Natives, immigrants, visitors or residents?

Digital, I mean.

I found a very interesting and thought provoking blog post from Dave White at Oxford today about the digital immigrants debate we hear so much of. I won’t rehash his post, which you can read here, but I thought there was much to be said for the distinction he makes. I have one further refinement to suggest though, because I don’t believe we can classify people so easily. I would argue that when I’m at work, I’m much closer to a resident in his terms because I spend most of my time on-line and do much of my job on the web. But at home, I’m much closer to a “visitor” (although I do “resident-like” things, such as booking holidays, on-line shopping and a little Internet banking from home.)

So perhaps the distinction isn’t that clear cut. I think most of our on-line activity is situated, that is determined by what we want or need to do, more so than by our personal preferences. (That’s probably true of most activity, come to think of it.) The implications for educational development are that we should perhaps think more about the learning situations we’re placing our learners in, rather than the affordances provided by technology. And, importantly we shouldn’t make assumptions about what “students” want.

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