Digital Visitors & Residents with @daveowhite #JISC

My live notes from the webinar this afternoon:

Dave White

Visitor = sees the web as a set of tools

Residents = sees the web as a space

It’s about motivation to engage, rather than a skills set, e.g. when people want to talk to their grandchildren, they use Skype very quickly.

Can you be a lurker as a visitor AND a resident?

More likely to be successful in formal education if you take a visitor approach.

Lynn Connaway


Questions asked: 


Lurking often gets defined as within one platform, but someone may be quiet on e.g. a forum, but take that data and be ‘loud’ with it on Twitter, etc.

Difference between confidence in the technology, and the confidence to engage with the topic being discussed (Î think this is what we often see with students)

Email: (see also:


Dave White

See: student very ‘resident’ in their social life, but in their formal study, they are more of a ‘visitor’ …

It’s possible to be a rounded, sociable human being without being in Twitter all the time!

Raising question as to whether this is a continuum, or whether there’s a range of factors which affect practice and behavior.

Not necessarily trying to turn everybody into a Resident, although that could be valuable.

amber thomas 2:30 PM
A thought rather than a question. dave says this is not about turning everyone into a resident. i think thats really important … in ed tech world we tend to see a continiuum and assume we need to change where people are on it.
Andy Powell 2 2:29 PM
@doug i don’t understand ‘resident’ vs. ‘visitor’ as being a ‘fun’ vs. ‘drudgery’ thing
Doug Belshaw 2:31 PM
@Andy If you can ‘play’ with something then you understand it. Surely?

How much of our behavior online is factored in by ‘stable personality traits’ and how much by the environment that we’re in.

To read:

Do you become more of a ‘legitimate’ ‘resident’ by becoming a participant – are you consuming or creating knowledge?

This is not supposed to be a theory for everything, this is specifically about ‘technology for learning’.

Lynn Conway

Sources students use

Wikipedia is popular… went off into a debate about ‘fear of Wikipedia’, and how much of this group see it as an acceptable first port of call, and to demonstrate to students the ‘contestation of knowledge’.

12-18 year olds: screenagers – said ‘emails are for old people’

Dave White 

We talk a lot about OERs, but what about ‘Open Educational Answers’.

Is education about the answers, or the process that it takes us to reach the answers?

Academic institutions have to accept that people ARE using Wikipedia all the time.  (Slide from Martin…)

If we keep setting homework which is ‘a short essay supported by verifiable sources’ – then Wikipedia provides the answers – we need to think about the assignments, etc we set.

iilan soon @xlearn 2:49 PM
I think in primary schools, they encourage process, then they kill this enquiry off in secondary school

If education is about getting the answers, and all answers are a couple of clicks away – what does that mean for education? Does education/homework need to contextualize/personalize the information more…

Education is about questions. The web is about answers. Does education then require ‘co-creation’? Need to look at tools such as… help students ask the questions.

The Learning Black Market :

sui fai john mak 2:55 PM
Education is about enculturating learners into the knowledge-creating civilization and to help them find a place in it. This is where institutions need to work on. Comments?


Amber: How do we move forward from guidance on ‘it depends’ on your learners, etc? What are the chances of providing a digital environment that all are comfortable with … we need to be comfortable with the idea that some will be resident, and some won’t. “One size fits no one”.

Some areas are ‘energy efficient’ – we’ve put lots of effort into ‘resident institutional approaches’ where interesting learning can take place, but not always helpful – e.g. students set up own Facebook group – they can get on with that.

Andy Powell 2 3:00 PM
we want people to become residents but we don’t have to build all their houses

What is the student motivation to encourage should be focused upon, rather than worrying about the tools that they are using.

Doug Belshaw 3:01 PM
Do we need some social housing for new Residents?

Or affordable housing?

Brenda Kaulback 3:02 PM
Can residents have many homes?

I thought this was a nice way to end: “perhaps residents should always have the kettle on and a nice plate of biscuits mmmm biscuits”

Academic Digital Event

Dave White, Keynote, #pelc10

David has worked in the overlapping space between education, technology and media for over 16 years. He co-manages Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning (TALL), an elearning research and development group at theUniversity of Oxford.

At TALL he is responsible for the production and delivery of a wide range of online distance courses. The courses include philosophy, art, literature, economics, history and even nanotechnology. Over 1000 students based around the globe enrol on these each term.

David released some of the first data on ‘web 2.0’platforms which contained the type of diagrams that have ‘social’, ‘studying’ and ‘professional’ nestling alongside each other to highlight out how these boundaries are blurring. He has also researched the wild frontiers of Virtual Worlds and Massively Multiplayer Online games in the context of teaching and learning.

