital footprint? Is it more beneficial to have multiple online presences? Or to have a single one and manage the visibility of specific items. This tied in well with the excellent presentation that Martin Hawksey gave when ELESIG Scotland came to Dundee in November.

presenter in action with a slide on the screen
Introducing the Open Learning Cycle

And the final thing I learnt, that robot vacuums are great for saving feet from little bits of Lego!

image of several resident visitor maps
A selection of maps created by participants

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