Tag Archives: marc prensky

Running around Albert Square

Albert Square

One of the things we seem to do in the world of e-learning is categorise ourselves and our learners into groups.

One of the key pieces of work on this was from Marc Prensky on Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants back in 2001. His premise was the idea that if you were old you were only a  digital immigrant and young people were digital natives. As young people were born into a digital world then they were digital natives. Giving a generation a name is one thing, but what people then conjectured was that as they had this name, digital native, they would be able to handle a range of digital tools, services and environments. They would be in a better position to handle online environments then the so called immigrants.

This conjecture is rather flawed and makes a lot of assumptions about behaviours, skills and experience, based on what is really just a name.

I reflected on this work in 2008 after Dave White published his blog post on visitors and residents. Though like a lot of people I did initially think it was about putting yourself into another group, rather than see it as a continuum.

Though visitors and residents has gained a lot of traction across edtech, and even Presensky has backtracked away from the term digital natives, we still see the term digital natives used again and again, across the media, on the Twitter and at educational conferences. It would appear, as tweeted by Donna Lanclos, that if the term is used often enough by people then it will become true.

So many people still think digital natives exist and are able to immerse themselves easily into a digital world. If you think Digital Natives exist then replace the word digital with EastEnders (as in the TV programme) and apply same thinking.

EastEnders Titles

So you have EastEnders Natives and EastEnders Immigrants.

Hmmm, so…

Those born after 1985 will be EastEnders natives, they will know all the storylines innately and understand everything about it. They will know all the characters, plots and locations. They will be able to describe Albert Square in detail and how to get there.

Whereas those born before 1985 will struggle with EastEnders, as they were brought up on Coronation Street and Crossroads.

Whereas those who live outside the UK will be wondering what the hell is going on!

So do you still think it’s useful to talk about a generation as being digital natives? Well sorry to say they don’t exist…. hit play!

Digital Natives: The Great Debate

So do you consider the concept of digital natives and digital immigrants relevant to the work that you do?

The 8th and 9th April at the Plymouth e-Learning Conference there will be a (great) debate on digital natives.

This forum will explore methods for categorising learners approach to online platforms and how this can influence edtech/pedagogic strategies. It will focus on Marc Prensky’s famous ‘Digital Native & Digital Immigrants’ trope and the more recent ‘Visitors & Residents’ idea proposed by David White.

Questions the forum will consider:

  • Which of these systems is a more effective guide when attempting to provide appropriate technologies in configurations which encourage participation?
  • Is it possible to see ‘generational’ or age based trends in approaches to the web or is this an over simplification?
  • Does categorising learners along these lines act as a useful guide for edtechs/learning techs or are they just conceptual toys?

The two systems will be promoted by members of the panel after which the discussion will be opened to the audience.

The forum panel will be Tara Alexander (Lecturer, Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth), David White (Manager/Researcher, University of Oxford) and Steve Wheeler (Senior Lecturer in Education and Information Technology, University of Plymouth).

I have the task of chairing this session. There are some great speakers and the topic is controversial, people have many varied views on it. Should be both fun and stimulating.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #018: Digital Literates

James Clay, Kev Hickey, Shri Footring and Lisa Valentine discuss Twitter, digital literacy, digital identity and other stuff too.

Audio MP3

This is the eighteenth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Digital Literates.

Download the podcast in mp3 format: Digital Literates

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

James is joined by Kev Hickey and Shri Footring. Lisa Valentine joins us later in the conversation.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #018: Digital Literates

Shownotes

  • Digital Literacy Debate – The purpose of the debate is to try and move forward on issues surrounding Digital Literacy. The focus of the debate will be the UK education sector, but international attendees and contributors are more than welcome. Recently, Digital Literacy has gained a lot of traction within academic and educational technology discussion within the UK, and is generally thought of as A Good Thing. However, some important questions have yet to be addressed.
  • James, Shri, Kev and Lisa all use Twitter, but some of us prefer Jaiku.
  • So what is a hashtag?
  • Pat Parslow’s comment on the term digital native.
  • Marc Prensky’s new paper on digital wisdom.
  • Dave White’s blog a post about residents or visitors to the online world.
  • The e-Learning Stuff podcast on the whole digital native, immigrant, visitor, resident, naturalised debate.