He is keen to see beyond the technology to the larger underlying trends that are emerging as society moves online, exploring the motivations and aspirations of students as they engage with the web and with each other. His musing on these subjects can be found on the TALL blog.

Recently David has been closely involved in the work of the HEFCE Online Learning Task Force, which has been set-up with the aims of maintaining and developing the position of UK higher education as a world leader in online learning.

Notes taken on my netbook

  • Technology and education, why we’re in the room… digital technology – just a fancy tool – is this a good enough framing for the discussion… or should we think about learning/pedagogy first?
  • Students in Second Life – philosophy discussion – moved from 3rd person to 1st person… – how many layers away is that from ‘real’? Early 1980s, computing started to appear in schools… his Dad moved from teaching RE, to teaching computing, because he was interested… asked him how teaching computing would happen.. his Dad said in future would just be part of everyday life… BBC ‘The Computer Programme’… (1982)
  • Culturally what has happened – we can now get computers in every colour… in many ways more important than what’s inside it…  The iPad – same to 1982 – just the latest technology for this year… the difference, in 1982 – was ‘a geek’ with authority, whereas iPad = a model in jeans… – mostly because of visibility of the web – who’s in space…
  • The Hierarchy of Digital Distractions.. to many, this is what technology actually is…  So many things are under the banned of ‘technology’…  if we’re not clear how we think, then others will tell us how to think!
  • Role of technology?
  • Disappearing into use; disrupting the status quo – can do both…
  • Desire: ‘Disappear (Want), Disrupt (Need) – most of us want the tech to disappear, don’t want to have to think about it, but maybe they need it to be a bit disruptive… We need to challenge students, why have we talked about ‘the student as consumer’ – when have we ever given them what they want…
  • Pedagogy – want to pass assessment, need to do group work/collaboration [difficult/messy]
  • Technology – to pass assessment – use VLE, Email, Content; Group work – blogging, social media, content – multiple points of feedback/need to be human beings… If being innovative, going to be disruptive and not necessarily easy to embed, otherwise wouldn’t be labelled as innovation…
  • Motivation – – visitors, residents – most students/tutors, choose to engage/not engage for particular reasons and have their own strategies for getting through…
  • Bickering. Between those who want to stick with what they have, versus new tech – we argue too much – we need both & need to talk to each other constructively… it’s like talking about the internal combustion engine, rather than stepping back about where we’re trying to head… e.g. the phone – post-technical, culturally normalised (as has email) – the phone is the conversations we have on it, rather than the phone…
  • – we should be involved early so we can influence the development so it’s useful for us… too often a tool-specific solution.. all moves to post-digital as they are culturally normalised…how many of you are players/innovators, how many pragmatists? Difficult.. Don’t get tied up with specific platforms, but recognise are somewhere in this flow… Need to talk to each other, not geeks being gatekeepers…
  • [Images, should put the origins in the base left corner…]
  • Think about where you sit on these issues…. Much of what we’re doing is mainstream – we need a good grasp on strategy, maybe even politics… maybe able to influence how education is moving forward as a whole…
  • Henry Ford, if he’d asked, people would have said they wanted faster horses… so do we give people what they want or pay lip service?
  • All tutors/teachers are also learners – should be less clear cut distinctions. Govt saying we should just listen to the student voice… IS our job to challenge…
  • Good to create some anxiety to make them think, but not anxiety re what room they are in – how much technology just causes anxiety?
  • Web contact/communication not content… online learning, find if more than 20-30 they start dropping out as want the contact.. get a better deal than f2f. Blurred boundaries as many are presented in both formats…
  • What’s the difference between education and training? Discussion not just eating content…
  • Don’t be afraid of the banal… we spend 80% of our lives … if it contributes to learning!
  • Twitter – content – merely a bridge to relationship building..
  • If you’re not teaching, you’re talking…
  • How do you recreate those conversations that you can best have down the pub? Best places – have someone centrally focused, dragging them out of their faculties, talking to each other – but innovations generally come from grass roots – if you can’t draw that out, the individual leaves, and the institution loses, we keep re innovating the same thing… really skilled thing to make that work as people are talking different languages – don’t sit in own silos assuming that we know what the others think…
  • Is it beginning to appear in strategies – started to realise that e-learning strategy shouldn’t be around the technology but about the communications strategies… may be difficult/delicate job, but will find there tends to be a technical solution for things… We need the cakes… v. important..
  • Any large institution has problem of separate kingdoms – in role – understand politics, look good at big meetings, but talk on a human level…
  • Lots of places thinking that we can solve by offering with ‘online learning’ – UK education still hugely recognised as leading – we are in a global environment…  Think reassured that education not about to be industrialised, and can maintain our essence…