Digital Nonsense and Residents

I have read ‘Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants’ by Marc Prensky, ‘Visitors and Residents’ by David White and ‘Net Generation Nonsense’ by Mark Bullen and compared the three. This one is mainly based on Net Generation Nonsense, but to read more about Digital Natives and Immigrants please visit my blogs on them or the articles themselves which are on my references.

Net Generation Nonsense basically states that the net generation are:

  • Digitally literate
  • Connected
  • Immediate
  • Experimental
  • Social/Interactive
  • Team
  •  Structure
  • Visual and Kinetic
  • Socially-conscious

Are all of these the aspects of the Net Generation? Do you use all of these all of the time and how would you define them? Not everyone is all of these, or even multiple of these and are still defined or in the ‘net generation’, if, as usual this is defined by age.

Some people in this age group are ‘Digitally illiterate’ in some aspect or software. Most people are connected through social networking, which is connected, immediate and experimental, social and interactive and socially conscious. Social networking is immediate because the message or blog is posted/sent immediate and as David White suggests the Digital Residents would pick up and reply immediately, although Digital Immigrants may not be able to do this. Social Networking can be visual and kinetic as well because it can include video and audio blogs or podcasting, photos on Facebook or Twitter etc. It can be Kinetic through actually submitting/writing/recording of these. But why not audio? Social Networking has my definition of connected, but not just electronic or digitally. You are connected to people who you are friends with now, or you knew before. It is social and interactive because you get to share your thoughts, feelings and learning with people who are interested in your work.

Visual learning

Visual learners have two sub-channels—linguistic and spatial. Learners who are visual-linguistic like to learn through written language, such as reading and writing tasks. They remember what has been written down, even if they do not read it more than once. They like to write down directions and pay better attention to lectures if they watch them. Learners who are visual-spatial usually have difficulty with the written language and do better with charts, demonstrations, videos, and other visual materials. They easily visualize faces and places by using their imagination and seldom get lost in new surroundings. (

Kinesthetic learners

Kinesthetic learners do best while touching and moving. It also has two sub-channels: kinesthetic (movement) and tactile (touch). They tend to lose concentration if there is little or no external stimulation or movement. When listening to lectures they may want to take notes for the sake of moving their hands. When reading, they like to scan the material first, and then focus in on the details (get the big picture first). They typically use color high lighters and take notes by drawing pictures, diagrams, or doodling. (

Auditory learners

Auditory learners often talk to themselves. They also may move their lips and read out loud. They may have difficulty with reading and writing tasks. They often do better talking to a colleague or a tape recorder and hearing what was said. (

To be the Net Generation you have to use digital technologies extensively but what is extensively and what technology? This isn’t in enough detail for me, it is a bit generalised and doesn’t make distinctions.

The Net Generation study goes on to claim that technology is used in social and recreational uses, that creates sophisticated users; social, recreational uses, that create educational use; the use of technology changes learning approaches, changes the brain; but these pieces of information cannot be trusted as much because there is no evidence for it. To find out this – it could be shown in research. It is suggested that the ‘Extended Web’ started off at Web 1.0 and will end up as Web x.0. It shows the changing use of the web, showing this research will be out of date once we reach Web 3.0. On the other hand, what Graham Brown Martin said supports the Net Generation Theory says by saying “When we play games we rapidly solve abstract problems in real time…”

Twitter can be described in such ways in which it shows support for when the Net generation suggests that “technology is used in social and recreational uses, which creates sophisticated users; social, recreational uses, that create educational use” and “need to change the way we teach, organise our institutions, and support our learners”. Twitter can be described as a library; a street corner because of the gossip; as a soapbox because of rant/speech/broadcasting tool; as amplification – most of twitter is this and is amplified to 100 people; finally as a filter. It would be hard for technology to change your brain as the research suggests because our brains are different for many factors, such as family life.

The fact that the research suggests “need to change the way we teach, organise our institutions, and support our learners” is uncertain as different factors could affect it and convergence is happening all the time: social media and email will converge and web is converging with television.

What Elizabeth Corcoran (2010) suggests, I believe goes against this theory and goes towards what David White was saying in his piece on ‘Digital Visitors and Digital Residents’. Corcoran (2010) suggested “Gamification is ‘creating an expectation among people that real-life interactions follow simple mechanics and some disillusionment when they do not’.”

Contradictory evidence

The contradictory evidence that was suggested is that the elders spend more time online than teens is this because of increased money, time and interest in news and staying connected with friends and family online, who they may not live with anymore?

It is probably not advisable for universities to research to much more into this for the students on to the course because I don’t believe it is that much of a substantial mistake – there are also other factors to look at.

Students that I have spoken to, including myself, do mix personal and social use of technology – they are writing essays and on facebook, twitter, texting, having a phone call and blogging about what they are reading. It is said by this contradictory evidence that “students may not use technology in the way that you expect them to”, but what is expected by the net generation and the universities, and, like I have said before, everyone’s usage is different, and changes over time.

“Use of social networks for academic use is low” – really? Discussing your learning and finding out more information is not as good for your academic use? You learn by discussion and bouncing off people.

Another piece of contradictory evidence is that the use of Web 2.0 technologies was low, but if this was true, why does the amount of web 2.0 technologies increase, it maybe because audiences are already wanting to move onto web 3.0 technology.

In conclusion, many people view that everyone has their own one truth so there is no one piece of research that is right and others say you learn through different points. These pieces of research needs to take into account that we are in a position in this information society that is everything is possible and connected.


Bullen, Mark, ‘Net Generation Nonsense [online presentation] [accessed 29th January 2012]

Nwlink, Audo, Visual and Kinsthetic learners, [online] [accessed 29th January 2012]