Everybody Wants to Rule the World (DIDP)

As a member of Generation X, I’ve grown up with computers as part of my life and, like most of my cohort who are “comfortable on the Internet and are making extensive use of it” (Miller, 2017, p. 32), I’ve already got an online presence that goes back at least a decade and a half in my adult life. Further to White and LeCornu’s comments on internet visitors and residents, as well as their follow up article in 2017 that the Visitors and Residents, “metaphors … have proved their worth and we have become aware not only of their conceptual appeal but also of their practical value as individuals and teams from a wide variety of employment contexts and professional roles have spontaneously used them as a simple structure on which to base reflection and exploration” (White, 2017), I would tend to agree that Visitors and Residents are less about the generation of the user and more about “ways of engaging with and via the digital” (White, 2017). I’ve been pretty happy with my online presence so far, because I spent the better part of a decade working as a consultant and using the internet to get work. From 2006-2014, I actively used developing platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and my own website to promote my business and believed that “taking control of the situation is always a better strategy than sitting back and seeing what they find” (Korkki, 2010). I set up Google Alerts for my name to stay abreast of how I was showing up online. I made sure that my personal race results and volunteering work showed up in Google searches of my name. Starting in 2014, I slid into a space where I stopped doing a lot of that. By 2018, my life had changed substantially, and I started to re-examine my online life. Given that it had only been four years since I last actively curated myself online, I was surprised at how much had changed. Fast forward to 2021 where the MALAT program is challenging me to rethink what I’ve been doing online in the past and what I want to do in the future. My goals are no longer to promote myself as a consultant, but to rebuild my sense of self, to retake control over my creations, then to create something new. I want to make my online presence like a grand building, full of “extensions of our minds that both reflect thinking and engender it” (Dron, 2014, p. 49). Ideally, it will be a place where I can simultaneously teach and be taught by my community. Ultimately, I want to positively increase information access to my community, disseminate knowledge, and help create a community of practice where we treat “learning as dynamic and situated” (Dron, 2014, p. 56).

To achieve these goals, I need to re-examine the place I currently inhabit in my communities, determine where I want to be, then identify the steps I’ll need to take to get there. I will examine the platforms and online places I inhabit, and critically assess my image. Something I haven’t examined recently is how my various online personas relate to one another. Since, as danah boyd argues, “privacy is simply in a state of transition as people try to make sense of how to negotiate the structural transformations resulting from networked media” (boyd, 2011), I need to examine what my privacy looks like in my current networks and whether I’m comfortable with that. Since I want to explore building a healthy Community of Practice, I’d also like to examine online communities like r/science, frontporchforum, MeWe, and CloudHub where community is built differently than in the big social media companies. As Ethan Zuckerman said, “being global and powerful is incompatible with wanting to build a really healthy and resilient community” (Venkatesh, 2021, 27:00-27:08). Further to this, I will also critically examine the six elements of digital capability described by Beetham and identify any areas of weakness there (Beetham, 2015), as well as my level of social media literacy as described by Rheingold (Rheingold, 2010, p. 16) in the following areas:

  • Attention
  • Participation
  • Collaboration
  • Network awareness
  • Critical consumption

I have already mapped where I am as part of a previous blog post. I want to redo that visitor resident typology to imagine what I want it to look like, then overlay the two to make a plan forward. I expect that I’ll make blog posts about it, for accountability as I learn new information and skills.

Measures of success are moving targets. With all the new platforms that are being developed as a result of social change and scientific (e.g. pandemic) change, there will be new platforms to examine in the future. This isn’t a matter of “success” or “failure”, but rather a continuum of continually re-analyzing and readjusting. I see this as an annual (at most) activity, or sooner if something major changes, like a job change or some other life event. I fully expect to continue to use my MALAT blog to track this evolution.


Beetham, Helen. (2015, November 10). Framing digital capabilities for staff – deliverables. https://digitalcapability.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2015/11/10/framing-digital-capabilities-for-staff-deliverables/

boyd, danah. (2010). Social Network Sites as Networked Publics:Affordances,  Dynamics, and Implications. Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites, 39–58.

Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds Learning and Social Media. https://www.aupress.ca/books/120235-teaching-crowds/

Korkki, P. (2010, October 9). Is Your Online Identity Spoiling Your Chances? The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/jobs/10search.html

Miller, Jon D., and Laspra, Belén. “Generation X in Mid Life: A Summary from the Longitudinal Study of American Life.” Generations – Journal of the American Society on Aging 41, no. 3 (Fall 2017): 32.

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies. EDUCAUSE, 45(5), 14–24.

