I clearly need to get out more. This weekend on a sunny Sunday evening I decided to do a test to examine my digital skills level. The output was this rather appealing image which tells me I am pretty rubbish at digital creation but good at digital communication (I think because I am a chatterbox in any medium!).
Now I would not say that there was anything in this image that surprised me, I think I generally knew my strengths and weakness but one thing that it did make we reflect on is the idea of digital natives. I am (as much as it pains me to say) too old to be a digital native but I do use technology all day and part of my day job is as the e-learning tutor a degree programme with ~450 students which means I spend a lot time trouble-shooting for students or colleagues and have definitely up-skilled in the process which is partly recognised by my reasonable problem-solving score. In direct contrast to some of my students who cannot find information on databases efficiently, use bibliographic softeward or format a word document I feel very much more digitally native. But - I have no idea what snapchat really is and I only recently discovered gifs as my twitter account can show. So how can I reconcile these two things? I have just been introduced to the idea of a visitor and resident continuum where a visitor dips and and out, using the tools for a specific purpose, whilst a resident is more socially invested in a tool - it is more about a place they share their ideas and their life. Here is my map:
A couple of things to note here. Firstly, I am not on Facebook - I came off years ago and have never looked back. Secondly, I am on Twitter both personally and I edit the department account. For my own personal account I made a conscious decision to treat it like a personal time line. I am careful what I post, keeping in mind they can be seen by current and future employers and my students (so no comments about comedy things I read when marking). But I post regular pictures and comments about my hobbies (well my running and my dog but that is basically my hobbies!). I have invested myself in my twitter account and have become more and more familiar with the technology and hanging out in the twitter-sphere. Thirdly, I use VLEs both in my professional life as an educator and in my personal life as a student. I think the fact that I use them heavily to communicate with colleagues and students means I am effectively living part of me in the VLE. Finally, there are other quite discrete tools I use - SPSS and Spike are two software programmes I use for my research - they are licensed to me rather than the institution per se but bought with institutional funds and certainly serve little purpose to me outside of work.
When I see my skills mapped out in these two different ways I realise why in some contexts I behave quite differently to others. I also note that the resident technologies tend to be those which are built to be more social, perhaps with the exception of LinkedIn but my use of this is very limited. Apart from creating nice images this exercise reminds me how I interact with technology is important and is not always the same. It reminds me that some skills will transfer and that the relationship will change over time - I am quite new to blogging but already feel quite resident in my approach to it. It also reminds me to be more conscious, much as I did with Twitter, in deciding at what level I am going to invest in the technology.