Photo source.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #004 – natives, immigrants, residents and visitors

This is the fourth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, natives, immigrants, residents and visitors.

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Download the podcast in mp3 format: natives, immigrants, residents and visitors

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

In this show, James is joined by Nick Jeans, Dave Foord, David Sugden and Lisa Valentine and they discuss the concept of the digital native, the digital immigrant, resident and visitor. Apologies for the poor audio quality of Nick which we’re blaming on his Skype connection.

Shownotes

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #004 - natives, immigrants, residents and visitors

Are you a resident or a visitor?

One of the things we seem to do in the world of e-learning is categorise ourselves and our learners into groups.Are you a resident or a visitor?

One of the key pieces of work on this was from Marc Prensky on Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. Now I was never really very happy about this idea that if you were old (like me, well I am not that old, but it’s sometime now since I first sent e-mail, 1987 I think it was) you were only a  digital immigrant and young people were digital natives.

However when I looked at the students at my college, I couldn’t see this age divide at all. Yes it was true many of the students were very happy and capable with handing digital devices and playing games, but not all.

We had some digital natives that fitted the description, but we also had a fair few that didn’t. There were students who didn’t and in some cases couldn’t use the internet and the web, not because they hadn’t been immersed in a digital world since birth, but because they didn’t want to. Also there are issues with many students in relation to the digital divide; they may play video games, but don’t have access to the web.

I also couldn’t see how myself fitted into this, I may not fit the digital native sterotype, but I knew (well others told me) that I was very much immersed into a digtial world and used the internet in ways in which they couldn’t fathom or understand. Was I merely a digital immigrant?

From my experiences on the web I met many digital natives and quite a few of them were over forty!

So it was quite refreshing to read on Dave White’s blog a post about residents or visitors to the online world. Like a few others, notably Andy Powell and Josie Fraser, I quite like this concept.

There are some who live in an online world and see the internet as part of their everyday life. This I can identify with. It was for example very strange at ALT-C 2008 to meet Kev Hickey, someone I knew very well from Jaiku. Over the last year we had discussed many e-learning issues and shared experiences of applications, but also I had seen his photographs from Blackpool, I knew the names of his dogs, I felt he was someone I would call a friend.

Are you a resident or a visitor?

So it was very weird to actually meet him in person at ALT-C. He is just one of many people I know from online in just my e-learning sphere, better wave to Lisa at this point…

I can quite easily see how that I can be a digtial resident, living part of my life in an online world. I do use the internet a lot and do use a range of online services and applications to make my life easier, to communicate, to share, to drink coffee and to have a bit of fun as well.

Working with many staff in the college (and quite a few students as well) I often find that they are merely visitors, using the online world when it suits them and meets their needs.

I’m reminded of a member of staff at a training session who was quite vocal about being a “technophobe” and didn’t want to use technology in her teaching (note the word teaching and not learning). So basically I ignored her, there were staff there who were interested. As we moved around the room, another member of staff started talking about how she used learning technologies, how she used the VLE and then she remarked on how she used MSN chat to converse with her students at a time and place to suit them. At this point the “technophobe” spoke up and said, “oh I use MSN chat all the time to talk to my daughter in Australia”. For me she is the perfect example of a visitor to the online world, using the technologies when  it suits her needs and ignoring the potential that other tools, services and applications could offer her and importantly her learners.

Having said that, on Josie’s Blog there was a comment from Mike Amos-Simpson which I think is worth repeating.

I think that perhaps when its considered as a ‘world’ it maybe makes too many people feel like aliens!

I agree with Mike that calling it a world could alienate people, but then again so does using the terms like digital native and digital immigrant.

So are you a visitor or a resident? Or do you prefer native and immigrant?