How many times do we need to recreate ourselves?

In my last post I asked a question about edtags, and one of the responses got me thinking and inspired me to write this post.

While listening to one of the NECC webcasts,  Our Students – Our Worlds, one of the points that were made  on the side was that the kids who grow up with technology**  have their place out there in the digital world. They choose a platform like Myspace based on what everyone else they know is using, and then that is where they stay. We, on the other hand, have tried myspace and facebook as well as Xing and others. Same for social tagging. Where are our tags? Are they in delicious, blinkspace, digg, diigo, or some other tool that will come up as the next best greatest thing? What will happen to our other tags? You can transfer this idea to bookshelves, musicboxes, picturebooks etc.

We as digital immigrants, however, are constantly searching and trying out new things. The result being that we have a little infomarmation scattered here and there, but no place to call home. We add a few details, look around, see how it works, and then a new tool is suggested to us by someone we know, an invitation to join – which we do, of course, and then the same thing happens again.

So are we a lost generation constantly in search for the perfect tool, which we’ll never find because, even if we do find it, a new one will come along, making the old one obsolete.

Why can then the digital users find a place to be and then stay there? What consequences will that have for them? What kind of consequences will our wandering have on us and our identity on-line?

And most important of all, how are we going to deal with this constant movement so that we have strong and useful ties to support and connect us? How are we going to approach all the new and exciting tools that will hit us in the future with even more and better possiblitites? What happens to the old tools we used and then fall into disuse?

**In the same webcast I believe, digital natives are described as being only natives for a very short time before new tools come up and they are no longer digital natives. Instead they become digital USERS.


7 Responses

  1. Kia ora Illya!

    You say that digital immigrants have “no place to call home”. I say that it’s a mind set.

    I am an immigrant to New Zealand from Scotland. When I first came to NZ in 1974, I had it in my mind to live here and to raise a family here. So for me NZ became ‘home’. It always has been, especially Wellington which was the first city I came to. I’ve lived in Wellington since that time. But I have two ‘homes’ now – one in Scotland and one in NZ.

    Many times I have met immigrants from Scotland and other countries throughout the world who have come to NZ on spec. They look around and think it’s good, but wonder if it’s really any better than where they’d come from.

    Often they go back to where they call home some years later, only to find that ‘home’ is different from what it was. So they come back to NZ. They are often quite lost when they do this, for they no-longer can find ‘home’ for it only exists in their mind. Some move about, as you say the ‘digital immigrants’ do, and never ‘settle’.

    Not me. I know where ‘home’ is. It’s right here where I am now. I feel and behave like a ‘native’ and I’m treated like one till I speak, which is a bit unfair for my accent is really an invalid tag that I can’t get rid of.

    But coming back to digital immigrants and digital natives – frankly, I think that it is really in the minds of both the ‘immigrants’, who choose to think like immigrants, and the ‘natives’, who choose to treat the immigrants like immigrants.

    What so-called ‘immigrants’ have to do to be accepted as ‘natives’ (if they want to be accepted) is to start thinking that they are natives and behaving accordingly. After all, when a young teenager is first introduced to Web 2.0 technology, they behave like immigrants – for a short while.

    Ka kite

  2. Illya
    Your questions are the questions I want to see in ELT blogs.

    You touch on different topics here:
    a) digital immigrants
    b) tools
    c) recreating yourself

    No easy answers.

    Just one thought:
    If the focus on the tools make us detour from the pedagogy, we are missing a fundamental evolutionary link in our learning path.

    Thank you for sharing these questions.

  3. Guess I’ve got the same feeling, Illya. That’s why I set up this account 2 days ago:

    Wonder if that would be of use some time….

  4. Kia Ora Ken
    I’m glad to see you here! Coming back to my posts I realize that the comment I had written a while back was not published, so here it goes again.

    You certainly called me on my statement! That’s great since I profit most from questioning.
    I understand exactly what you are saying about immigrating as I too am an immigrant from the US to Switzerland. My home town (which isn’t where I was born or where I spent my childhood, but where I spent puberty) will always remain home in my heart, but my home is now in Switzerland, in my mind as well.

    As for the digital world, the terms I use are quotes and not from me, and they are indeed up to discussion. However they are not the main theme of this post. On contrary, I was responding to the feeling I have expereinced both from others and myself of continually finding new places to set up digital camp.
    Here are just a couple of examples.

    First people set up their profiles in Myspace and then Facebook came along and, because one is invited by friends to join, off people go and set up their profile again. And then comes another one. Can you keep up with 3 places all for nearly the same purpose, or do you ditch what you have done in the earlier ones and focus on the last one you set up?

    Social bookmarking is another example. I started with delicious. Then Blink was recommended as very good. Now along comes Diigo. Where do I keep my bookmarks? Where do I share with my friends?

    Then there are the bookshelves and microblogging sites, and the list goes on.

    Having said that, I do have a digital homebase where my ‘family’ is, but they are leading me into an ever thickening forest of tools. Here is where the ‘recreating our identity’ comes into play. But to tell you the truth I do enjoy discovering with others what all is out there. And as a native you are much less likely to go sightseeing.

    Thanks again for your thought-invoking comment!

  5. Hi Claudia
    Your comment is intriguing. How exactly would you suggest approaching these questions on the blogs? And do you mean putting them to our learners or having them mirrored in the what we do? I’d love to be in further contact with you on this

    Your one thought is the most relevant of them all!
    I’m glad to have people out there sharing this path.
    All the best!

  6. Hi Illya – After reading your comment on my post about SWURL – I can tell I see your point actually.
    Well, you’re definitely right: Time will tell. For the moment swurl has been useful for me from the point of organization. What I mean is that whenever I need to go over some of my posts I will find them there. Sometimes I don’t remember where I published some comments (Facebook? Twitter? Just add a link to my delicious account?, etc) So everything is on one place now. Guess that’s enough for me. But , of course, I hold higher expectations…so let’s wait for the reason time shows in these sort of circumstances.
    BTW, have you seen the poll on the posts above? I’d love you commenting on it if you have the time…Thanks in advance.


  7. Please forgive me for posting the reference entry incorrectly- Guess this is the right one

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