Venkatesh, Sudhir. (n.d.). “Someone Needs to Save the World from Silicon Valley” (SBTI Ep. 3) (No. 3). https://freakonomics.com/podcast/sbti-social-media-solutions/

White, David S., Le Cornu, Alison. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. 16(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171

White, David S., Le Cornu, Alison. (n.d.). Using “Visitors and Residents” to visualize digital practices. https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i18.7802

Who Can It Be Now (part 2)

Further to Dave Cormier’s alternate tension pairs, I think that a lot of my tools would fit better in his model. As much as I use digital tools a lot because I travel (yay for e-books!), I do prefer to hold a real book in my hands and to use a real highlighter on real paper. I still use a paper journal to record random thoughts and diary entries for personal appointments and such. There’s something to be said about paper not being “hackable” like cloud-based tools. Paper-based tools feel safer, provided I don’t lose them! Analogue/collaborative tools are tough to use these days, but have been incredibly useful in my past work as a classroom facilitator. Sticky notes that a group uses to investigate an incident or brainstorm audit findings are invaluable. I hope there remains a place for them in future. There’s a lot to be said for his alternate proposal.

Who Can It Be Now?

Visitor or resident? As the French say, ça dépend…

Depends on the time of day, the day of the week, and the hat I’m wearing. If it’s a weekday morning, I’m at work, and I have enough coffee in me, I’m on that blue/pink Resident/Institutional side where I’m creating using those Microsoft tools we’re tied to at work. If it’s the evening, it’s the other diagonal at Personal/Visitor in green and purple where I’m using more Apple product and connecting with friends and family, consuming news, books, school updates, and language learning resources, rather than producing.

At least that’s how the past couple of years have gone. If I go further back, my workday is producing. My evenings are producing AND consuming. Looking at this graphic, I realize how much I’ve been on autopilot and consuming, rather than consuming, THEN PRODUCING. I’m looking forward to shifting this and expect to redo this in a year or so and see what’s changed. For me, this was a good exercise to more consciously do something with what I’m consuming, rather than just let it marinate in my brain. I was also surprised to see that my Personal-Institutional divide was so starkly divided by technology hardware brand. I’d like to look into that more.


Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now


It’s going to be interesting to look back on this post from time to time throughout the program and see how my opinions and knowledge have changed. The terms used comfortably by current MALAT students were a mystery to me this week and I am excited to learn what they are talking about. I was also challenged to update and expand on my land acknowledgement skills (Coolidge, 2021, 4:20-5:08), which led me to learn more about the peoples who stewarded the places I come from before I arrived.

I was surprised by the range of backgrounds of MALAT students, their disparate research topics, but how they use common theoretical frameworks and research methods.  Earl Einarson’s description of his delight in finding research results that he didn’t expect (Einarson, 2021, 16:38-17:05) after using working hard to find the right tool that would help him synthesize his research topic work showed me that there is a place for non-K-12 work in MALAT. This was surprising because I think I thought of research as being more staid and less dynamic and focused more on pure information transfer and I was concerned that I would be in a very small minority of non-K-12 educators. 

Reading through the projects posted on the Padlet pages gave me a broad overview of the type of research on which students are working. I was really intrigued by Owen Lloyd’s ARP presentation about Vocational Situated Learning where he describes how constructivism helps “learners develop new knowledge by making connections to their existing knowledge” (Lloyd, 2021, 2:24-2:30). Based on his description of his research and our communications on the padlet, I suspect that the use of Augmented Reality (AR) for experiential learning will be one of many new or adapted tools to better transfer Subject Matter Expert (SME) knowledge to learners in the future, especially in times where in-person learning cannot happen. 

Open Practice and learner engagement were ideas that I especially agreed with, philosophically and ethically. I find myself wondering how they could be implemented in the safety training space where I have more experience, given the closed (e.g. copyrighted material), for-profit nature of the industry. The broad definition of activities covered by “Open Practice” including “open pedagogy, open educational infrastructure, open research, open data, and open science” (Coolidge, 2021, 8:20-8:30) has challenged how I think about learning practices. To be able to remove financial barriers to experience for learners is exciting in an industry that is financially motivated and saturated with material developed for mass consumption and not for quality learning experiences. As for learner engagement, as Steary pointed out, a lot of regulatory required training is something workers “click through” in their required continuing education courses, even when it’s known that training can save lives (Steary, 2021, 9:05-9:44). The themes uncovered by Steary will be interesting to follow as he develops Best Practice Guidelines. Both Coolidge’s and Steary’s work challenged me to rethink the place that for-profit, “closed” learning has in adult safety learning.


Coolidge, A. (2021, April 12). Open Education: what it is; what it does and its amazing impact! In E. Childs (Chair), MALAT Virtual Symposium [Virtual Symposium]. Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia.  https://ca.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback

Einarson, E. (2021, April 12). How can we incorporate Indigenous Worldviews in the creation of online culturally safe learning environments? In E. Childs (Chair), MALAT Virtual Symposium [Virtual Symposium]. Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia.https://bluejeans.com/playback/s/DBSzyH6DFF3XAsXArMml8VRRZCr0aGO9zv6SQUsy5ABuSGKWk8Dvadz4ogA3m7J7

Lloyd, O. (2021, April 9). Augmented Reality for Vocational situated learning. In E. Childs (Chair), MALAT Virtual Symposium [Virtual Symposium]. Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia. https://youtu.be/4GdW0EJDR2o

Steary, D. (2021, April 16). Online Engagement of Paramedics: Best Practice Recommendations for Continuing Professional Development Design In E. Childs (Chair), MALAT Virtual Symposium [Virtual Symposium]. Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia. https://ca.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback


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