One of the most influential pieces of work which has shaped my thinking over the past few years has been Dave White's ideas on Visitors and Residents. A while ago Dave expanded on his original idea in a post entitled The cost of Residency. In this post he makes some good points about the rapidly changing social network landscape, and then goes on to discuss the costs of residency:
Time is the non-negotiable cost to Residency and to maintaining fulfilling relationships of any form. The way this precious resource is spent, especially in the context of learning, needs to be better understood by those of us promoting the idea of digital literacy.
This is one of the most valid criticisms ("not enough time") that people raise in the face of social media advocacy, and this has been seized on in a number of discussions which took place in adjacent spaces around the post. While I accept the issue as valid, after consideration I am left with the uneasy feeling that the way the negative aspects of this post have been seized on neglects to provide adequate balance on the issue of the costs of not being resident. I would like to redress that balance here.
In my video discussing V & R I make the point that a Visitor approach to formal education is more likely to be successful than a Resident one given that all students are likely to end-up isolated at a desk in an exam room at the end of their courses – i.e. the education system assesses our ability to be Visitors not Residents.
My feeling is that this narrow view fails to take into account skills required beyond the hamster wheel of assessment and reward - workplace and life skills which Visitors fail to glean due to the absence of network effects.
Characterising digital literacy as a simple drive towards Residency would be dangerous; digital literacies are required and acquired as much at the Visitor end of the continuum as they are at the Resident.
This is a straw man, Visitor skills are the low hanging fruit, it's residency skills, and the ability to balance them with other pressures, where the advances in technology lie. Dave continues to develop the V & R idea, but it is crucial that we balance the positive outcomes of residency against the downside doubters. So where is the low hanging fruit of residency?