To be honest, this topic has surprised me in many ways! I did not know anything about digital literacies, though I thought I was part of the digital world. But I was almost completely wrong…

A great exercise for you to be as surprised as me is to create your own “Visitor and resident map”. I will share mine and spice it with a few comments.

Visitor and resident map

Being a visitor or a resident is more about how much engaged you are in leaving something behind when you are online, rather on the skills you have. When you are a visitor you leave behind no social trace, like buying a book online or searching for some information. On the other side, being a resident means that after being online, you leave social trace, which remains there even if you are not online anymore. An example of this, is when you have active profiles in social networks, blogs, etc. It is like living part of your life online!

This model was described by White and Le Cornu [1] aiming to classify online engagement. How do you behave when you use online tools? A great webinar by David White about this topic was part of the ONL202 course, and I recommend you to give it a look.

The visitor and resident definition, is a continuum describing the behavior of people when using technology, depending mostly on the motivation to engage, and without considering age or background. This definition is completely different than the Prensky´s Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants highly polarized one [2,3]. In the latter, if you are young enough (ouch!) and then you grew up in a digital world, then you are native to digital technology. But if you grew up without access to the web or any other digital technology, then you have to learn to use it, just like you have to learn a second language when you are an immigrant.

This means that many of us will never be fluent in the digital language. Another great video by David White explains this much better than I do. Differently, the Visitor and Resident definition, is related to the engagement with digital technology and the web. As this definition gave me hope, I would share with you my own V&R map.

The real question you have to ask to yourself is “Where I can find myself online? After thinking about it, there it goes!

The bigger the logo (all in the public domain, except for Nature), the more I use that particular tool.

Before creating it, I thought I was resident in things I am not, and vice versa. Just looking photos on Facebook, or even giving many likes, does not mean you are leaving a trace behind you. In my personal digital life, I see movies and buy things online (100% visitor), I share (not as much as I thought) things on Facebook, use Skype and Whatsapp and perhaps there I leave a small personal trace (do I?).

Regarding my professional life, I am a 100% visitor on Twitter (i.e. reading news, interesting updates, etc., but not really sharing anything), and perhaps during the ONL202 course I will try to reside there a bit more. Now I have this blog, which I do not know if it is personal or professional! But definitely is giving me the resident touch that I need to overcome the bad news about being too old to learn about digital tools! My Gmail is everywhere, I use it for personal and work stuff, I am resident there (meaning that if you want to find me, there is a good place to start!) but also a visitor (meaning that from time to time, I am just reading and you have to insist!). LinkedIn and Researchgate have all the info I think is important about my work life (and I am not that active there), and I use Slack, Canvas, Box and Zoom a lot (particularly the latter, during this pandemic time). Nature is a wish! After all this is my blog and I choose Nature in representation of all the Journals I leave my research as a trace. But to be honest, I have no trace in Nature, but I do not lose the hope.

Actually, after looking my V&R map, I am a visitor when it comes to my personal digital life and I behave more as a resident when looking at my professional digital life. I think this is good. I would like to leave a professional trace, and I believe that we can find many ways to improve our work and the students’ perceptions about it if we have digital literacies. We are in fact in a digital world, which is also pushed to become more digital in times of COVID-19, and we need to become residents in order to properly adapt to current times. I think we can choose where to develop our digital literacies, how to use them to improve our work and lectures and leave a great trace behind.

It is all about connecting, and triggering interest about lectures or topics among the students, somehow gamifying the learning process, making it interactive and fun. Why not? I think ONL202 is waking up me as well.

David White finished his webinar citing one of his favorites quotes, and I will borrow it and finish this post with it:

“Now that knowledge and networks are abundant, not scarce, the emphasis should be on connections.”

“We (teachers) are the arbiter of connections.”

George Siemens


[1] White and Le Cornu, “Visitors and Residents: A new topology for online engagement” First Monday, 2011, 16(9).

[2] “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” (2001), by Marc Prensky.

[3] “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Part II (2001). Do they Really Think Different?”, by March Prensky.

Topic 1: Online participation & digital literacies