Skip to main content

Elevating Engagement; Revisiting Residency

When venturing out to world wide web, do we view the various landing points as tools or places? 

Many people consider Google search as a tool, but Twitter as a place. The key difference being we typically associate places as locations of social interaction and contribution. We establish residency by leaving traces of our identity behind as we move point to point. The longer we stay, and the more we engage with others, the further we move away from the visitor role towards residency. A few months ago, I wrote about mapping Internet usage based on the research of White and Le Cornu. I found this mapping activity to be personally enlightening, and it also helped me have focused conversations about the places our learners are most likely to interact and share.

Dave White explains visitors and residents are not separate classifications but rest on a continuum to help explain how people use the web and where places of engagement are likely to occur. The Internet mapping exercise helps visualize our web-based activities and explain our digital identity. When we combine White and Le Cornu's research with Stephen Downes and George Siemens's theory of connectivism (socially networked learning), we assume increased engagement and more relevant learning occurring towards the resident end of the V/R continuum. According to White, neither end of the continuum is favored over the other. However, we're facing dramatic declines in student engagement in school; it makes sense to learn as much as we can about how (tools) students use the web, and more importantly, where (places) they are likely to engage with other learners.

V/R Axes Template



Next week, I am leading a workshop (SchoologyNEXT) investigating the premise that a learning management system (LMS) can also provide a personal learning environment (PLE). In other words, the LMS is thought of more readily by learners as a place than a tool. If this shift towards residency occurs can we expect increased student engagement? There's not much in the way of formal research in this area, but the relationship and impact seem plausible.


If students move towards residency, then increased interaction will elevate student engagement.

Full disclosure, I subscribe to the thinking popularized by Audrey Watters, Dean Shareski, Aaron Davis, and others who suggest that those who want to work and play transparently on the web should own a domain, a web-based residence. However, this leap to residential transparency is very dramatic for many teachers and students. The LMS, in our case, Schoology, provides easy entry, scaffolded practice, and a coherent center for web-based interaction. Can the LMS provide sanctuary for the digital nomad? Will this provide a stepping-stone towards personal residence?

How can we help learners move towards residency? 

Stephen Downes says these are the key elements of a personal learning environment:
  • A place for curated material
  • A place for creating content
  • A place for interaction
  • A place for reflection
  • A place for sharing 

Whether it's a learning management system or some other digital age tool, guiding students in the creation of a personal learning environment will help them move towards the resident end of the V/R continuum. It is here where content creation and interaction foster engagement, and for many, deeper, more meaningful learning. I am interested in your thoughts about this thesis. Can student engagement be elevated by guiding them down a path of web residency?


Related Reading


Visitors and Residents - David White






photo credit: The Writing Desk via photopin (license)

Comments

Aaron Davis said…
Interesting read Bob.
My biggest gripe with LMS's is that they do not necessarily provide any means for students (and teachers) to archive their content. I have used Edmodo which did not allow any sort of archive, but I have never really explored School of.
This is why I think blogs offer so much potential.
Robert Schuetz said…
Thank you for reading and sharing Aaron.
On my web map, Blogger is prominent in the upper right quadrant. So many of our learners don't even know what a blog is, let alone use one as a transparent resident. I am wondering if some "openness" can be sacrificed for providing guided navigation towards residency? Will residency increase interaction and engagement? Can this institutional residency provide a stepping stone towards personal residency, in our case, blogs? I guess I'm trying to provide sanctuary for the digitally homeless.
Bob

Popular posts from this blog

Grammarly Writing Hacks for Better Blogging

Writing is learning. It's taken me about thirty years to realize the metacognitive power of written expression, the same amount of time it took for me to recognize that my writing skills suck. Apparently, time in composition class was spent daydreaming and making silly faces at girls. Today, each post is an exercise of will power, unlearning and relearning prepositional phrases, comma usage, and when to use the ever-popular semicolon. Two hundred posts into my blogging adventure I've picked up a few tricks that add efficiency to my writing, things that make me appear smarter than I really am.


Freelance writer, Jennie Cromie, writing for ProBlogger.net, identifies five ways blogging can make you a better writer. Discover your voiceBuild social connectionsAcquire valuable feedbackBecome self-disciplinedWrite faster and more efficiently
Writing with intent to learn is the mindset to lead with. Using the right tools permits scatterbrains like me to focus on the message rather than un…

To Email, or Not

Should current students learn how to use email?


As someone who celebrates a clean email inbox about once every five years, I found it interesting that the topic of student email usage was on the agenda of our recent high school leadership meeting. The focus of this brief conversation concentrated on these questions.



How can we get students to utilize their school email account better? Should we be teaching students how to communicate with email?When and where should email usage skills be taught? Who's responsibility is this?Why do we want kids to check their email? Those around the conference room table agreed with the importance of students checking their email to stay informed about upcoming events and opportunities. Others mentioned it as being an important part of "digital executive functioning." Time was running short when someone said, "Kids don't use email."

This brief statement sent my mind scurrying in several simultaneous directions. 

First, thinking …

My One Word for 2018 is Wisdom

Wisdom, according to Dictionary.com, is "the quality or state of being wise;
knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action;
sagacity, discernment, or insight."


"Any fool can know. The point is to understand."
This quote, often incorrectly attributed to Albert Einstein, provides an illustration of the value of understanding over knowledge. A simple search reveals this quote can be linked to the writing of mathematician, George Finlay Simmons


Narrowing my thinking to one word is an interesting challenge. I have gained a greater appreciation for words and how the combination of words can convey meaning beyond definitions, beyond knowledge.

Where are the resources for knowledge in a modern world? We purchased an Amazon Echo as a gift for my parents. "It's such a smart and funny device," says my mom. Alexa has a seemingly unlimited access to information, music, and jokes, but does she understand? Can robots and computers obtain wis…