Visitors and residents

David White’s description of the way in which people use the internet as being like the behaviours of visitors or residents has captured my interest this week. A link to his blog and his video were posted in a CCK09 forum this week.  Roy in his post – Thursday, 22 October 2009, 05:29 AM – has suggested that there might also be a ‘traveller/gypsy’ mode. I probably have not understood this correctly – but I’m not sure that this is necessary. David White views visitors and residents at either end of a spectrum along which people can position themselves differently at different times and in different contexts.

The ‘resident’ description makes perfect sense to me;  it’s so easy to identify ‘residents’ amongst the people I know. I wonder what proportion of any given population you would expect to be residents. Would this be about 10% – a figure quoted by Nancy White as the percentage of people you might expect to be very active in an online course or community.

‘Visitor’ is also an interesting idea – but I’m not sure that I’ve got my head round exactly what visitor behaviour incorporates. In terms of online teaching and learning the ‘resident’ is probably easier to work with, because we can get a very good sense of the ‘resident’s’ personal learning environment. The visitor’s work is less transparent. I think we probably need to know more about how ‘visitors’ learn.

On Dave White’s blog a number of commenters have recalled Prensky’s ‘digital natives/digital immigrants’ description. I see Prensky’s and White’s descriptions as being on different issues. Prensky’s is more to do with technology and how technological skills affect behaviour and learning online, whereas White’s is more about attitudes and approaches to learning – personal learning organisation. In the latter the learner is more in control. For me this is interesting as I think it reflects the increasing shift away from focussing on technology towards online learner behaviours, attitudes and preferences.

5 thoughts on “Visitors and residents

  1. Sui Fai John Mak October 25, 2009 / 2:47 pm

    Hi Jenny,
    I am pretty sure that we have discussed this visitor – resident mode in our pbworks (throughout the research). This has been disclosed in our and our current private research pbworks.

    I could refer to these with you and Roy via email too.

    Thanks Jenny for sharing.


  2. jennymackness October 25, 2009 / 4:00 pm

    Hi John – thanks for your comment

    Yes we did have a very similar discussion based on Matthias’ suggestion that we think about blogs as ‘home’ and forums as ‘bazaar’. I think we talked about ‘home’, more as being a safe, quiet place away from the bustle, rubbing shoulders and noise that you get in a bazaar.

    I think David White’s emphasis is different to ours. My view of it is that he sees the internet as being the location for learning, which some people choose to reside in on a permanent basis, but others only to visit from time to time.

    In Matthias’ home/bazaar metaphor, we have two locations – home for blogs – bazaar for forums with bloggers and forum users visiting each other.

    So I think we have similar ideas here with subtle differences.


  3. suifaijohnmak October 26, 2009 / 7:38 am

    Hi Jenny,
    Thanks for your comments. May be a good start to explore further.


  4. Heli November 3, 2009 / 4:07 pm

    Hi Jenny,

    thanks for David White’s text and video, I am enhusiastic again and want to know more. Is it possible to be a resident if you are old 🙂

    Perhaps we meet tomorrow in Ellunimate session

  5. jennymackness November 3, 2009 / 4:25 pm

    Hi Heli – Sorry that I haven’t been very communicative of late – a very busy time workwise – not to mention familywise. I hope to be in the Elluminate session tomorrow evening so hope to see you there.

    I think it’s great that Dave White seems to be knocking ideas about online behaviours being related to age on the head! Let’s see what more he has to say tomorrow.


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