Visitors only please…Residents by permit!

Are you a visitor or a resident?

Photo Credit: Canadian Pacific via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Canadian Pacific via Compfight cc

Resident – An individual who lives a percentage of their life online.

Visitor – An individual who uses the web as a tool in an organised manner whenever the need arises.

Think about these words as you read on…

In the last 60 seconds there have been:

  • 527,760 photos are shared on Snapchat every minute
  • 701,389 Facebook logins
  • Twitter sees 347,222 Tweets per minute
  • YouTube boasts of 2.78 million video views
  • As many as 150 million emails sent are sent every one minute
  • 2.4 million search queries on Google
  • Almost 20.8 million messages are exchanged on WhatsApp

Take a look at the numbers below as they change while you read this blog post…. It really is mind-blowing how much information is being created and how much is being consumed.

What has changed?

Children today are  Digital Nativesaccording to Mark Prensky. They have been born into a time where using the internet is the norm. As part of the generation of children who have grown up in Web 2.0 it is part of their culture to be uploading, creating and distributing their creations for the wider world to consume as they like. But perhaps “digital resident” and “digital visitor” is a better way of describing people because it is defined more by attitude than age. Do you live on-line? Or do you us the web in an organised way?

For all of us the online environment has changed. Adults and children are using devices to connect with other people. With the internet there is truly a global world at our fingertips. In today’s hyper-connected 24 hour society of information overload it is hard to say no and switch off…We want to know more, feel more connected, not miss out on the latest news, photo, etc. We are working harder than ever- online or offline.

 How do we live with technology? And is it healthy? 

Photo Credit: mrkrndvs via Compfight cc

How many of us are guilty of checking our phones (email, text, Twitter, Facebook etc) during a family meal? How many of us put their phones on the table during a meeting just in case a little bit of infromation comes in? We have all done it…I know I have!

The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

So why do we feel this need to quench our infromation thirst? I think it is a case of fear of missing out (FoMO). Psychologist Adam Ferrier said that people have always felt the fear of missing out on parties and activities even before the Internet, but social media indeed elevated the FOMO intensely.There is a very strong positive correlation between the hours spent on digital technology and higher stress.

What can we do in the future? 

We need to conquer the infromation overload both personally and within our schools. We know that there is more infromation being produced than ever before. I know that I need to make  a change. Here a few things I am going to try out from Daniel Levitan:

Getting organised can bring us to the next level in our lives.

In my classroom

Photo Credit: Sandro_Lacarbona via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Sandro_Lacarbona via Compfight cc

The children and I are pretty active in the classroom. There is no set place to sit, children work on the floor, on desks, on iPads, on the computer, at the microphone stand, on the IWB, in the quiet space, in the construction space. There is lots of choice in what and how they do something. We take breaks in our day for a little Go Noddle, use brain-breaks and thinking and learning routines. Getting children (and adults) active (body and mind )is so important.

At the beginning of the year we spend a lot of time talking about the expectations using iPads and computers in class and how to use these apps correctly. It is time consuming but  this communication is so important for the children to feel trusted and valued in how and when to use technology. Therefore screen time and  internet or device distractions are not really a big issue for the children in my class. We have 4 desktops and 7 iPads. The children have a choice of using them at any time and for any purpose. I find it interesting though that I never have to remind them about the amount of time that they spend on these devices. Why is that?

Could it be that children are quite balanced in making their online and offline choices. They see the need for communicating, consuming and creating using both technology and also not using it. One boy told me last Friday afternoon ( after spending all day rehearsing our Grade 1 play)  “I have been on Kidblog, I have played Minecraft, I really want to build a marble run!” Maybe they just get it. Perhaps they see the internet and devices simply as tools. They might think that going on the internet, is like going to the park.

So the children can navigate through this online and offline visitor and resident ideas…how about me?

In the time reading this…

  • How many emails have I received?
  • How many twitter notifications have I received?
  • How many WhatsApp messages have I received?

Am I a visitor or a resident

5 thoughts on “Visitors only please…Residents by permit!

  1. Hi Joel,
    It’s always a pleasure to read your posts. Love the visuals, the ideas and the questioning! I hope I am a visitor.
    I really like your suggestions to “what to do in the future”. I must follow some of them myself; especially in regards of eating lunch in front my computer.
    I also enjoy having a glimpse of you class. I think you’re right when you say, “children are quite balanced in making their online and offline choices”; mine seem to be. I think we have misconceptions about Millennials and some myths are hard to deconstruct.
    Thanks for the post.


  2. Hi Valdir,
    Thanks so much for your comments. The feeling is mutual… I have always enjoyed reading your posts throughout your COETAIL journey too. Often your posts have sparked a curiosity with me through visuals, questioning etc.. I am looking forward to seeing your final project.
    My thinking is that some children understand that being connected is not always where they need to be. I suppose our job is to model these behaviours better, both at home and at school. We need to be visitors or risk modelling the wrong behaviour for the future generations.
    Thanks for your comments. Enjoy the holidays!
    Cheers, Joel


  3. If you do a google search of “criticism of digital natives” you’ll find a lot of research that suggests the idea of digital native is not really a fair one. Sure kids don’t know a world without tech, I’ve been online longer than my kids have been alive. I think that why is why all the conversations with your kids are so important. I think it’s why it’s so important to share our own struggles with tech.

    All that said, I do think we underestimate our kids ability to balance online/offline. And I love the idea of being “online” feels the same as being at the park.


  4. Very thought provoking read. Like Rebekah said above, I have always questioned the word choice and concept of calling our students “digital natives”. I think we need be make sure we are not using this principle as an excuse to throw technology into kids’ hands, but that we always consider conversations and scaffolding as essential to our classrooms. I think your post here really sums up what is important when we are considering technology in education, and that is the idea of balance. Students need this balance with devices, and it was interesting to read about the structure of your classroom and how this organization encourages balance.

    In the vein of modeling for our students, I think it is equally important to consider our technology use as well. How connected/dependent are we on technology and what are the ramifications of this dependence? This is always a question we need to ask ourselves, especially when we are working with students. If students see us living a balanced lifestyle, the students will as well.

    Thanks for the read.


    1. Thanks for the comments Kyle.
      I agree with you I think balance is the one the keys to technology usage. Children (and adults!) need to use technology wisely. It should not be used all of the time. Careful planning and implementation of technology by teachers is vital for this.The modelling from teachers in their lifestyle is equally as important and we need to be good role models to our students in this.
      Thanks for your comments,


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