UOSM2008 Introductory Post

Digital Natives and Immigrants

Prensky (2001) identified the term ‘digital natives’, describing users who are very experienced with the Web. This looks at the younger generation (‘millenials’) in particular, who are highly skilled (Howe and Strauss, 2000, 2003). Digital immigrants are users who lack the digital skills, and find the Web a difficult environment to navigate.

What defines a native and immigrant can vary per individual. In my opinion, there is no clear distinguishing between the two profiles, as a user would possess traits from both identities. Not all immigrants are lacking in digital literacy. Similarly, not all natives use the Web constantly. There is a compromise between both profiles, in order to utilise the Web efficiently.

Self Test and Digital Profile

To evaluate my current digital literacies, a self test was carried out. This takes into account Prensky’s definition of users on the Web, and what profile I fall under.

self-test_27973492 (4).png


It was interesting to evaluate the amount of time I had spent online. Due to the nature of my course, it was inevitable that I would utilise the Web for coding purposes. However, my digital literacies are lacking in certain areas, especially developing a healthy online profile for other users to view.

My results indicate I am a ‘ digital resident’ in certain aspects, particularly when a proportion of my life is spent online to use social media platforms such as Facebook (White & Cornu, 2011). Yet I am also a visitor, who uses the Web to complete tasks for educational purposes.

I would identify myself as part of the ‘Net Generation’, being able to adapt to the technologies quickly. Understanding the use of technologies is intuitive, and communication is mostly carried out through digital devices (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Phone Calls) (Lorenzo & Dziuban, 2006).


Word Count: 298 


[1] Prensky, M., 2001. Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On the horizon9(5), pp.1-6.

[2] Howe, N. & Strauss, W.(2000). Millennials rising: the next great generation. New York: Vintage.

[3] White, D and Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. Available: http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/3171/3049. 

[4] Lorenzo, G. and Dziuban, C., 2006. Ensuring the net generation is net savvy. Educause learning initiative2.


11 thoughts on “UOSM2008 Introductory Post

  1. Hi,

    I really enjoyed reading your first blog post, especially your reflection as you’ve created a great infographic with more detail about why you chose this module and what you want to gain from it, which is useful in an introductory post.

    You described Prensky(2001)’s theory really well at the beginning, and I certainly agree that what defines a digital native and a digital immigrant can vary per individual. However, I would love to hear more of your thoughts on White and Le Cornu (2011)’s theory.

    In particular, do you think that what defines a digital visitor and a digital resident also varies per individual?

    Also, do you agree that these categorizations should be more of a continuum/spectrum rather than fixed categories (as White suggests?)

    Have a look at White and Le Cornu’s continuum:


    I find this continuum really useful. Do you agree or do you think fixed categories are more useful for reflecting on our digital identities?

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anna,

      Thanks for your reply!

      White and Le Cornu’s Theory is interesting, identifying the spectrum that defines a ‘visitor’ and ‘resident’. I enjoyed the analogy with the garden shed. It is relatable to how users utilise the Web for a specific purpose, and nothing else (https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/evaluating-digital-services/visitors-and-residents).

      The idea of a continuum incorporates both characteristics of the digital visitor and resident, which in my opinion is a better method to categorise users. It is difficult to assign one identity to a user, especially when technology is used in a variety of ways to define our digital literacy. I believe that fixed categories are not the best way to reflect our digital skills. Some activities reflect our identity as ‘visitor’, when actually we have solid knowledge about the Web and its use.

      I look forward to hear from you!



      1. Hi Chloe,

        I definitely agree that the idea of a continuum is a better method to categorize users.
        his is where I think White’s continuum is very beneficial – as it provides flexibility unlike Prensky’s fixed categories. I think a person doesn’t have to be either/or ‘visitor’/’resident’ – they could be a mix of the two, depending on how they use the web on a specific day. As for your second question, I still would position myself somewhere in the middle of White’s paradigm. However, after the self-test I realized that some days I would describe myself as a total visitor and other days I would say I’m a resident. So because of this inconsistency, I overall position myself in the middle – but actually what I describe myself as really depends on the day and the tasks I prioritize that day.


      2. Hi Chloe,

        I definitely agree that the idea of a continuum is a better method to categorize users. As you suggested, it provides more flexibility with self-categorization. I think this is essential as most people are flexible on the web. Some days, they may prioritize tasks which fit in more with the ‘visitor’ categorization, and other times they will describe themselves as digital residents.

        I look forward to reading your reflection on this post! 🙂


        (PS ignore the previous comment please, I intended it to be a reply to someone else’s comment but got all mixed up)


  2. cl5g16


    I really like how you’ve written your blog.

    I like how you straight away went in and evaluated Prensky’s defintions of digital native and digital immigrants – to which I totally agree, there should be further categories developed to help classify these ‘in-between’ users.

    I also like how you introduced the term ‘Net Generation’ in your reflection, as this is something I haven’t heard myself.

    In your opinion, regarding Prensky’s definitions, what do you think it takes for someone to move from digital native to digital immigrant?

    What about for the new notions of digital resident and digital visitor – what do you think it takes for someone to move from one to the next?

    Keep me updated with your thoughts 🙂



    1. Hi Carl,

      Thanks for your reply!

      I believe that there are no set of specific actions that will allow a digital ‘visitor’ to progress to a ‘resident’. Activities will vary among individuals, depending on their ability to grasp digital literacy skills efficiently. One may build their online profiles daily, using social media such as Facebook and Instagram to communicate. Alternatively, users are able to participate in online courses (MOOCs) to enhance their learning. Thus, improving their digital skills.

      With the new notions, I think that technologies will move individuals towards the ‘resident’ profile compared to social media. Consolidating knowledge in online applications can improve work performance, which is what the Web is predominantly used for. Though, this continuum differs for individuals, depending on factors such as age (https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/evaluating-digital-services/example-visitor-and-resident-maps).

      I look forward to hear from you!



  3. Hi Chloe,

    I am very impressed with your blog, as you showed a large amount of knowledge on the topic of discussion. I also like your infographics as they are clean and simple whilst still contain a large amount of information.

    Do you think that being a digital native automatically categorises you as a digital resident?, or are these two categorisations are linked but not alike? what is the similarities between the two categorisations? I would like to know your opinion on this.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.



    1. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      In my opinion, I believe that there is a strong correlation between a digital native and resident. Especially when activities such as sharing status posts and commenting on feeds contribute to this. We usually associate ‘native’ with ‘resident’, as they suggest users are experienced with technology and the Web. I find it interesting that others have similar views, exploring the similarities between both descriptions (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/digital-immigration-you-native-immigrant-visitor-nagaraja-srivatsan/).

      The transition from Prensky’s ‘native’ definition to White and Le Cornu’s ‘residents’ is logical, given the ever-changing society we are in (http://www.infotoday.eu/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Visitors-and-residents-understanding-digital-behaviours-105217.aspx). It makes more sense to use the latter description, placing our digital literacy on a continuum rather than a fixed label. This is important, identifying individuals that can posses qualities from ‘visitor’ and ‘resident’ characters.

      Hope to hear from you soon!



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